We are not sure if the scarf was ever just simply a scarf, but styles of neck-warming-wear have certainly evolved through the fashion ages. We have customers asking all the time: “what is the difference between a traditional scarf, a cowl, and infinity scarf?” Here are our most simplified definitions of the different types of scarves you will find here at Shift Eco Boutique.
A traditional scarf is a long, rectangular piece of knit or woven fabric that can be looped around your neck and tied. Its original purpose was to add an extra layer of warmth to an area where cold air creeps in; scarves still fulfill this purpose but are now much more colorful and detailed.
An infinity scarf is a long loop of material or fabric that can be wrapped multiple times to create a tighter or looser fit depending on your preference and heat level. When left loose it can almost look like a big chunky necklace. The infinite loop takes away the literal loose ends that traditional scarves leave. These can be susceptible to blowing around in the wind and getting caught in the car door, which some find to be a nuisance.
A cowl, on the other hand, is a loop of material that does not get wrapped, it simply fits over your head and covers your neck. It is called a cowl after the “cowl neckline,” which is a cross between a turtleneck and a drape neck (so, looser than a turtleneck, but still in the covered-neck family).
And then, of course, there are what we refer to as fashion scarves, which can add a pop of color or add an interesting pattern to an otherwise monotone outfit. They are not necessarily for keeping you warm, but nevertheless they are essential to any woman’s year round wardrobe.