A Short History of Scarves

Kate Brown

Posted on February 17 2022

A Short History of Scarves

Dark Hampton adores scarves. Not only do they have many practical uses, but they can tell a unique story.

Throughout human history, scarves have served many different purposes for many different cultures. Today, scarves are a widely-used clothing accessory seen all over the world.

Ancient History

Let’s go back in time to Ancient Egypt, to the very first scarf ever recorded. Queen Nefertiti was said to have worn a “tightly woven scarf topped with a conical headdress” in 1350 BC.

Ancient Roman soldiers used a ‘sudarium’ (sweat cloths) to wipe their faces from sweat and dirt in the hot weather. This was worn around their necks like a scarf.

Other cultures began using coloured scarfs as a symbol of rank, like soldiers of the Chinese Emperor Cheng of 33BC.

Age of Enlightenment 

In the 17th Century, new materials became more readily available to European nations like Croatia. They used silk scarves for officers and cloth ones for the lower ranks in the military.

 In a time when class divisions were so high, clothing was an important way to distinguish oneself. A quality scarf became the perfect accessory. Queen Victoria was known to wear silk scarves during her reign in the 1800s.

 Beethoven was one of the first to use a silk scarf as a daring fashion piece in the hopes of wooing Austrian musician Therese Malfatti.

 Branded scarves

In 1837, a small French fashion house created the first ready-to-wear graphic silk scarf. The company was none other than Hermés.

Over the next two centuries, luxury scarves with distinguished brands would dominate the market.

Iconic appearances included the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Denuve and Sarah Jessica Parker. People loved that their scarves told a story.

Sport-lovers, like the passionate England football fans, love wearing their club scarf to support their team AND keep warm from the England’s winter weather.

Speaking of stories, Dark Hampton’s 3 ladies love gift giving. Giving a scarf is like giving a friend a warm hug and a reminder of friendship each time they wear it.

 They also design and name their luxury scarves after someone special in their own lives. This makes every scarf the embodiment of a unique personality. Please feel free to read about the inspiration behind some of our scarves at our shop!


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