Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Schoolboy Scarves


Schoolboy scarves, also called academic scarves and university scarves, are a traditional way for people to show associations with specific academic institutions.  These scarves are typically made of a fine, very high-quality, medium or heavyweight Saxony wool.  Schoolboy scarves have two or more colors, and are traditionally 6 feet long.

Scarves are one of the oldest ways people used clothing to show alliances. Records show examples of scarves used for rank during the Qin dynasty around 220 BC.  By the 17th century, the tradition had taken hold at some of the most distinguished universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The stripes were a later addition, which came around 1939 when manufacturer Luke Eyres originated the design as a way to reuse long wool strips during a fabric shortage.  

Schoolboy scarves are a wonderful way to add color and jaunt to an outfit.  While I generally prefer cashmere scarves, schoolboys are where I make an exception.  And while we typically wear scarves from affiliated institutions,  I also have no problem wearing school colors from a university with which I do not have an immediate association as long as it is thousands of miles away.  (I selected the scarves in the first photograph in part because direct ancestors attended the various colleges, such as John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629, and Thomas Spicer who laid out the roads in Newport and Portsmouth in 1638, and was Treasurer of Rhode Island in 1640.)

Photo Credits:  Muffy Aldrich

Winthrop's Trinity College, Cambridge

Ever True.


13 comments:

  1. You forgot the tiny matching scarves for the chicks!

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  2. Yes! Love these in the colder months and have two myself. One given to me 30+ years ago by my late mother one Christmas and another, in my school colors, purchased a few years back. The perfect compliment to a tweed, polo, or duffel (sp?) overcoat.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  3. Always wanted to have jaunt.

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  4. Love the way they look but have always found them too thick and scratchy for my taste. Maybe I will try again.

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    1. I believe schoolboy scarves benefit greatly from a hand washing to soften them up. They'll also lose a bit of their shape and be a bit, but not much, more rumpled. For me those are positives.

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  5. Didn't wear scarves until after grad school, when I felt I should look presentable. By then, I was looking for plaids rather than stripes. Our older daughter, who knows quality when she sees it and likes looking fashionable in NYC, swiped my favorite Burberry cashmere scarf a few years ago. Now, alas, I'm stuck with a Paul Stewart Scotland-made lambswool scarf and a 60% cashmere/40% wool one from Johnston's of Elgin.

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    1. Fret not. Treat yourself to an alpaca scarf. Alpaca is silky smooth, warm when wet, and light a a feather. You’ll never go back to wool, cashmere or any combination thereof.

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  6. Does that adorable dog have a name?

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  7. Only scarf l wear is a Madder silk one from Cordings Made in Macclesfield in my county of Cheshire Known as silk town in the past

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  8. I wear the Penn colors even though I did not graduate.

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  9. During a recent foray into the dreadful attic here, I came upon my beloved University of London scarf (navy blue outer stripes, followed by white and bright red down the middle) which, as a holder of a masters from there, I suppose I have a right to wear. But would I? So itchy and heavy! Pashmina, cashmere or Hermes silk, please! What shall I do with this treasure of my student past?

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  10. I have worn, and will continue to wear my old Rugby scarves! They never fail me! Cheers!🇬🇧

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  11. We've got at least 2 dozen Scottish made cashmere scarves in our cache, which we wear constantly in the cool weather. I see schoolboy scarves on occasion, it's always fun to try to identify which institution they belong to. --Holly in PA

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