Mens vintage scarvesJuly 2, 2015
Mens vintage scarves can come from many eras and be made from many types of fabric – mainly knitted but also woven or of jersey, and can be wool, cashmere, silk or cotton, or polyester or other man made fibres.
Hand knitted mens vintage scarves
Some of the most charming mens vintage scarves are the hand-knitted types, and the designs for these haven’t changed much over the decades. Hand made vintage clothes, especially simple classics like wool scarves can often be hard to date accurately because of this, because, say, a Fair Isle pattern hand knitted wool scarf was popular in the 40s, the 80s, and is still popular today. If it has been kept carefully it’s hard to tell the difference.
War Time mens vintage scarves
Hand knitting was a huge trend in war time England, when everyone from schoolchildren to glamour girls to the future queen of England, and even off duty soldiers knitted for the war effort. Wives and girlfriends knitted for their own partners, but many people knitted for soldiers who were personally unknown to them. They formed knitting circles to sit together and knit. Often they included a little note, rolled up in the toe of a sock, to say who had knitted it and to wish the soldier courage.
Conditions at the front were often very cold and wet, and the soldiers would really have been glad of these hand knitted comforts. Garments could include scarves, socks, hats and gloves, and sometimes different patterns were produced for different duties, so balaclavas with moveable ear flaps were made for telephone operators, and fingerless gloves for pulling triggers in the cold.
Rationed wool for mens vintage scarves
The wool was usually bought at the knitter’s expense and the heiress Peggy Guggenheim, who was later a great art collector and the founder of the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice, remembers having a mania for knitting for the troops. She boasted that she could finish a pair of socks in a day and she knitted so much that her millionaire grandfather, who was paying for the wool, grumbled that she was knitting him out of house and home.
Knitting companies produced government approved patterns and the finished items had to be in regulatory colours, and the knitters later remembered how boring it was to knit an unending sea of khaki scarves for soldiers, although the airforce blue was prettier. Knitting wool soon became scarce ad was rationed, and the government encouraged people to unravel old knitted garments to make new ones, and to use up scraps. Some people got round the rationing by using other types of wool such as tapestry wool intended for embroidery, although it was apparently incredibly scratchy.
Knitting patterns for mens vintage scarves
Some of this knitwear has lain preserved in trunks for many years after the troops came home from the war, along with their uniforms. More common than actual wartime mens vintage scarves are patterns for them, which can both be a good record, a nice relic, or, in fact of practical use since the techniques of knitting remain the same today.