CALL US NOW: 0207-700-2354
FREE UK shipping on orders £40+ (excl. sale items)

vintage scarves

March 7, 2015

You’ll see that Blue17 has quite an impressive collection of vintage scarves on their online shop and you may find you’re spoilt for choice. The scarf is the one accessory that’s never gone out of fashion, coming in various guises, functions, fabric, pattern and colour. You can wear it on your head, you can wear it has a headband, you can wear it round your neck, round your waist, and you can tie it to the strap of your bag until you need it. The scarf is multi-functional, multi-coloured, multi-task, covering a wide range of functions.

Antique scarves



The scarf has always had its uses

The scarf has always been around, for lots of different reasons, Queen Nefertiti wore one to match her headdress and the Egyptians wore one round the waist in their early version of the belly dance. Napolean sent cashmere scarves from India to his wife Josephine and even Queen Victoria favoured a scarf, in fact they were seen as a good indicator of class and helped differentiate between the upper and middle classes.

Sable Fur Scarf Dress with White Fur Cuffs and a Fur Trimmed Hat

Sable Fur Scarf Dress with White Fur Cuffs and a Fur Trimmed Hat

Vintage scarves

During the Second World War, scarves were worn over the head to protect hair from being caught in machinery, and the US had everyone knitting scarves as a patriotic duty for the wartime effort.


Scarves have been worn by soldiers to signify rank and as banners to celebrate a football team’s success. At the end of the day a scarf can be used for just about anything.


Of course the scarf is also an essential fashion item and designer labels certainly cottoned on to this, with Hermes and Burberry creating their own silk creations that would be coveted by the famous and infamous in equal measures.

Women’s silk scarves

Hermes and Burberry and the silk scarf

Hermes was founded in 1837 with Burberry arriving a little later in 1856. They were worn in different ways, on the head and tied under the chin, round the neck and finished off in a little bow, or by the late 60s and 70s, worn as a headband. For many years the silk scarf in particular was seen as the accessory that set you apart, especially if you were famous or you were simply from the upper classes.

 Burberry scarf

Burberry scarf


Hermes and Burberry are still producing covetable scarves and any vintage ones are highly sought after. Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy all wore the silk scarf in their own inimitable way.



Audrey Hepburn was even heard to say that “When I wear a silk scarf I never feel so definitely like a woman, a beautiful woman.”

A scarf doesn’t have to be silk

If you’re not keen on a vintage silk scarf then there’s always the wool variety or fur and even feathers, and at the moment, the cowl scarf seems to be extremely popular.


The vintage wool scarf doesn’t just protect us from the elements and the freezing cold, it’s a fashion statement, whether it’s cashmere or merely wool.

The scarf can be worn in many different ways

What’s so fascinating about the scarf is the reason we wear one, the way that we choose to wear it, the fabrics we like and the designs, which are all so different and down to personal taste. Shoes and hats can only be worn one way, but the scarf can be worn in a million different ways. They can also be nothing more than a souvenir you bring back from your vacation.


Womens vintage scarves are a wonderful item to find in a vintage clothes shop. They are like a little, colourful, affordable slice of history. In the past, even women who could afford very little in the way of new clothes might treat herself to a new silk scarf now and again, to tie around her neck or pull over her head.

Vintage headscarves for Women


Some famous artists have put their design skills to bear on womens vintage headscarves. The little squares are a perfect canvas for creativity.


Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other artists have created some fabulous designs. If you can find a scarf by one of the greats, you’re in for a treat. But there were also plenty of designers making beautiful scarves who not also fine artists, and there still are. Vera Neumann is a very collectable designer from the sixties, who made fresh, simple designs in bold colours.


Vintage silk scarves reprinting famous artworks have always been a popular choice, ad some souvenir silk scarves from people’s travels abroad are a fun, kitsch item. Instead of t shirts, people used to bring back silk head squares with pictures of the Eiffel tower, or even the Blackpool tower.



Silk is warm, light, showerproof and easily folded away to be carried when not needed, and has the added advantage of not messing up your hair or crushing it when it’s just been done, which I think is one reason for its past popularity. Now silk headscarves are not seen so much on the streets: perhaps it’s time for a renaissance in the art?


You can wear vintage silk scarves several ways: as a headscarf, tied around the neck, or even tied onto your handbag. Great headscarf wearers include, of course, the Queen, as well as sixties beauties like Sophia Loren. If you want to wear the scarf on your head, there are so many ways of tying it: under the chin, like the Queen, keeps your ears warm. Or wear it wound into a turban, folded into a rectangle and worn to keep the hair back as an alice band, folded into a triangle and worn peasant style, or again in a rectangle and worn over the hair, low on the brow as a twenties tribute.

Woolly womens vintage scarves

Of course, womens vintage scarves don’t just include silk scarves but long, woolly Dr Who style scarves. These were much popularised by Seventies stars like Ali McGraw in Love Story, and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.


For a debonair way of wearing Womens Vintage Scarves, try white silk “flying scarves” with tassels. Originally worn by pilots in WW1, these have a twenties feel to them but most vintage examples that you find will come from the seventies. They are quite elegant, and warm, too.

WW1 pilot

WW1 pilot

Womens Vintage Scarves-DIY

It can be really fun to try knitting a stripy seventies scarf yourself, or you can also crochet individual flowers and sew them together for a warm scarf. Also try picking up vintage knitting patterns for a really authentic take.


Whichever way you like to wear your scarf, there’s a wide selection of vintage scarves over on Blue17, so take a look and see which one takes your fancy.






Hermes scarf logo

Grace Kelly wearing Hermes scarves

audrey hepburn wearing vintage headscarf & glasses


Audrey Hepburn wearing full headscarf

Salvador Dali Scarf

Vintage black scarf-eiffel tower

Sophia-Loren-silk scarf

Sophia Loren wearing turban

Ali McGraw in lovestory