Winters bring their sense of charm. And quite obviously warmth! Agreed, one has to snug oneself with tonnes of woolens, thermals, caps and gloves. But the fashionistas in us would never let the winter chill dampen our spirit.
So here comes an uber cool way to increase our fashion quotient this winter. Shawls – the most glamorous and beautiful way to enhance one’s feminine and social appeal.
What does few yards of a shawl do? It not only adds colour and style, it also brings elegance and flair to the traditional Indian outfit that you are wearing. Wrapping oneself in a lustrous shawl brings with it a sense of luxury that is in a league of its own. It is a pure case of human emotions designed in every stitch. But the more you wear a shawl, more you will realise the uniqueness of it as a work of art than just a winter-cum-fashion accessory.
Gender Specific Shawls
If you thought winter-specific shawls were only restricted to women, think again. There is a whole new collection for men with fine tastes, that are customised to occasion, budget and need. Yes, they might not be as flashy, detailed or designed as a woman’s shawl but they are very much a fashion thumbs up considering their elegance and style quotient.
In fact, you will be surprised how over the last few years the number of males wearing shawls has considerably increased. The colors might be common but there is that element of distinctiveness in them that can’t be ignored.
Shawls might be worn to ward off the winter chill, but they do share space on the glass windows of premium fashion labels.
Types of Shawls
A Persian word that means “made of wool”, a Pashmina shawl is a type of fine cashmere wool that comes from a special breed of Pashmina goat found in the Himalayas. Woven, hand spun and embroidered, the test of a good quality Pashmina lies in its warmth and feel. Since Pashmina fibres are finer and thinner than Cashmere fibre, they prove to be ideal for making light weight apparels such as scarves.
Cashmere Shawls have multiple utility. Not only do they serve as winter shawls and wraps, they also look enchanting as wedding shawls. Hand-embroidered cashmere shawls stand out in the crowd with superb and lavish threads and satin lining. That is why, they are a virtual heirloom of magnificence and luxury.
A Silk shawl has its own distinctive charm. Whether wrapped around as a mere shawl or a silk wrap, it’s a lustrous feeling that is a joy to remember. So silken smooth it is that it would caress your skin to untold joy. Elegance personified, a silk shawl adds untold glamour when worn over a long evening dress. Hand-embroidered silk shawls made by local artisans in Vietnam, Thailand and Nepal have their unique sense of belonging.
Highly valued for their fabric quality, Jamawar shawls are a special type made in Kashmir. Historically handmade, they take neither days nor months but several decades to complete. In fact, traders belonging to third generation in a small town in Uttar Pradesh called Najibabad have the most ancient collection of exquisite Jamawars. That is why, kings and nobles wear it as a gown, or use it as a shawl or wrap.
Made from thick cotton thread and acrylic, crochet shawl can be made out with the tussles at both the ends. It is woven with huge holes such as net fabric. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Indian crochet shawls are extremely popular in India and overseas. Such is the command of this fabric material that no other worthy substitute has been found.
A fantastic blend of traditional styles, the weight of this woollen shawl is bulky. Elegantly designed, this long shawl has beautiful flowers, leaves and other elements of attraction that make it noticeable and truly amazing. The main dominating colour here is Venetian red.
Celebs who have graced Shawls:
There is no hiding the multitude of Bollywood celebrities and socialites who have worn a Shawl for a Page 3 cocktail, Iftaar party or just as a fashion fling. From the every elegant Sharmila Tagore to Julia Roberts, they’ve all worn this testimony of craftsmanship and splendor. No wonder, they look nothing short of a graceful goddess when wrapped in the exquisite looking shawls.
Tips to look after your Luxury Shawls
Talking of luxury apparels, shawls such as hand-spun pure Pashmina need exquisite care in order to preserve their soft and warm fabric. But, looking after them is a tall task. While professional dry cleaners are there to keep your expensive shawls in shape, here are some of the tips that will help you look after them right in the comfort of your home.
1. Dunk it in soapy tub and end up risking the softness of this luxurious wool. Washing your Pashmina with shampoo and lukewarm water first and then conditioner can keep it soft and lush for years on.
2. Never bleach, squeeze, wring or twist your Pashmina shawl as that will distort its suppleness.
3. Give your Pashmina shawl the benefit of air-drying and see to it that it doesn’t get exposed to direct heat, sunlight or dampness. While pressing your Pashmina, use a cool iron over a damp cloth and run from inside the garment. Also carefully fold it and pack it in a dry tissue or well-sealed plastic storage box for storage.
4. Make a point to clean food stains before storing your Pashmina. Use naphthalene mothballs and cedar chips for protection from moths.
5. Do not over wear your Pashmina. Give it two or three days rest before wearing it again.