Scarf Materials

Scarves as a whole can be made of a wide variety of materials and fabrics. For mens scarves, the following materials are the ones most commonly used in construction of the retangular scarf:

Polyester

The least admirable material possibly of all time, while there are both natural and synthetic forms of polyester, in most cases, during the manufacturing of clothing, it’s the synthetic variant being predominantly used. Despite polyester being viewed as an inferior material to that of naturally woven fibers like cotton and wool, the polyester woven scarves or polyblend scarves do have some exceptional qualities often incapable of being achieved when using an all natural fibre.

Polyester scarves benefit from superior resistance to inclement weather with a far greater success rate when it comes to repelling water, wind and snow. In addition, they offer exceptional wrinkle resistance, can be construed as more durable than many or most of the their counterparts and offer high color retention, resulting in the scarf lasting much longer under the extreme elements.It is for these reasons in particular that polyester and poly-blend scarves are incredibly popular with children and professional athletes. In some instances, since polyester is considered a less elegant material, it is often woven with natural fibers which

It is for these reasons in particular that polyester and poly-blend scarves are incredibly popular with children and professional athletes. In some instances, since polyester is considered a less elegant material, it is often blended with natural fibers which provides the polyester based scarf with other visual and textural properties normally not found with synthetic polyester.

Just as a 100% polyester bow tie is easy to spot in comparison to a silk bow tie, a scarf made exclusively of polyester is just as easy to differentiate from a silk scarf. By blending the polyester with silk, cotton or other natural fibers, you can obtain what’s often called “China Silk”.

Jersey

Jersey is most often used in the production of feminine scarves as its conducive to embellishments, rather than just prints or textures. It holds sequins, beads and other externally sewn embellishments quite well as it’s a fairly thin and stretchy cotton. Despite being used predominantly for womens apparel, it has recently and historically been used by men, especially in warmer Middle East climates and can often be seen on some middle eastern members of the royal family.

Solid Red Cashmere Scarf 180 x 30 cm - Fort Belvedere

 

Cashmere

An exquisitely soft and luxurious wool, cashmere is woven from from the yarn of fine underhair of the cashmere goat. Each goat produces only 150 – 200 grams a year, which is just enough for a single scarf. Unlike, many other materials it actually becomes softer over time and is widely considered the gold standard for many luxury articles of clothing from sweaters to scarves and socks. Despite being very lightweight, it still maintains adequate protection from the cold. It is one fabric often blended with other wools or even polyester, because of its price. However, always bear in mind that you can find huge difference in the quality of cashmere.

At Fort Belvedere, we source only high-quality cashmere yarns. The best quality cashmere is usually between 14 and 16.5 microns thick, which is one of the reasons for its softness. With a  staple length of 35 – 50mm, we ensure that the scarf won’t pill easily, so you can wear it for years to come. Cashmere from Iran (17.5 – 19 micron) and Afghanistan (16.5-18 micron) is less desireable because it is rougher and pills more easily. Also, bear in mind that most inexpensive cashmere scarves are woven from the short 2nd or 3rd quality cashmere yarn, that was spun from very short cashmere hair. Moreover, natural white and lighter colored cashmere is much more expensive than darker grayish or brown cashmere, because only the lighter colored underhair can be dyed into our vivid colors. The darker fibers can only be used for dark colors.

While top quality cashmere typically features less than 0.5% of  guard hair, cheaper quality scarves often contain more than 5% of guard hair, which is rougher and less desirable. In the next step, Fort Belvederecashmere fibers are then treated with natural thistles, which roughen up the surface of the scarf to create a particularly soft feel. Using real thistles is costly, but this traditional method guarantees top quality. When we examined Scottish cashmere scarves, which are often advertised as premium quality, we learned that thistles are not used anymore which reveals a decline in quality. After a Fort Belvedere scarves are woven, they undergo the milling process, which provides the cashmere with fullness and softness. Another part of this process is done the traditional way, employing wooden rollers. Of course, every scarf undergoes extensive Quality Control by skilled weavers, in order to assure you receive the highest quality Fort Belvedere cashmere scarf.

 

Royal Baby Alpaca Scarf by Fort Belvedere

 

Alpaca

Often confused both with a camel and a llama, the Alpaca is a domesticated camelid from South America. The wool of the alpaca is similar to the sheep but far more luxurious and significantly warmer, because the fibers are hollow and have an air chamber. It has a silky shine to it and is one of my favorite natural fibers. The best alpaca qualities in the world come from Peru and are designated as baby & royal baby Alpaca indicating a thicknesses between 19 – 22 micron. Obviously this is thicker than the best cashmere qualities, but due to the softer surface of Alpaca fibers it feels almost as soft as the best cashmere qualities. Therefore Alpaca scarves are the perfect companion if you want a warm but soft scarf.

Alpaca comes in 24 natural colors, with white being the most popular because it can be dyed in the most shades. Generally, the natural white fibers are of slightly superior quality, which is why Fort Belvedere only uses white fibers. Alpaca does not have lanolin usually found in wool or cashmere, which makes it the perfect material for people otherwise allergic to wool or animal hair.

 

Camel overcoat with printed silk scarf

 

Silk

A natural fiber, it’s harvested from the larvae cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. One of the most elegantly viewed fibers in the world, silk is the basis for the vast majority of high-quality accessories and all forms of neckwear. When buying a bow tie, neck tie or cravat, you certainly want to seek out 100% silk made ties unless of course you’re specifically looking for something like a cotton or linen tie for a summer ensemble. Silk is often imitated but never duplicated. It can be shiny or matte but is always exquisite and delicately refined. When it comes to scarves, silk can be found as the basis for many formal scarves that are paired gracefully with a dinner jacket or tails. Here you can see how silk screen printing is done – every color needs an individual screen, so the more colors a design has, the more complicated and labor intensive it is.

Cotton

Not often found in scarves intended for practical purpose, cotton is a cool and light fabric that is perfect for warmer climates due to its breathability. Often found in the cooler, yet warm climates of Southern California, cotton scarves are incredibly popular with the hipster demographic, but also the dandies of today and businessmen looking to impart some personal flair into an otherwise monotonous wardrobe.

Linen

Derived from the flax plant, linen is without question, equivocation or mental reservation, the lightest and coolest fabric for fashionable scarves. We know linen from the suits, pants and shirts we wear in the summer and the Irish linen handkerchiefs we carry in our pockets. For fashion scarves in the summer months or warm climates, it’s tough to beat linen. In addition, linen can actually help to keep you cooler under the hot sun and provide some protection for your skin.

Pashmina

Originally, produced using the delicate under hair of goats from the Kashmir region in India, pashmina used to be a very thin, delicately woven and luxurious fabric. Typically worn by women, pashmina has made a recent transfer into men’s fashion and is no longer exclusive to the square feminine scarves, despite that being its predominant use. Today, many scarves are advertised as pashmina, but the huge problem is that it is not a protected term and as such anything can be sold to you as pashmina. At best, you will end up with inferior cashmere or wool that is blended with silk and at worst, you get something made out of the viscose-polyester blend. In any major city in the world, you will find the street vendors offering you pashmina scarves for $5. In fact, my mother in law once brought back a Pashmina scarf from Italy, and when my wife an I went to Germany later, we saw the same scarf from another vendor. Basically, these items are produced in one big batch from inferior materials and then sold across the globe. As such we can only recommend staying away from anything advertised as pashmina because in 99.9% of the cases it is not the real thing. If you can get a little sample, you can do a burn test.

Fleece

When it comes to scarves, fleece is often called “Polar Fleece” and is widely known for its warming capabilities and resistance to natural elements including water, wind and cold. Typically, polar fleece is made of synthetic materials. However, actual fleece is woven from the shaved coat of the sheep or long-haired goat before it’s been made into a yarn or thread. Today, a scarf designated as fleece is made of an artificial fiber 99.999% of the time. However we suggest to always go with natural hair, such as alpaca, silk or cashmere.

Wool

From the fleece of the sheep and a range of other animals, wool comes in a variety of textures and styles depending on how its woven, but is traditionally very warm and durable. Often used for winter scarves, the wool is an excellent source of warmth and protection against a wide variety of elements. Today, wool is one of the most common materials found in scarves the world over.


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