If there is an accessory that beats all its counterparts in terms of versatility, it is a Pashmina. Be it luxury shawls, stoles, scarves, and other kinds of wrap accessories, Pashmina has it all. Exceptional warmth, timeless style, unique grace, and most of all its versatility to suit all ages, seasons, apparel, and moods, the art form makes some ideal accessories. And this has been so for so many decades now.
The exclusivity and adaptable nature of Pashmina shawls were first discovered and put into use by ancient royalty. This was because they were the only ones who could afford this luxury initially. But gradually with time, even the common man could purchase one or two shawls in his lifetime. Today the scenario is different. Now women do not prefer more elaborate designs and embroideries. Even a solid Pashmina scarf will do, as long as it is keeping them warm; and they look stylish throughout the season.
The Versatile Shawls
In ancient times, Pashmina shawls were only worn around the shoulders, as a token of royal taste. Some women might pull one side and place it on the opposite shoulder. But now, these shawls can be worn into a number of patterns, thanks to their versatility. On the basis of its patterns, Pashmina shawls are worn in a number of styles. So, let us first check how many designs and patterns has this shawl imbibed
Also read: What are Pashmina shawls made of?
Types of Pashmina Wraps
From being traditional to extremely contemporary, Pashmina wraps have undergone huge changes. Here are some patterns that you will see today in markets and online stores
Solid Wraps are the ones in one solid colour. These come out of the handloom, get dyed into the required colour, and begin selling in the market. They come in different weaves like diamond-weave, basket-weave, etc., yet are soaked in such wonderful and alluring shades that make everyone fascinated alike. These types of wraps are perfect for casual and formal occasions. Women wear solid colour wraps to offices, semi-formal meetings, holidays, nights out with friends. These come in brilliant as well as muted shades and pastels.
Solid Cashmere wraps can be easily styled in a large number of styles. The reason for this is their ability to pair with any pattern, without having the wearer to worry about the colour combination disasters. Solid wraps can easily be tied as scarves pwing to the finesse of Cashmere fabric as well as no hindrance of thick embroideries or any embossed embellishments. Hence, contemporary stylists often choose solid Pashmina scarves as they are perfect for the infinite styling options that these stylists create almost every other week.
Printed & Patterned
Printed wraps host modish prints like animal prints, floral prints, and more. These are ideal for luncheons, night-outs with friends and family, or uplifting a basic ensemble. Patterned Pashminas mostly look good on the same occasions. These shawls host patterns like modern stripes, checks, and abstract patterns.
The best use of patterned as well as printed Pashmina scarves is exaggerating a minimal look if one feels their looks are too basic for a particular occasion. Women often pair printed and patterned Pashmina scarves when they feel their apparel is plain or too simple and needs a bit of upgrading. As such, these are popular among younger women who often go for modern prints like animal prints, abstract prints and more. Popular patterns include checks, tartans, plaids, stripes, or other customised patterns like LGBT patterns, floral patterns, name initials, logos and more.
Pashmina embellished with French Chantilly Lace
A new trend in the fashion world is hand stitching lace onto the Pashmina shawl, whether in the middle or at the borders. Laced pashminas look pretty and feminine on brides or bridesmaids. You can even wear lace embellished shawls like these with lace over semi-formal dinners.
The Chantilly lace is a popular French lace which is named after the city of Chantilly in France. These were introduced into the fashion world in the 18th century, and since then have been very popular owing to their abundant detail and fine texture. The best Chantilly laces are handmade in silk, and hence are the perfect companion of Cashmere as both are fine, lightweight and immensely beautiful.
Both Cashmere wraps and Chantilly laces have a beautiful history of being worn by ancient royalty. Even now, it is just Chantilly laces that are the first preference for Cashmere, owing to their rich history and timeless elegance
Embroidered shawls and scarves are the most well-known category. After a Pashmina is handcrafted, it is sent to embroidery artisans who hand embroider the piece in a number of types and patterns. The fine and gossamer Cashmere base take primarily three types of embroideries. Sozni - the fine thread and needlework, Papier Mache - a thicker variant of Sozni work, and Tilla dozi, where metal threads coated in gold are embroidered over the base. These types of shawls are usually worn over formal occasions if embroidery is less, and wedding occasions if the shawl is Jamawar (fully embroidered one).
Embroidered Pashmina scarves take the longest time to get prepared. Embroideries are fine and thin, owing to the fineness of the Cashmere base. Hence these scarves are the most expensive, and hence chosen for special events and occasions. Hand embroidery takes years to complete, as well as immense work of the most skillful artisans. Wearing these scarves can be complicated at times due to the intricate, heavy work that the scarves are laden with.
Kani shawls are the most meticulously made shawls as far as Pashmina is concerned. Wooden sticks of small size are wound around with colourful threads, which are inserted into the spun fibre during the hand-weaving process. As such marvellous, colourful patterns are created on the shawl, and the resulting piece is artful.
Kani Pashmina scarves are perfect for special occasions. Brides often choose Kani Pashmina with ethnic outfits as these are the most intricate and colourful of all. Kani Pashmina scarves can least be used as shrugs, or tied in small knots as these have a royal demeanour that women often do not want to hide.
It takes 4 to 5 years to complete a large Pashmina scarf, and hence women buy these beauties for the most important events. Weddings, parties or as a gift for the most beloved ones, Kani scarves are the most sought after accessories
How to tie a Pashmina scarf?
So many patterns in Pashmina lead creative women to invent many styles of wearing it. As such, these graceful accessories can be easily worn as scarves, wraps, shrugs and more. Here are some easy styles that can be flaunted while wearing a Pashmina scarf
- Shoulder Wrap: Some wore the shawl over the shoulders, took one corner, twisted it and laid it over the opposite side. Then taking the hanging side over the top at the neckline, and feeding it down like we do while wearing a tie.
- Folding like a scarf: Contemporary style admirers found a new way to wear Pashmina. Fold the shawl in half to make it square in shape, then fold it diagonally. Hold the two corners and tie them on one side - shoulder to shoulder.
- Pinning a Brooch: You need a brooch and a scarf for this beautiful style. Just Fold the scarf in half around your body and pin two opposite parts on a shoulder with a large brooch. Or else, you can place the scarf diagonally across your body and tie a brooch near the left or right hip.
Also read: 10 ways to wear a Pashmina
How to tie a Pashmina scarf into a shrug?
One of the newest ways to tie a Pashmina is to make it look like a shrug. And doing this isn't complicated at all. All you have to do is throw your Pashmina around your shoulders (towards the front or back). Hold the two long ends and tie them together at the back or front wherever you find it comfortable. You can also tie a fancy rubber band to hold the ends together. Ta-Da! Your new shrug is ready.
Also read: 5 amazing facts of Cashmere Scarves
Purity of Pashmina
The versatility of a Pashmina scarf depends on its purity. If your Pashmina scarf has been handcrafted from pure Cashmere, only then will it be warm and stylish. If, however, your scarf has been crafted from a mixture of Cashmere and other materials, there are high chances it won't last long. Hence, one should always invest in the purest Cashmere wraps/Pashmina scarves. There are a few sellers of pure Pashmina scarves, so be really careful while buying it.
- Always buy from authentic sellers. Doing proper research and getting information about the authority of the seller is important for the buyer
- Ask your seller for the certificate of authenticity. Original Pashmina scarves have a certificate of purity, which comes with batches of products. If your seller is unable to produce a certificate of originality, there are chances that the product isn't made of pure Cashmere.
- If your Pashmina scarf has a GI (Geographical Indication), it is made from pure Cashmere. In Fact it is crafted from Ladakhi Cashmere, which is considered the best in the world.
Style your Pashmina however your inner diva lets you.