A decade back in time, Pashmina shawls were only seen through a traditional eye. Shawls were considered as heirlooms that were perfect to be worn only on momentous social occasions. In Kashmir itself, which is the hub of Pashmina making, Pashmina shawls were worn by the affluent on special weddings, or formal events, or given to daughters in their trousseau, or gifting a VIP. It was a time when Pashmina wasn't very accessible to everyone and people could painstakingly buy one or two pieces in their lifetime. There was nothing like Pashmina styling because one was a challenge itself. These pieces were then passed on to generations together because Pashmina wasn't a day to day wrap accessory. Such shawls were truly heritage pieces because some of them used to be over 30 years old.
Pashmina was never overrated as some modernists would say. It was indeed the cream of the crop. With the smooth touch, the delicate feel, the cozy warmth, and the exquisitely graceful look, Pashmina was regal since its inception. It is history itself that stands testimony to the fact that no other shawl could ever eclipse the material and the methods used by the highly skilled craftsmen from Kashmir to make a Pashmina. Kashmiri Pashmina shawls have long transcended any other of its imitations or equivalents but surpassed everything and ruled supreme.
Modern Design in Pashmina
Just some years back, the traditional Pashmina shawl got a modern makeover. Now, Pashmina wasn't the same heirloom wrap that had to wait for an occasion to come out of large iron chests where they were safekept, but had become a modern day to day accessory. Now Pashmina shawls are more than a protective layer in winter. One more reason why Pashmina got modernized was its availability. Pashmina is available in the entire world now (if not in its purest forms). Online shopping websites have large catalogues which list every single type of Pashmina made in Kashmir and make Pashmina styling one of their concerns
Pashmina has been a part of many designers' works now. Designers work over it and try to declare it a luxurious lightweight accessory that is worn in late fall, winters, and early spring. Designers are excited to prove to the world that Kashmiri Pashmina is a versatile accessory that has hundreds of techniques to make, wear, or pattern. In addition to this, the way pastel colours and subtle shades are taking over the fashion world, a pastel dyed solid Pashmina would never be an occasion favorite. It would naturally fit into a casual wardrobe.
Styling of Modern Pashmina
The more Pashmina got modernized, the more style came into being. Now a Pashmina wasn't only draped across the shoulders but was easily twisted and turned into a neck scarf. It could be worn as a sarong, as a shrug, as a handbag accessory, and what not. Gone were the days when Pashmina shawls would hold a somewhat secretive place in a house. Now, these chic accessories are in every casual wardrobe and even worn as daily office wrap. Styling a Pashmina is considered a hot topic with designers giving style tips on how to wear Pashmina, every other day
The question remains, has Pashmina lost its glory. Has it devalued from a timeless heritage piece to just an everyday wrap? The answer is NO! To give it a modern touch was just to prove how timeless and ageless Pashmina is. The heritage pieces which were cherished by Empresses and kings of Europe and India are still there, just that the occasions when you wear them are more special and extravagant.
Now since we have so many varieties in Pashmina, why wear it in just two or three ways. We let loose the fashion diva inside you, to come up with more modern as well as traditional styles to wear a Pashmina shawl or stole. Here is a complete guide.
Pashmina Styling in Solids, Ombre, Patterns, and Prints
If your Pashmina falls under one of the above categories, then know that you have a hundred options of modern Pashmina styling. A solid wrap would mean a plain Pashmina without any embellishments. An ombre Pashmina is dyed in bright shades in an ombre pattern, a patterned Pashmina is designed in modern checks, stripes, or abstract art patterns, and a printed Pashmina features modern prints or monogrammed designs. If you own one of these, here is how you can style them.
Pashmina Styling like a scarf
Since your modern design Pashmina features a beautiful colour, it's time to pair it up with a pastel-shaded outfit or vice versa. The first style would be to throw the shawl over your collar with one end longer than the other and bring it back from the other side. Adjust the ends so as to make them equal length. Now your shawl looks more like a scarf and you are well protected from the chilly winds outside. This works well with short length shawls or wraps.
Tying your Pashmina at the waist
This method of wearing a shawl works best when your outfit is of a complementary colour. Drape this luxury shawl over your shoulders and secure it at the waist with a trendy slim belt. You can add more layers of a long coat or sweater and you are done for a contemporary day.
Tying a knot over the back
The style of knotting a Pashmina at the back works well when your shawl is full with prints or patterns so that you can show those off easily. Also, wearing a shawl in this way would cover your top front fully to make it the first thing your friends will notice. Wear your pashmina like a dupatta and tie a knot at the back. Perfect to wear with your skirts with not so boost worthy tops
Pashmina styling as a shawl
For those who wear Pashmina just because it is made from Pashm threads which are warm enough to keep frosty winters at bay, this style might be the perfect one. Drape the luxury shawl around your shoulders and throw one end over the opposite shoulder to keep it intact.
Wear your luxury shawl in a casual way
Fold the Pashmina in half and tie it around your neck. Bring the loose ends together through the loop at the other end and pull them tighter for a perfect fit. This style works best when you are wearing a western outfit. You can let the ends hang over the front or tuck them inside a sweater or coat.
Tie like a Tie
Slide the wrap around your neck and hold both ends together at equal lengths. Tie a knot over one side and pass the left side through it. Tighten the knot or a snug fit. You are perfectly dressed for the office, casual days, or a lazy winter weekend day out.
Style Pashmina like a headscarf
Place one side of the shawl over your head and throw the other side over your shoulder. You can also cover your head with the middle portion of the Pashmina shawl and tie and knot by the other two ends near your nape. If you do not prefer to cover your hair, you can fold the shawl in half so that the hair still shows.
Wearing with collars layers
If you are wearing the Pashmina with a collared sweater or coat, your can fold it twice lengthwise, and drape it under the collars over your shoulders and let the ends loose over the coat.
Just for the shoulders
Throw the wrap around your shoulders with both ends at equal length on your front. Place the corners of both ends over opposite so that your top is visible and the shoulders are mostly covered. This style works plain dresses and bright shaded Pashminas.
Brooched Pashmina Styling
Turn up the shawl in half around the right side of your body and pin the two parts with a brooch over the left shoulder to prevent it from falling off. Do not tie it too tight or you won't be able to move your arms freely. This pattern is again perfect for the wraps which are filled with prints or patterns.
Tie in a diagonal
You can tie your luxury shawl across your body and bring both ends over the opposite hip to pin them there with a beautiful brooch.
Roll around your neck
This sophisticated style of wearing a Pashmina is ideal when you do not have enough time to dress up and you are in a hurry. Just take one end of the shawl and roll it around your neck till you reach the other end. Tuck the other end under the already formed layers and you are good to go.
These aren't the only styles how you can drape a modern Pashmina. You can always be your own personal fashion designer and invent more patterns to wear this accessory.
Traditional shawls with heavy embroidery patterns however are heavy to be tied into knots and brooched. The artistic embroidery patterns that expertly skilled craftsmen have done need to be flaunted as much as possible. Their styling is totally different from modern ones. Let's take a look at some of them
For Embroidered, Kani weave, KalamKari or Embroidered Reversible shawls
Since you have invested a lot in buying this category of shawls, why not to drape it in a way that shows all of it.
Pashmina Styling of Traditional Shawls
- The most common way is to style Pashmina across your shoulders and let the loose ends hang at the front. This way the rich pattern of the shawl will be fully visible from the front and back and you will look the epitome of graceful styling.
- Another method is the one-shoulder drape. Just look for the lengthwise mid of the Pashmina shawl over its border. Place this portion of the Pashmina shawl on either of your shoulders and let the rest of the shawl loose over the front and back
- One more fashion in which a heavy shawl is worn is to drape the shawl around your shoulders and throw one end over the opposite shoulder to keep it intact.
- You can also style Pashmina exactly like a dupatta with all the base showing over the front and the ends resting over shoulders. This way the entire adornment of the shawl is the first thing people notice in your winter looks.
How versatile is this one piece of wrap accessory? It can take the shape of a shawl, wrap, scarf, hijab, and not lose a bit of its exquisite elegance.
As mentioned earlier, Kashmiri Pashminas were only worn on very special occasions or major events. But since it has adapted to our everyday fashion needs, let's take a look at how Pashmina serves us at almost all times.
Pashmina Styling - Wedding looks
Nothing can beat the graceful demeanour of a traditional handmade Pashmina shawl when you have to attend a wedding ceremony. The best ethnic choices at weddings will definitely be a Kani Pashmina shawl, a Tilla embroidered shawl, a Kalamkari shawl, or a full work (Jamawar) Papier Mache embroidery shawl. When such heritage pieces will be paired with your carefully shopped ethnic ensembles, you will for sure be the star of the night.
If however, you aren't wearing ethnic apparel, a Laced Pashmina will definitely do justice to your western outfit
Pashmina Styling for Casual Looks
Some decades back, no one would believe that we are wearing Pashmina to a casual get together or a casual day out with friends. But from the day Pashmina got acquainted impeccably with chic prints and modish patterns, they became an almost inseparable part of an everyday winter getup. Give your casual outfits a luxury finishing touch of a printed or patterned Pashmina shawl and watch your friends delightfully surprised.
Styling Pashmina for Office looks
For those who want to carry a formal look, yet display a nonpareil sense of styling, solid and ombre Pashminas have got your back. A basic and neutral shaded Pashmina wrap can easily be paired with well-cut pantsuits. Or else an Ombre Pashmina can blend seamlessly with those Collared button-up shirts which are subtle in colour. Pair these colour filled Pashminas with your formal attire and stay warm and classy.
Bridal Looks Pashmina Style
At least in Kashmir valley, a bride's getup is considered incomplete if it is not given the finishing touches of a luxury shawl. The Pashmina shawls chosen for this blissful purpose is either a Kani shawl or a Sozni embroidered shawl. It is often chosen in a subtle colour (mostly white) to perfectly compliment the warm-hued bridal ensemble.
Pashmina as a gift
It has been a culture in Kashmir for a mother to gift her bride-to-be daughter a Pashmina shawl as a treasure token from her heritage collection. A Pashmina from a mother to her daughter would symbolize affection and everlasting love. In fact, a bridal trousseau was considered incomplete without the inclusion of a few Pashmina shawls.
For a bride, embroidered and Kani shawls are considered the best options. Alternatively, a bride might choose a few more types that go with her bridal dresses.
Caring for your Pashmina
Now we know that one Pashmina can bestow us so many looks - modern and traditional - and we are more and more in love with this exquisite piece of ‘soft gold’. And since we want it to be a part of our lives for years and years, its ultimate care becomes quintessential. Hence it's not just styling a Pashmina, but caring for it is a major concern
Pashmina is a delicate and soft fabric and so beautiful and warm that we will definitely want to preserve it and pass it on to generations. But since the fabric is exceptionally fragile and sensitive, it is to be properly handled and cared for, because if done so, a Pashmina will last for ages and in fact age gracefully without losing a bit of its regal demeanour.
So the question remains, how to care for a fabric that is so gentle and delicate. Here is a list of tips from the experts and makers themselves, which when stringently followed ensures your Pashmina to remain intact for a lifetime.
Fortunately, natural fibres do not need too much washing, unlike their synthetic counterparts. Hence it becomes easier to take care of your Pashmina since you do not have to do this much often.
- Never wash your Pashmina in a washing machine. Make sure you hand wash your shawl or wrap in cold water and a mild detergent or baby shampoo. Do not bleach Pashmina products as they can cause damage.
- Never wring or twist your Pashmina to remove excess water. This can alter the shape or cause a deformity in the weave. Let the water pass naturally and gently.
- Do not hand your Pashmina for drying. This can alter its shape. Lay it flat on a cloth dryer or a dry towel.
- Never expose your Pashmina to direct sunlight. Allow it to air dry. Do not place Pashmina in a cloth dryer.
- Do not iron your Pashmina directly. Place your shawl in between two towels to smoothen the wrinkles away.
- Iron your Pashmina on medium heat.
- Always fold your Pashmina neatly and wrap it in a non-archival tissue paper or muslin cloth.
- Store in a dust-free, well-aired place. Make sure the place is free of moisture and heat. Direct sunlight and a damp environment can be harsh to your precious piece.
- Make sure the string space has no place for moths to enter or grow. To prevent moths, use aromatic cedar chips or naphthalene balls.
Everyday care for Pashmina
- Avoid wearing the same shawl every day. Let your precious accessory rest for 2-3 days before you wear it again
- Avoid wearing a Pashmina with rough outfits and metal jewelry as it can cause pilling. Pills are the tiny balls that start to accumulate on your shawl especially in the areas where there is friction. If at all pilling appears, use a cashmere comb to remove them gently.
- Let your Pashmina breathe occasionally. Hand it out in a shaded spot to get some fresh air. Let the exquisite fibres freshen up, shed the folds and creases, and recapture their pristine weave.
Also read: 7 Tests to Identify Genuine Pashmina