Consider the snood....
Those trendspotters at the Wall Street Journal have spotted a fashion forward trend, and they're trumpeting the return of the snood. (Access to this article may require a subscription. I subscribe so I can keep up with snood-news.)
Here's their pic of Lady Gaga "sporting" a something that the Journal characterizes as a snood. All I can say is, when it comes to snoods, the WSJ has gone gaga. What Lady G is wearing, which looks like Little Red Riding Hood meets the Snuggie, is no snood.
Sure, I'm being a carping purist here. And I know that language evolves over time. But, however appealing the name may be, a snood is a snood.
And a snood, in my book of snoods, is something that Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth's mother, Marmee March, wore in Little Women - and what a lot of women of a certain age, during a certain time, wore to keep their hair out of the way. Let's face it, if you lived in 1862 and had to chop down a tree every time you wanted to heat water for a sponge bath - let alone to wash your hair - you may not have wanted to have your locks on close display. That lustre? That would be the light from the kerosene lantern reflecting off a couple of months worth of sweaty grease.
No wonder that snoods were ragingly popular.
But a snood isn't a hood, or an infinity scarf, or a hooded infinity scarf. It's a heavy duty hairnet. To your right, Ecce snood, courtesy of Moonstruck Originals, which sells period clothing (in the infinite economy, someone has to).
This, of course, isn't stopping fashionistas from declaring the Year of the Snood.
Missoni's pushing knit snoods.
Burberry, "with reigniting the trend," has a Burberry check model for $295, and "also has wool, mink and rabbit fur versions."
Donna Karan's got one for $695.
$695 for a snood! The entire Alcott Family, from Bronson on down, are rolling over in their graves in Sleepy Hollow cemetery in Concord.
Everyone, it seems, is getting into the snood act:
A few weeks ago Bloomingdale's urged customers to "make sure that you're seen in this lavish new accessory." Henri Bendel ranked the snood second amongst its top ten "things we fancy for fall" while Saks Fifth Avenue included it in its "Want It" fall campaign. "Gossip Girl" star Blake Lively was photographed in one on the show's set last month.
At the low end, the Limited and American Apparel have affordable models. The Limited's is acrylic. (Shudder, shudder.)
Burberry, whose chief financial officer recently cited the snood as one of the top drivers of the company's fall accessories sales, attributes the snood's rise to consumers' desire for safety in tumultuous times. "I love this idea of protection that it gives," says the brand's creative director Christopher Bailey, who was so into the look that he showed snoods for men and women on almost every model at his fall 2009 runway show. Simon Kneen, creative director for Gap Inc.'s Banana Republic brand, also likened the accessory to "a Linus blanket," a reference to the blue security blanket always carried by the Peanuts cartoon character.
Well, I have as much a desire for safety in tumultuous times as the next guy, but, given that desire for safety in tumultuous times, I won't be forking over $295 to Burberry for a purple and black check "snood."
The article makes throw-away mention of "traditional snoods" - a.k.a. the hairnet, but they claim that the snood morphed over time into some sort of scarf.
The snood name, however, isn't going down so well with some American retailers. But it's not because they're quibbling over whether a scarf is an echt snood. Rather, it's because the word "can sound more like a Dr. Seuss character than a hot fashion item."
So most U.S. snood-sellers are calling their faux snoods some variation on the infinity scarf.
My sister Kath is the first person I've seen wearing an infinity scarf.
Because of her desire for safety in tumultuous times, she knit one for herself. And, because her desire for safety in tumultuous times generously extends to those near and dear to her, she has promised to make me one, too.
Neither of us will, however, will be calling it a snood.