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26/01 Sunday 10:59AM

scarves, wraps, stoles and throws

One accessory that looks good and serves a lady well is a shawl.  Since the introduction of the Pashmina shawls, it's often a favoured cover-up choice over jackets and cardigans which can ruin a look for a glamorous evening.  A shawl can not only glam up an outfit but when the AC temperature dips below comfort, you have a perfect warming piece to protect you from the cold. It's totally recommended for casual wear, office wear and air-travel wear too. It doubles as a pretty blanket on flights, keeping sleeping beauties warm and chic in the sky.

pashmina goat

Pashmina refers to a type of cashmere wool that comes from changthangi or pashmina goats, which is a special breed of goats indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas in Nepal, Pakistan and northern India. The goats shed their winter coat every spring.  About 4 to 8 ounces of pashmina fibre is shed by each goat.  It takes fibres of 2 of 3 goats to make a good quality pashmina shawl. The fibre which is closer to the body of the goat is of better quality than the one further away from the body.

Pashmina wool is considered the finest in the world and demand for it is very high. Pashmina wool is very soft, compared to cashmere, it is finer and lighter in weight. Pashmina shawls made from these fine fibres are hand spun, woven, embroidered and 100% pashminas are very highly prized.  The word Pashmina now is commonly used to refer to any shawl or wrap that resembles the original regardless of the material it's made from and unfortunately, that has created confusion and has led to many shawls being dubiously marketed under the same term. Some 'pashminas' are made form synthetic fibres which are light and soft too but they lack the feel and incomparable warmth of genuine pashminas.

Hang it over your shoulder, drape it over your head, wrap it or knot it round your neck, a solid-coloured or printed shawl will help enhance your outfit. If genuine pashminas are not within your budget, cashmere or cashmere/silk blends too will provide the an elegant finish to your look. (Ed: Looks great on men too. Take a cue from Brad Pitt. Mmmm...)

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