There are fashionistas in this world, and then there are the front desk ladies at Branberry & Interknit. None of us are delicate flowers and all of us are prone to staining and tearing our clothes during work hours.
This provided a little bit of an issue when it came to our most popular store product – the vintage loop scarf in pure fine Merino wool. This beautiful scarf is a fashionista’s dream, available in a rainbow of colours to be matched with any outfit, its delicate lace knit made me almost afraid to handle it at first. It looks like the type of scarf that would get a pull in it just by looking at it the wrong way. Nevertheless, we sell many of these scarves each week to ladies who are obviously more ladylike and careful than ourselves.
Then came the hard question – is it warm? Well, we don’t really know – we’re still kind of scared to touch it. And so I was challenged to give one a trial. Not a delicate flower trial, a real life trial. I’ve taken up the challenge and recorded my results below.
How do you wear it?
Picking a colour wasn’t an issue. I was graceful enough to somehow manage to sling a beautiful coral coloured scarf across the store by accident where it caught on a shelf and developed a pull. I repaired the pull and declared it my scarf. I don’t own anything else coral coloured so this was an interesting start.
The lace loop scarf is as described, a loop. Also known as a snood. There’s a bit of debate about how exactly ‘snood’ is pronounced so I googled it and instead of finding the pronunciation, I found a host of other interesting snood facts. Apparently they’re not just scarves, snoods can be worn as hair pieces; hair ties; neck decoration or hair and neck decoration at the same time. I carefully removed all bobby pins from my hair and tried a few of these options in front of the mirror. The only one that worked for me was the double loop – put the lace loop around your neck, twist it once and lift it over your head again. Arrange in the mirror until it’s just right.
Is it warm?
I’m prone to overheating so I chose my first public outing with the lace loop scarf to be at a mid-Winter market with set up at 7am. It was also raining. I actually got a bit too warm setting up my stall and had to remove my jacket, beanie and scarf. As soon as I stopped moving I needed them back on. It was probably a balmy five degrees outside with strong winds coming through the arcade and a leaky roof. The other stall holders complained of the bitter cold but I felt okay, I had on my Interknit wool socks; a Sophie 1010 classic Ballarat Gold jumper in a neutral colour so it wouldn’t clash with my bright scarf; my scarf; my Ballarat Gold pure wool beanie and my Bisley workwear jacket. My fingers were the only cold parts of me until I wrapped them around a coffee cup.
I really liked that the scarf didn’t feel suffocating. I don’t like roll neck tops and I try to wear regular scarves as loose as possible to avoid that choking feeling. This scarf wasn’t tight on my neck which was letting a bit of breeze in. I was so comfortable in my scarf with that little bit of breeze that I wondered if the scarf was doing anything at all, so I took it off. I lasted ten minutes without it before needing it back on. It is deceptively warm. I think this might be because it sits high up at the back and keeps your whole neck warm where your jumper can’t. I think if you were going to the snow you’d want full coverage, but for a blustering Ballarat day the lace loop scarf performs beautifully for warmth.
Is it hard wearing?
I wore my new coral scarf all weekend so it could be exposed to my regular activities. Part of this includes hanging out with my nieces, Miss Two and Miss Four. Miss Two not only tugged at it while she was on my hip, she also used it as her personal handkerchief. I guess this almost seventy dollar Merino scarf can do double time as a tissue if you’re so inclined.
It came with me to the grocery shop and kept me warm through mundane household chores like taking out the rubbish. I didn’t get it caught on anything and better yet, being a loop design it had no ‘ends’ to fall into the dishwashing water or get caught in the lid of the washing machine.
I considered removing the scarf to eat but I decided that coral is a forgiving colour. The scarf caught a few bits of pastry here and there but I was able to easily brush it off.
At the end of my trial I brought my scarf back to work and inspected it carefully. I felt maybe I’d stretched it a bit, surely it had stretched with Miss Two pulling on it like she had been. I had my boss inspect it carefully too and we laid it out flat next to a new and unworn scarf. They were exactly the same size so the stretching was in my imagination. I also hadn’t put a pull in it.
I’m continuing to wear my lace loop scarf, choosing it over my more traditional all-needle-knit scarf, because it doesn’t suffocate me and I don’t have to worry about it falling off. I get a lot more wear out of it than my traditional scarf because it’s lighter weight (comfortable indoors); more convenient (can’t fall off) and it’s a bright forgiving colour for someone like me who wears as much food as she eats. I’ve also decided that in the grand scheme of things, no one would notice if I put a tiny pull in it anyway.
It’s been three weeks of hard wearing between writing this review and publishing it. I’ve machine washed the scarf (using wool wash and cold water – top loader, no agitator, no fabric softener) and it’s come out even softer than before washing. It’s still the same great length and I haven’t made any pulls in it. I’ve found the liquid repelling properties of wool to be absolutely fantastic with this scarf – I can ‘brush’ off the droplets of spilled coffee if I move quickly. All in all, it’s a great scarf. I’m actually considering investing in another colour as opposed to choosing one of the new ‘superwash easy care’ designer scarves from our Branberry range…ah, staff discounts are the best.