It all started with an instructional video I saw on a site called 5min. This website is a one-stop shop for instructional videos and do-it-yourself projects that was founded by 3 Israelis but has grown so popular throughout the world, that it was recently bought by AOL. It offers thousands of movies and videos.
The video, created by Ford Models, while an international video relating to English speakers around the world, was apt to describe the fashion thoughts I’ve been having at the moment in Tel Aviv. Though the video was created for the general public in a colder climate, I did feel like I could associate it with my current life in Israel.
In the video, model Molly offers her take on different ways to wear scarves between seasons because its an essential transition piece for any outfit. This is especially true between summer, fall, and winter months, when the weather is slowly but surely getting cooler.
It’s already the end of October in Israel and the weather in Israel just went back up to somewhere between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius range. I thought the weather would be cooler by now, but it hasn’t been, even when we had a sprinkling of a shower and a few slightly colder days. Now, the temp is back up.
Still, Israeli winter usually only lasts between mid-November and February and even then the weather is not frigid like it is in New Jersey where I am from. Thus, i have to get used to layering rather than throwing on thick tweed coats and poofy hats.
Something I’ve seen Israelis do quite frequently as the weather slowly gets colder is wear scarves with their summer-to-fall transition attire. These scarves are not the kind of wool and cashmere scarves you see on US East Coasters in December, but they are part of that layering effect that is as common here as wool peacoats are in the States.
I got to thinking about why this Israeli trend is so popular and what it says about the society. I say this because the scarves that Israelis do wear are quite different from what you would think of internationally (at least where freezing temps in Britain and the United States are concerned.) The scarves that Israelis wear are typically thinner, more lightweight, and in brighter colors. They’re definitely not the heavy ones you often see on your favorite American television or movie during a winterish episode where a character will be wrapped in a thick scarf and one can see the breath coming out of his mouth in the air.
As much as they have become protectors against wind and rain, the scarves have also become fashionable, decorative pieces, used for sprucing up an ensemble rather than just keeping one’s neck protected from the cold.
I thought about this as I saw this video about how to tie a scarf in different ways and as I checked out my closet the other day, where I have built up quite a collection. Interestingly enough, my plaid wool and cashmere scarves (only a few are left) have been replaced by thinly lined, brightly colored and patterned scarves that relate to the environment that I currently live in rather than the environment I came from.
I noticed that my scarves range from purple animal print (Inbal Gvili) to a bright coral color (Castro) which was quite popular last spring. Others include a patterned black and white circle scarf from H&M and a black ribbon from American Apparel (whose own circle scarves have garnered quite the following amongst the Tel Avivits, as far as I’ve heard.)
Where scarves are concerned, the Israeli uniform usually consists of a scarf underneath a light nylon or leather jacket or a scarf to go with a V-neck sweater and cigarette pants. (Don’t ask me why the people who wear scarves with their V-necks are still leaving part of their collar bone open to the cold.)
Here’s what you should know about how Israelis wear scarves in Israel:
- Two of the most popular designers for scarves (non-retail) are Maya Negri and Sharon Brunsher. I fell in love with a circle scarf worn by a friend last year and she told it was a Negri original. Brunsher makes a keen knit scarf for winter.
- I’m also a big fan of the decorative scarves of Adi Bakshi. You can find her on the Coolil site, which sells Israeli labels internationally.
- Lots of Israeli designers like Sigal Dekel are now adding decorative scarves to be sold as part of their collection.
- Unless they stuff it under a jacket, Israelis don’t usually wear their scarves tied in the preppy style (the second way to tie a scarf shown in the video.) They usually wrap it around in a circle and leave the ends hanging.
- Scarves in Israel are lighter in both color and fabric. Who wants to wrap a wool scarf when it’s not so cold out?
- It’s no wonder intricate scarves with bright colors and patterned tapestries are sold at places like the market in Yafo or Shuk HaCarmel or in The Old City. They are wildly popular and fashionistas throw them over their neck, wear them as headbands, or religious married women use them for head coverings.
- Even when it’s just a little bit cooler than normal, you’ll notice tons of fashionable Israelis in the street suddenly sporting striking scarves.
Floral Shirt: Vintage, Coral Scarf: Castro