Is that a scarf or a shawl? With this blog post we’ll try to clarify the terminology and definitions for the most common types of woollen wraps. Hopefully, this will allow to tell the difference between a scarf, a stole, a shawl and a ruana....
HOW TO TELL A SCARF FROM A STOLE
The scarf can be described as the smallest in size and is basically a rectangular length of woven fabric worn mostly around the neck as a stylish accessory. Scarves are typically between 20 and 30cm wide. Our pure merino wool scarves, for example, measure 170 x 30cm and come in a range of lovely check patterns and colour ways.
Cashmere scarf in Silver Bannockbane Tartan
In contrast, a stole is generally longer and definitely wider than a scarf, bringing greater versatility to how you can wear it: either around the neck or loosely round the shoulders, creating both casual and formal looks. At Highland Store we refer to them as shawls and stock lots of popular Scottish tartans such as Black Watch Tartan which measure 185 x 70cm.
And our luxurious pure alpaca stoles come in the slightly longer length of 200 x 60cm. These alpaca wool stoles drape beautifully and make an elegant statement.
SO, WHAT IS A SHAWL?
We’ve said that a stole is essentially an over-sized scarf that we refer to as shawl although shawls can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes – and they’re usually worn around the shoulders or even as a head covering. They can be triangular, rectangular, square or even a semi-circular shape.
AND WHAT ABOUT PONCHOS, SERAPES AND RUANAS?
Ponchos, serapes and ruanas are all Spanish words associated with traditional South American and Mexican woven blankets that are worn like cloaks.
Most of us will have heard of a poncho, which is a large square of fabric with an opening in the centre through which you thread your head.
Serapes are usually almost square in shape and larger than a typical shawl – about the size of a blanket. Traditionally they are brightly coloured and when worn extend down to the knees.
Ruana in Camel Thompson tartan
So that leaves us with the ruana. Ruanas are woollen coverings that are very similar size and shape to ponchos but they have a slit down the front. This enables the fabric to be wrapped around the body and worn in different ways.
Highland Store offers a range of 100% pure merino lambswool ruanas.These come in a generous 180x140cm size and in a range of lovely Scottish tartan patterns and checks.
And we also stock a shorter range classified as mini ruanas – generally measuring around 145 x 130cm. Our mini ruanas are made from super soft pure merino wool and are sure to brighten up your autumn and winter outfits.
We have been known to refer to our ruanas as ‘tailored shawls’, ‘serapes’, ‘wraps’, ‘capes’ and even ‘ponchos’. That tells you everything you probably need to know about how interchangeable these terms really are.
But whatever we call them – these versatile accessories provide a lighter and more stylish alternative to outerwear on crisp days and evenings. They let you achieve a timeless and chic style that never goes out of fashion. You can wear them over jumpers, jackets and evening wear
HIGHLAND STORE WOOLLEN WRAPS AND OUTERWEAR
We hope we’ve given you a better understanding of the differences between some of the common terminology for various woollen wraps. Whatever your personal preference Highland Store has you covered. Browse through our online ranges or visit us in store.