The Countess of Wessex brings back the pashmina

·4-min read
The pashmina, which has been in fashion purgatory for two decades, is making a return - PA
The pashmina, which has been in fashion purgatory for two decades, is making a return - PA

If you thought fashion’s obsession with the Y2K aesthetic was just for the under-25s, then the Countess of Wessex is here to prove you wrong.

Sophie attended the Foundation of Light's Gala Awards dinner at Sunderland Football Club last week carrying a fuchsia pashmina scarf, the likes of which haven’t been seen since around 2001, back when it was an essential part of the ‘Sloane Ranger’ uniform.

The pashmina, which is traditionally made of ultra-fine cashmere but can also refer to a cashmere-silk blend or even viscose, has been in fashion purgatory for the intervening two decades, but perhaps Sophie is onto something in bringing it back.

The Y2K aesthetic was born on TikTok, popularised by people too young to have experienced the period first-hand. Now that it’s starting to filter through to the mainstream though, Sophie is showing us that you don’t need to be a member of Gen-Z to carry it off.

In fact, there are benefits to remembering Millenium-era trends the first time around; to be a Sloane Ranger in 2001 was a little embarrassing, but 20 years on, carrying a pashmina is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the pretentions and aspirations of the time.

Sophie’s scarf served as the finishing touch to a black-tie look comprised of a silk sleeveless top, a layered ankle-length skirt by Roland Mouret and LK Bennett black suede heels.

The baguette-like shape of Sophie’s evening bag, a Sophie Habsburg clutch, also referenced the Y2K aesthetic, as did the flower-shaped brooch at her neck, which is not dissimilar to the floral corsages that defined Carrie Bradshaw’s look in Sex and the City.

It made for an elegant, understated appearance - the evening was about those whose lives had been transformed by the Foundation of Light charity, after all - but it also demonstrated Sophie’s subtle-yet-confident handle on fashion microtrends.

The best part though? This is a sure sign that one of the most useful accessories of all time is making a comeback - and just in time for party season.

Tread carefully though. Grown-up pashmina fans (as opposed to the under-25s driving the Y2K fashion revival) run the risk of looking a little dated when wearing a stole. In order to avoid that, a few key rules should be followed:

Wear it off-the-shoulder

Wear it off the shoulder - Getty
Wear it off the shoulder - Getty

This is a take on the way preppy types might wear a jumper across their shoulders, arms tied at the neck. It works especially well with a scarf, since it’s less bulky. Arrange it so one side is off the shoulder to bring the look straight into autumn/winter 2021.

Try a monochrome look

A monochrome look is always very chic - Getty
A monochrome look is always very chic - Getty

Wearing one colour, or one limited colour palette head-to-toe is the fashion stylist’s secret to effortless-looking chic (and a shortcut to Succession-style luxe). A pashmina adds a cosy-yet-luxurious spin.

Drape it over your coat

Drape it over your coat
Drape it over your coat

Instinct might tell you to tuck your scarf under your coat, but it actually works very well draped over the shoulders on top of the coat. No, it won’t keep you warm that way, but it looks great... and isn’t that what counts?

Belt it

Belt it - Getty
Belt it - Getty

A fashion editor trick that is easier to wear than you’d think. It’s also a great way to create a little structure in an otherwise drapey, fluid outfit.

Give neon a go

Pep up a muted outfit with a splash of neon - Getty
Pep up a muted outfit with a splash of neon - Getty

Neon greens and yellows bring the pashmina straight into 2021. Wear it wrapped around your neck by day to add some life to an otherwise muted outfit.

Get the look

Green cashmere pashmina, £75, Somerville Scarves; Tommy Hilfiger check pashmina scarf, £55, Fenwick; Tamora wool-cotton blend scarf, £59, Hush
Green cashmere pashmina, £75, Somerville Scarves; Tommy Hilfiger check pashmina scarf, £55, Fenwick; Tamora wool-cotton blend scarf, £59, Hush

Green cashmere pashmina, £75, Somerville Scarves; Tommy Hilfiger check pashmina scarf, £55, Fenwick; Tamora wool-cotton blend scarf, £59, Hush

What is your verdict on the pashmina? Let us know in the comments section below

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