Happy day, reader dear!
Not for nothing, this is an obsession post… Who can say where these obsessions come from? It might be something simple like a fad we are seeing grabs me by the neck and screams PAY ATTENTION! I’ve been obsessed with lots of different fashion items over the years, but this month’s installment is particularly Lizitive. I don’t expect anyone else to appreciate my whim or even understand it, but right now I am obsessed with Souvenir Scarves.
You may never have seen one in your lifetime! BUT… I bet you’ve seen her household relation, the souvenir tea towel AKA: souvenir dish towel. You know, those strangely illustrated country, state, or city textiles that you find in souvenir shops across the world. Well, the tea towel’s more sophisticated (Not really!) sister might be the souvenir scarf.
These gems have been around for decades. I’ve seen some as old as the 1920’s, but those are few and far between! Most of the oldest were produced for expositions and events. Souvenir scarves grew in popularity starting in the 30’s and got a boost during WWII, with (another relation) propaganda scarves. Women heading off to work for the war effort often wore these. Some of these same companies also manufactured scarves for GI’s to send to their sweethearts. What’s a manufacturer to do after the war? Turn toward souvenirs, of course!
My obsession began a few months ago when I was scouting Ebay for a silk scarf. Yes, that is something I do with some regularity. If you’ve been with me a while, you’re not surprised. Scarves are my thing. Well, lots of things are, but many people think of a scarf as my signature. Long before Covid put the kibosh on in person networking, someone called me out, I didn’t know it was you… Where’s your scarf?, at a meeting. You can bet I made sure to wear one the next time!
I’m good with scarves being my signature. Combine that signature with my frustrated love of travel and last year’s pre-loved shopping resolution and presto! Somehow this obsession with souvenir scarves was born. Which meant that when I was planning my Spring Capsule Wardrobe and ran across this one:
I simply had to make it mine. This modern version was very inexpensive (I think the shipping was more than the scarf!) and is 100% Polyester. Some souvenir scarves are silk. Vintage scarves are often rayon, or a silk and rayon blend. Some are cotton bandannas. The sizes vary, from Bandanna/neckerchief size to about a yard square. For a video about common scarf sizes, check this out!
Here are some vintage American lovelies! I want that 1939 New York World’s Fair scarf! And the one from Florida! It’s funny how even though I wouldn’t purchase a modern scarf in that NY colorway, as a vintage piece, I love it, and would make it part of an outfit any day! You name the state, there’s probably a scarf for it. Yes, Ohio, I am talking about you… Vermont, too!
Mexico and Central America
I know there’s a connection between these beauties and Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy…
How much traveling have I done in Europe? And why did I never buy one of these? Sigh. I bought plenty of scarves, because they are small and easy to pack, but I always thought of these souvenir scarves as too kitch. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate them when I had the chance! I’m glad I don’t take myself so seriously anymore and can have fun with a little bad taste!
On holiday and Ebay are not the only places to find these babies. You can bet that next time I see an Estate Sale sign, I’ll pop on my mask and pop in to look for any souvenir scarves that might be found! I’m not drawn to scarves depicting places I’ve not visited, but you can bet I’ll find something that catches my eye. It’s the long game, peeps…
How About You?
What’s your take on souvenir anything? Do you collect when you travel? What do you collect? Or gift? I buy my friend shot glasses. She buys me spoons. It’s a long and sordid tale, but now our children have taken on the tradition… Ah, travel. Someday that season will come again? Where would your dream vacation take you? Where might your next getaway take you? Do tell! I could use some inspiration. And maybe I’ll just find a scarf…
It’s probably time to plan another staycation!
Stylishly (and stuck-in-placedly) yours,