What Is a Snood Scarf?

Snoods offer fashion, warmth, and function

model wearing snood scarf


Scarves are a cold-weather staple. But from infinity to blanket scarves, it often seems like this fashion accessory requires its own user manual. Cue the snood, a type of scarf you've likely seen during your late-night Instagram scrolls that are both practical and easy to style, even for the novice fashionista. Fun fact: Before your favorite fashion influencer donned a snood scarf, they were introduced as a stylish alternative to hairnets during World War II when women began entering the workforce. Today's snoods are made of chunky knits and feature an open component (much like an infinity scarf). If you're looking for ways to style this fun accessory, keep scrolling.

What Is a Snood Scarf?

A snood scarf refers to a scarf that's tubular, much like a large cowl. It's similar to an infinity scarf (a looped scarf that sits around the neck), but a snood sits higher on the neck and often acts as a hood. While an infinity scarf could technically work like a snood and a snood like an infinity scarf, there are subtle differences.

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History of the Snood

Snood means "hairnet." You have likely seen women wearing them in old black and white photos, movies, and fashionable vintage ads. Snoods were seen as a more stylish way than a hairnet to pull hair away from the face. They were quite popular during the World War II-era when women entered the workforce and took over many manual labor jobs previously dominated by men.

However, snoods don't necessarily have to be made of net. A snood is anything that holds the hair back and in place. Snoods may be made of solid fabric or a knit, with some having more open, net-like loops than others.

Traditionally, snoods had more of a sack at the base of the neck, like a hairnet that would hold long hair. They were very functional and offered a bit of style at the same time. In today's fashion trends, snoods are often chunky knits that are very much like an infinity scarf.

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Snoods for Religious Observances

muslim femme wearing pink hoodie and blue hijab

Faces Film / Stocksy

Snoods are also worn by women for religious reasons. Although snoods weren't designed to cover the front part of the head and hair, many religious head coverings that do so have been referred to as snoods. Typically, these types of snoods are more understated and less ornate than those worn strictly for fashion.

For instance, many married Orthodox Jewish women choose to cover their hair with a fabric head covering. Some have bands that cover the crown of the head with the hair sack in the back, while others are more of a tied scarf wrap. A Muslim hijab and a nun habit could also be considered a snood.

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How to Wear a Snood

Snoods are a great fashion accessory for chilly autumn and spring days as well. Wear them with leggings while out on your morning walk, or use one to dress up your favorite jeans in a comfy-casual type of way.

Amping up your wardrobe with a snood—especially if you live in a cold region and need the extra warmth—can give a fresh update to what's already lingering in your closet. Below, check out our favorite ways to wear a snood.

  • On an average day, the snood can be worn like an infinity scarf to protect your neck from the cold. When the winds start whipping around, and the snow is falling, you can pull the snood over your head and wear it as a hood. It will protect your hair and ears from the cold, damp weather.
  • Long snoods can be draped around your neck in two loops. This double-layered look adds a little more texture, especially if you pull one loop a little longer than the other. You get the warmth around your neck while offering the look of a double-wrapped scarf. It looks great with or without a heavy winter coat.
  • Pair a snood with leggings while out on your morning walk, or use one to dress up your favorite jeans for a comfy casual look.

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