What Is a Snood Scarf and How Do You Wear It?

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?

Rita Ora wearing a snood scarf

Lydia Bolton


A snood scarf refers to a scarf that's tubular, much like a large cowl or a scarf with a hood. It can be 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.

The Benefits

Snoods are worn around the hair, but they can also be worn as facial coverings. The fave coverings are typically made out of breathable stretch knits like jersey. They protect your face and mouth from super cool temps, but they are also light enough to breathe through. These types of snoods are also commonly worn on ski or snowboarding trips.

They also can be made out of yarn and can be worn over your hair. This helps keep your hair back, but it also keeps your ears warm. If nothing else, they can always be a chic fashion accessory.

Snood Scarf vs. Infinity Scarf

model wearing a multicolored snood scarf

Lydia Bolton


Snood scarves and infinity scarves are often confused with one another. Both of them are connected at either end and form a loop. However, snoods have traditionally been worn as a hood or over one's hair typically to hold it back or in place whereas infinity scarves are usually meant to be worn around the neck.

Snoods and infinity scarves can both be made from yarn, but snoods are more often made from a variety of materials like jerseys, silks or netting.

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.

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.

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.

The Takeaway

Snoods have both practical and fashionable benefits. They help keep you warm, and they add funkiness to your look. Whatever your reason is for wearing them, snoods are a versatile accessory that elevate any wardrobe.

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