This season our relationship with scarves has come full circle – but only in the most literal sense. Perhaps you've noticed: the high street is awash with loops of fabric for the neck – no beginning, nor end, just a self-contained tube to pull over the head. It's called a snood and, arguably, it is the culmination of years of neckwear pimping.
To many over the age of 55, this new-fangled approach to scarf-wearing is an abomination: in their day, one donned one's outdoor neckwear with no nonsense; styled in the manner of Rupert the Bear, or Tom Baker's Doctor Who, one end flicked over the shoulder, the other trailing down one's front. Job done.
Now, for women and metrosexual men, it's all about double loops, cheeky knots and lots of winding.
Boundary-blurring began in the 1980s with the original snood – a nasty elasticated cross of scarf and hood – and the multi-function ethos has crept back.
Gok Wan is a pioneer with the man-blanket he regularly wears artfully draped around his collarbones (even indoors, and over a suit). The look even has its own Facebook group (called, simply, "Gok Wan's MASSIVE scarf!"). And if you've seen Wan do a male make-over (T-shirt? Not without a jauntily styled bit of neck fabric!), you'll know the look is no accident.
Hell, it doesn't even need to be cold outside any more: the vest top-and-scarf-look is the "pap me while I'm shopping in LA" uniform. Celebrities and hipsters, perhaps sweaty ones, have even appropriated the cotton Palestinian keffiyeh (triangle at the front, ends looped to hang either side). Several thousand members of another Facebook group, fed up at fashionistas not understanding the keffiyeh's significance, are not impressed.
Political eggshells aside, even novices can now keep up: type "how to wear a scarf" into YouTube and nearly 4,000 videos on this complex topic appear. (FYI, there are roughly seven basic techniques the modern scarf-wearer should know.) Or you could just chuck on a snood.