You would be in good company if you owned one or more of these handsome silk scarfs. Prior to the First World War, circa 1900, if you were a wealthy gentleman member of the British “upper class,” you often owned several of these essential, de rigueur silk scarfs. Such a silk scarf was a highly popular and fashionable accessory that had to be had — no if’s, and’s, or but’s.
Turns out that due to the high costs of basic flight training, many of these wealthy British upper-class-men became airplane pilots for the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). Sensibly the adventurous flight volunteers brought along their silk scarfs for the military service. As “eyes in the skies,” the air crews flew in open cockpits in very cold conditions at altitudes of up to 15,000 ft. The First War in the Air was a chilly, rainy, grueling, terrifying, and highly dangerous affair.
The silk scarf solved some of the aerial problems quite nicely. Pure silk wrapped tightly around the neck, unlike wool or cotton, prevented the rough collar of the leather flight jacket from chafing and damaging the skin. This was a considerable problem because the pilot and observer were constantly cycling and scanning the sky through 360 degree turns. Because the silk was soft, smooth, lightweight, durable, and compact, it facilitated ease of neck movement and twisty vision. Moreover, the silk scarf prevented the high-altitude, icy drafts from creeping down through the neck into the body and feet.
There were other uses for the silk as well. For example, it was used as a cleaning wipe for the rain or condensation on the crews’ air goggles and instruments. And sometimes the flyers would use the scarf to swish the specks of sputtering oil that landed on their faces from primitive engine designs. At other times the silk scarf served as a dashing and stylish accessory that helped to establish a unique esprit de corps for the splendid, flying gentlemen of the First World War. Not long after, the silk aviator scarf became a standard issue as flight and naval gear in many global militaries and a desirable, sought-after fashion accessory for the rest of the world.
Our Polka Print Royal Silk Aviator Scarf is fashioned in a twin layer of Mulberry Silk and detailed with soft, hand-made self-fringes on both ends. The touch and feel of this Mulberry Silk is soft, plush, and delectable. 100% Silk. The silk aviator scarf measures 8” x 60.” Imported. Hand wash or dry clean or machine wash with use of our washer bag for silks, sold separately in two sizes. Select from three polka dot prints: Black, White, and Burgundy. $39