Monday, March 12, 2007

The Electric Kool-Aid Pashmina Test

I don't know where I was during the late 90's pashmina craze. I wish I meant that in a glamorous, I-was-traveling-the-country-in-my-van-being-documented-for-The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test: Redux sort of way, but really, I probably just didn't pay for my InStyle subscription for a year and missed it. In case you missed it too, a pashmina, at least in terms of the massively popular model from days gone by, looks like this:

Usually cashmere, it can be used as a scarf or a wrap or a blanket or even a crude shelter should you find yourself lost in the woods.

The only reason I'm aware of the pashmina craze at all, actually (besides the vast photographic evidence featuring Jennifer Aniston in airport terminals), is because I most definitely didn't miss out on the Great Pashmina Backlash. Yes, I got out of my Merry Pranksters van in time to read a whole bunch of completely vitriolic anti-pashmina blurbs in various magazines and get really, really confused. Do you remember these? They always went something like this:

Pashminas are out, out, out. The look is dated, drab, and dumb. In fact, you are dumb if you wear one. Want to keep warm? Here's an idea: WEAR A SWEATER, DUMBASS. Whatever you do, just be sure to throw away that pashmina...immediately!

Okay, so maybe they weren't thaaaat intense, but they actually were quite shocking in their anti-pashmina venom. I remember for awhile there, I was reading them at a rate of about one a week and thinking, "Jesus, pashminas must have pissed off the wrong people."

Anyway, the last I heard from the pashmina, they were being violently brought down by the anti-pashmina lobby (perhaps the pro-turtleneck agenda?), and ever since I received a cream-colored, cashmere number from The Pashmina Store a few days ago, I've been even more perplexed as to why everyone was hatin' there for awhile.

The one I got is this style in this gorgeous, creamy beige color, and trust me when I say the picture doesn't do it justice:

It is by far the softest, coziest thing I have ever felt (I hope my cat doesn't read that and get offended). I wore it to class the day I got it, along with a short-sleeved shirt, mini skirt, and thin tights, in winter in Oregon, and I didn't shiver once. I started the day with it tied in a knot around my neck like a scarf, and by my trip home I was curled up under its cashmere goodness, amazed as this wondrous accessory made public transportation as comfortable and calm as my bedroom (with the possible exception of the homeless guy that kept asking me to cure his speech impediment by rubbing his cheek).

I've worn it basically everyday since then, reveling in its versatility and yelling at anyone who comes near me to try to compliment me on it (and there have been many), viewing them only as evil stain-carriers (soldiers from the pro-turtleneck agenda?) out to mar my perfect, beige pashmina.

As you can tell, I have definitely become a member of the pro-pashmina camp. If you think you'd like to join the PPC (which totally sounds like a drug I would do in my imagined magic bus days, and which also seems to have a side effect of paranoia--see paragraph above), check out some of these brightly colored options, all from The Pashmina Store:

This is the same one that I have, in blue. Even though it's shown in the same semi-boring wrap style as the pictures above, you really can wear it however you want. And it's only $69.99 for pure, delicious cashmere.

If you'd rather not have enough fabric to comfortably seat a picnic for a family of four, they have smaller scarf styles in tons of great colors for $35 each:

This would be such a great way to do the yellow trend:

I'd wrap it around my neck under the Mike & Chris black leather jacket that resides in the same fantasy life as my drug-fueled roadtrip with Ken Kesey. Oh, and it's just fifty bucks.

They also offer blankets, shawls, and a style for men, which I was really sad to find out isn't called the "pashman-a." Damn, that worked better in my head.

Check 'em out, and maybe, together, we'll bring pashmina back (raise your hand if you're sick of Justin Timberlake puns. No one? Good).


Meg said...

I think the problem is that we were in middle school when the great pashmina craze hit, and I don't know about you, but I was too wrapped up in the hot trends of Limited Too to care much about a wrap, especially such a sophisticated one. Painful memories.

Tamron Lohan said...

Hm. I'm back and forth about 'em. I don't think I'd wear one unless I were freezing to death and conveniently found one nearby. I think they look very distinguished on middle aged women with, say, an all-black outfit and some nice driving mocs. Or if you're younger than middle aged and can pull off that sophisticado look, which I certainly cannot. But I really like your idea of wearing it to fem up the motorcycle jacket.

Mindy said...

I remember the pashmina craze clearly. The only thing I had against them was that they were everywhere, on every body and every fashion mag. or show was saying you HAD to have one. I don't like be told what to do. I'm just that way.

Sarah said...

I vaguely recall the pashmina craze, but I never got it until I was in Italy last year where you could buy "cashmere" pashminas for 7 euro in the market. And they had every color imaginable and they were so warm and versatile that I now own about seven in various colors. They are also what I brought back as gifts for all my friends and family. I went back to the same vendor in the market so many times that she started to give me a discount. I fully support bringing pashmina back.

Emma said...

the time will never come when i am sick of j.t. puns.
anything that mocks him is wholeheartedly approved of by me.

pashminas are great and oh so soft but if you wear them for too long and too often you run the risk of falling into the Pashmina Vortex- draping them around your shoulders and shuffling about like the 300-year old lady snuffling around Gristedes buying cough drops and cat food whom you just can't help but wonder about, "why would she leave her house in a blanket?"

they should come with warning labels- "use sparingly". pashminas i mean, not old people.

Candid Cool said...

I think they look quite elegant & distinguished.

Miss A said...

I LOVE pashminas. I don't care if they're out- I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!
I have them about 15 colors and I wear them all the time, I get compliments too! Thanks for putting it out there and reminding everyone how awesome they are!
LOVE your blog!

Dana said...

This puts me in mind of a lament i expressed this weekend - I happen to LOVE wrap dresses and am SO VERY sad to see them everywhere - yes, I can readily get anything I want in a dress, but I know the backlash is mere seconds away... and it is the very BEST dress for my figure. I will still wear my wide leg pants with hollywood waists, as well - even as more narrow silhouettes return. Sigh. Have I just given up? or do I accept that some things just WORK for me and are part of my personal style, regardless of how passe they may seem?

I still wear my original, huge, black real pashmina (made by Tally Ho the great brit wool firm)ten years after I spent way too much on it - I love it scarf style in the neck of my coat and appreciate it's thin, packable warmth in many poorly temp-regulated venues (office meeting rooms, church, theatres). I have a smaller, bright pink ombre pashmina-style scarf with embellishments that I enjoy, as well -

ricanprincess said...

Hey...i also love my pashmina been wearing it since high school in the mid 90's and i have never stopped! i have 8 dif ones and i wear them all year long. i am so glad that you have joined the ppc, welcome, get ready to stay awhile!

ashley churchill said...

i'm a fan of anything that soft. for realz.

Alison said...

I managed to miss the pashmina craze too, and I think we should definitely bring it back.

ps. justin timberlake puns rock my socks.

Distar said...

the real Pashminas come from Nepal, where I also come from. So I've been wearing pashminas since I was a little toddler... And I don't give a damn if they are out, but I continue to wear them bcos to say they are no longer in is to say a jacket is no longer in... it's a freaking scarf, how can it not be in? I don't follow the logic. As you rightly point out, they're warm and soft, and really go with everything.
Beware the fake $10 pashmina vendors on every Manhattan street corner... Those things will give you rashes.

caroline said...

After two friends brought me pashminas from their homes- Pakistan and Nepal- i have officially become addicted. Since then, I don't go outside without one elegantly draped around my neck (and when I'm inside too) I'm so for bringing them back!

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