Favored by Brit pop legends like Paul Weller and Liam Gallagher, the silk scarf is a long-established ‘go to’ accessory for the most style-conscious British men. Worn by country gents and indie hipsters alike, this single item has crossed generations and genres. The biggest name in traditional silk scarves is Tootal. Grab a cuppa, put your feet up, and let me introduce you.
Founded in Manchester in 1799 by Robert Gardner, a textile merchant, Tootal is now a well-established British brand, renowned for providing superior quality scarves, among other garments, to the traditional market since the 1920’s. The company works out of a stunning Victorian-era warehouse, which has been placed on Britain’s Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, in Manchester, England at 56 Oxford Street.
Tootal was commissioned by the British Army during the Second World War to produce clothing and scarves for soldiers in the Royal Air Force. This employment set Tootal’s roots firmly in the tradition of British menswear design and, after the war, they enjoyed continued success. Buoyed by the fierce patriotism of the British public, Tootal mainly supplied garments to the working classes.
While the early-20th century was great for Tootal’s success, the 50’s and 60’s saw them rise to new heights. The company became a truly iconic British heritage brand when Mod culture swept across the UK. With their Parker coats and scooters, the Mod revolution was one of the biggest movements in British fashion history and is still referred to today in film and books as an iconic part of British culture. And no self-respecting Mod would be seen without Tootal’s essential piece of kit, the silk scarf.
Following their huge success, Tootal took a quieter place in the British men’s fashion world. But a revival is underway, and Tootal scarves have become a must-have accessory for autumn and winter 2013 and spring 2014. The owners of the Tootal brand have scoured the past, raiding their significant pattern archive of beautiful paisleys and bespoke patterns, but also worked on fresh designs for the modern man, producing a stunning new range of pure silk scarves.
Over the years, Tootal has also been synonymous with classic British ties and cravats. Using a splendid selection of silks and wools, Tootal is once again working on an exciting range of men’s accessories that they hope to launch very soon.
In addition to new designs and products, Tootal has recently collaborated with another classic Brit brand, Fred Perry, to produce two colors of polka dot scarves now available at fredperry.com.
Tootal will always maintain the traditions begun in 1799: luxurious materials and classic British geometric designs, like paisley and polka dots. Their latest selection of silk scarves really proves this with some stunningly sumptuous paisley prints and classic polka dots.
How To Wear A Tootal Scarf
Tootal scarves are lovely to wear, a real luxury men’s item. While initially cool to the skin, the high-quality silk quickly warms up to keep that autumnal chill at bay.
The scarves are easy to wear. I throw mine on casually with jeans and a denim jacket, adding a touch of class to an otherwise dull outfit. I also like to tie one like I’d tie a traditional neck tie and wear it with an open collar shirt, either hanging down the front of the shirt or tucked inside. They can be hung loosely around the neck inside a fine sports coat, giving a flash of color and pattern at the opening, for sheer elegance. Another way to wear your Tootal scarf is to double it, pass it around your neck and loop it through as you would a woollen scarf.
With the range of colours and patterns available, Tootal has something to suit all tastes. This is one item that every self-respecting dapper chap or aspiring Mod should have in their sartorial armory this season.
Catering equally to the Mod, Vintage-freak, and the young dapper gent, Tootal are in it for the long run. They’re already planning SS14 and AW14 and now selling widely in the UK and Japan where they have a large following. Exciting plans are also afoot to open in North America and Europe as well. Things are definitely looking up once again for this British classic, and deservedly so.