Snood (headgear)

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19th Century painting of a woman wearing a snood (by Adolph Menzel)
Two women working at a Texas Naval Air Base in 1942, wearing hairnets (snoods)

A snood (/snd/, rhymes with 'food', not 'wood') is historically a type of European female headgear, or in modern times a tubular neck scarf. In the most common form the headgear resembles a close-fitting hood worn over the back of the head. A tighter-mesh band may cover the forehead or crown, then run behind the ears and under the nape of the neck.

A sack of sorts dangles from this band, covering and containing the fall of long hair gathered at the back. A snood sometimes was made of solid fabric, but more often of loosely knitted yarn or other net-like material. Historically (and in some cultures still in use today) a small bag—netted, tatted, knitted, crocheted, or knotted (see macrame)—of fine thread, enclosed a bob of long hair on the back of the head or held it close to the nape.

In modern times the word snood has come to be applied to a tubular neck protector or warmer, often worn by skiers or motorcyclists. The garment may be worn either pulled down around the neck like a scarf, or pulled up over the hair and lower face, like a hood. The tubular ear and neck protector used to protect the ears of long-eared or long-haired show dogs is also referred to as a snood.


The word was first recorded in Old English from sometime around 725.[1] It was widely used in the Middle Ages for a variety of cloth or net head coverings, including what we would today call hairbands and cauls, as well as versions similar to a modern net snood.[citation needed] Snoods continued in use in later periods, especially for women working or at home.[citation needed]

In Scotland and parts of the North of England, a silken ribbon about an inch (2 cm) wide called a snood was worn specifically by unmarried women, as an indicator of their status, until the late 19th or early 20th century.[1] It was usually braided into the hair.[citation needed]

Snoods came back into fashion in the 1860s, although the term "snood" remained a European name, and Americans called the item simply a "hairnet" until some time after they went out of fashion in the 1870s. These hairnets were frequently made of very fine material to match the wearer's natural hair colour (see 1860s in fashion - hairstyles and headgear) and worn over styled hair. Consequently, they were very different from the snoods of the 1940s.[citation needed]

Snoods became popular again in Europe during World War II. At that time, the British government had placed strict rations on the amount of material that could be used in clothing. While headgear was not rationed, snoods were favoured, along with turbans and headscarves, in order to show one's commitment to the war effort.[citation needed]

Now, women's snoods are commonly worn by married Orthodox Jewish women, according to the religious custom of hair covering; see shpitzel. Since these snoods are designed to cover the hair more than hold it, they are often lined to prevent them from being see-through. Contemporary hair snoods for Jewish women come in a wide range of colors and designs.

A Winter Olympics 2010 television broadcast (NBC: February 27, 2010) an on-site interview of a European skier wearing a beret headgear with snood expansion at the nape.

Tubular scarves[edit]

The term "snood" (sometimes "snood-scarf") has been used to describe tubular scarves since at least the late 1960s. [2]

Beard snood[edit]

Another similar garment which is also referred to as a snood is used to cover facial hair when working in environments such as food production.[3] Although it appears that "hairnet" has replaced "snood" as the common term for hair containment on the head, the term "beard snood" is still familiar in many food production facilities.


Though popular for many years with European footballers like Gianluigi Buffon — in the 2010–11 Premier League season, a number of high-profile players including Carlos Tévez and Samir Nasri wore snoods. The fashion was derided by commentators, prompting one journalist to state that 'snoods are the new gloves' in professional football.[4]

Whereas former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he would no longer allow his players to wear snoods,[5] Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger defended their use, suggesting they serve a medical purpose when players have neck problems in the cold weather.[6]

The International Football Association Board feels that snood scarves may pose a risk to a player's neck if jerked from behind.[7] Players in the UK have been banned from wearing them during matches since 1 July 2011. IFAB had a meeting where the issue was brought up, and they were immediately and completely banned on 5 March, 2011 due to not being part of the uniform.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Snood." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ Nadean Walker (August 8, 1968). "Toque's Back in Headgear". The Palm Beach Post. 
  3. ^ "SmartGuard Beard Snood | | Food Industry Workwear | Disposable Workwear | Protective Workwear | Personal Protective PPE". Protec Direct. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  4. ^ Pink, Stuart (2010-12-10). "Sir Alex Ferguson in ban on Man United players wearing snoods". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  5. ^ Laura Williamson (2010-12-11). "Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: My boys in the snoods suffer from bad necks". London: Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  6. ^ "Wenger - Snoods are a medical aid for us". Arsenal F.C. 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  7. ^ "Snoods may be banned in football". BBC Sport. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  8. ^ Agencies (2011-03-05). "Snoods banned but Fifa to continue goalline technology testing". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 

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