At the first college I attended, nearly all of the writers wore scarves. I don’t think it was a conscious decision to create a group identity, but the school, small as it was, had an excellent writing program. As a commuter campus, we wound up hanging out in what was called a cafeteria, not that I recall a real food line. But the round table (as a roundtable, at that) was open, and maybe the scarves were initially just a way of finding a circle of kindred spirits.
In a way, the strip of cloth may have served like those reminders of guilds and monastic orders of ancient times and their echo in modern clerical and academic vestments. We weren’t yet hippies, with all of their expressive sartorial flair, but it was on the horizon. Think of it as a badge of self-identity and distinction.
In the years since, as I’ve come to appreciate the way scarves can add a layer of comfort through a northern winter, I keep recalling that circle and our aspirations. A few went on to earn literary recognition, but some of the others were also immensely talented and yet have vanished from sight.
Come to think of it, so have many of my own favorite scarves – especially the ones my new stepdaughters latched onto when they came into the picture.
Any way I look at it, a scarf still beats a necktie as an item of apparel. Remind me to wear one next time I pose for the back-of-the-book jacket portrait.
Oh, here we are, back to those aspirations, aren’t we?