When it comes to men's accessories, such as hats, scarves and men's gloves, there are vastly different styles to choose from that are inspired from around the globe. An eclectic way to be hip and keep warm is to don a scarf, and the shemagh is often vastly overlooked by most of the world. A traditional Pakistani scarf, also known as a Keffiyeh, it is the headdress of sheiks, but holds no traditional religious roots. It is worn in the desert in Pakistan for protection more than anything else, and these interesting, beautiful artisan scarves work well in any country to keep sun, rain, wind and cold away from your face.
In Popular Culture
A shemagh is essentially an oversized bandana, and is made of cotton. It is the most popular in the Middle East, especially Pakistan, but many have taken to wearing the scarf, not only for fashion reasons, but for tactical ones. It simply does a great job of protecting the face. It is a traditional Arab headdress, but can easily be worn anywhere in the world.
A shemagh is a men's scarf that has many, many uses and that is part of why it is so popular. Travellers to the desert rave about the shemagh's usefulness, and use it as much more than a scarf. A shemagh can also easily be used as protection from the dust or sun, a sarong, as a sling, as a towel, to keep warm, to keep cool, as a pillow, a signal flag and even as a potholder.
A shemagh is typically constructed out of cotton, which gives it the ability to keep both a person cool or warm, in different situations. It is the weave of the shemagh that makes the biggest difference. Often, a shemagh is made of a light cotton, but there are also heavy-duty, strong weave options available, and these are the more tactical type of scarves. You may occasionally find a shemagh made of silk.
There are many different colour choices when it comes to a shemagh. You may see some intricate weaves and patterns, but many of them are solid coloured. Tactical ones will come in camouflage-like colours, such as beige, army green, brown and grey. However, it's not completely unheard of to find a brightly-coloured shemagh, such as pink or red. Traditionally made for men, you will not find a shemagh made for women, although in the Western world, women do wear them occasionally.