I have a new obsession with hand muffs. I brought a vintage 1950s hand muff with a matching headpiece at the last vintage show I attended. It is so cute! I cannot wait for winter to start wearing it. Shame we are only coming into summer (lol).
The hand muff is a cylinder accessory, in which the wearer’s hands are placed on either side. It was first called a snuffkin, skimskyn and snoskyn in England.
In the 1500s, women and men kept their hands warm by using muffs. They became fashionable and useful as sleeves were no longer wide and long. In especially colder times they would place hot ceramic bottles inside their hand muffs. Over the years the hand muff was seen as an item of luxury that only the upper class could afford.
Hand muffs are thought of as being made of animal fur, but in the early years they were merely trimmed with fur and made of silk designs. In the 18th century, furs and animal skins were being seen as signs of status and muffs were being made with fox, mink and feathers. They would be a decorated with a ribbon to tie at the waist.
There was a comeback of muffs in the 1930s and 1940s. The war made animal fur coats less available, and fur remained sought after. The hand muffs required less fur and were therefore able to be produced. Hand muffs in the 20th century were made from skunk, Persian lamb, blue fox, broadtail, mink and leopard.
Following the war, the muff became less desirable. The muff made it hard to do things like drive a car, work, do anything really… Practicality was in! The hand muff was out!
Today, they do make appearances in fashion parades due to their stylish look. They are also seen being worn by vintage lovers, during winter time, to adorn their vintage outfits. In modern Kawaii fashion, the hand muff is also very popular!
What do you think of muffs? Would you wear one?
Ridiculously Retro Xx