A Stole Wrap is typically narrower than a Shawl, and of simpler construction than a Stole Cape, and is typically worn loosely around the shoulders. Lighter materials such as silk and chiffon are simply finished or cropped, hemmed and bound. Heavier materials such as fur and brocade are typically lined. A Silk Stole is essentially a small version of a ladies’ Stole, made of silk. Though these garments or accessories aren’t always made of silk, they are typically manufactured with similar quality fabrics.
A Stole can also mean a fur or set of furs. For formal wear, a finished length of fur using pelts from more than one animal is worn over a suit, dress or gown. In this case, the word Stole stands alone or is used in combination: Fur Stole, Mink Stole. A Stole is typically narrower than a Cape or Wrap. The Fur Stole is kept fastened and held together at the front of the collar. Unlike a Silk Stole or Shawl, which is wrapped loosely around a lady’s shoulders and occasionally the neck, a Fur Stole is manufactured to fit the body more snugly
Similar to a Shawl, the Stole Cape typically uses more material length and covers more of the upper body. Also occasionally referred to as a Stole Wrap, the Stole Cape is likely to be found in a wide array of materials and colors, but the most common type of Stole Cape is typically made of fur. Some popular dressy styles of Stole Capes might include ostrich feathers, marabou, or other material. The feathers can come in various colors, although black, brown and white are generally the most commonly seen.
In addition to making an elegant fashion statement, all types of Stoles have been used to show respect while in a church or in a formal setting, such as for a Wedding, where it might be inappropriate to display bare shoulders or a low-cut gown.
Historically, Stoles were considered ceremonial dress worn for special occasions or at formal events such as weddings, coronations, graduations, parades, religious rites and galas. Besides the Wedding Dress, throughout history the formal dress code of ceremonial dress has included the Ermine-lined Cloak, Crown and Septer of a King or Queen, Tribal Dress, Suit of Armor, Military Dress, Liturgical Robe, Graduation Gown, and Robe and Wig worn by British judges. The Stole as an ecclesiastical vestment consisted of a narrow strip of silk or other material worn over the shoulders or, by deacons, over the left shoulder only, and arranged to hang down in front to the knee or below. The Stole as a long robe was worn by the matrons of Ancient Rome.
The lithograph plate posted here showing a variety of ways of wearing shawls in early 19th-century France (ca. 1802-1814), is redrawn from various early 19th-century sources by Durin for Albert Charles Auguste Racinet's Le Costume Historique (1888), and shows the myriad, exquisite ways the Silk Stole Wrap has been worn over the ages.
View White Stole's entire collection of Stoles, Silk Stole Wraps, Vintage Stoles, Stole Capes and Shawls for purchase, or rental, on our website.