For ladies in the Civil War reenacting a snood is a common piece of their wardrobe, but these actually date as far back as Old English times around 725, also used in the Middle Ages, and continued on in various other periods for both working women and women at home.
A snood is most commonly known as a type of head covering that is worn over the back of the hair or head. A tighter band wrapped around the forehead, ran behind the ears, and under the hairline or nape of the neck. (similar to a hairnet). Snoods could be made of fabric but are more commonly made of a loose knit yarn. These could be crocheted or knitted using a fine thread. The snood would hold the long hair in place and give the wearer a clean appearance. Not only are snoods used in Civil War reenactments, but can also be found at Renaissance or Medieval events.
Today a snood can be referred to as a tubular neck warmer and can be worn by skiers or a motorcycle rider.
A snood made with silk ribbon was worn by unmarried women and would indicate their status. These snoods were usually braided into their hair. This was worn by women in Scotland and parts North of England until the late 19th or early 20th century.
In 1860 the snoods were brought back into fashion. The term was used by Europeans but Americans called them hairnets. Most of these were made to match the ladies hair color.
During World War II, snoods became popular in Europe. Material at that time was rationed but this headgear remained popular because it showed an individual’s commitment to the war effort.
Today, snoods are still worn by married Orthodox Jewish women (see shpitzel). These are made to cover the hair and are lined so they won’t be see-through and come in a variety of colors.