What's stylish now: the blank-mina

Credit: Speedking

The human need to hunker down is so great that even when the humans in question have repeatedly derided the pashmina, they eventually take up with something that, while it must never be referred to as a pashmina, shares many of its qualities.

Allow me to introduce the blank-mina, the love-child of the pashmina (RIP) and the blanket. Put like that, it sounds most unpromising. 

But had you been there when Cara, Rosie, Jourdan et al trooped down the Burberry catwalk a few seasons ago in their customised, monogrammed blank-minas, you would not only have experienced something close to envy – is it not enough to be young, gorgeous and photogenic even in the depths of a hangover, but must Christopher Bailey also shower them with freebies? – but you would have also felt the hair stand up on the back of wherever you’d omitted to epilate. This, truly, was a fashion moment.

Those blank-minas have since been repeatedly sighted on those very models, instead of turning up on their cleaning ladies (as sometimes happens with less rapturously received gifts). They have also spawned an array of  other blank-minas, everywhere from Zara to Zegna.

Their virtues hardly need pointing out – they’re cosy, fashionable and one size fits all. What more does anyone need? They layer dandily over trousers and midis, and even, in the depths of winter, over thick sweaters, gilets and coats. 

I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t point out the challenges of a blank-mina, however. Namely, how to wear one tidily and avoid the Clint Eastwood effect. Belting them is one option. Selecting good-quality, dense weaves that won’t bobble is a non-negotiable. Avoid anything too long or swampy, or that veers into South American ‘gap yah’ territory. Think global, act Soho. 

Your blank-mina should be snuggly enough to sleep in but sleek enough to take you to dinner. Just as it should never be referred to as a thick pashmina, it should never actually resemble a blanket.

Here are six of the best blank-minas: 

Cashmere wrap, £215, The Travel Wrap Company

Acrylic fringe poncho, £95, Reiss

Wool and cotton blend poncho, £200, LemLem from net-a-porter.com

Wool and alpaca blend poncho, £325, Alice + Olivia from mytheresa.com

Merino wool and cashmere poncho, £1995, Burberry

Wool blanket wrap, £295, MiH