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In The Buff

Aug 09, 2015

Talking to my buddy Ed the other day he asks me, “I have heard of film buffs, looking strong and being buff, buffing shoes, and sunbathing in the buff, but what the heck is a Sportsman’s Buff, and what does one DO with it?” (Ed saw the Sportsman’s Buff on our website and was quite perplexed.)

After I told him that this accessory, the Buff, is a handy scarf-like thing one typically wears for protection against that nasty sun rash (like the sun rash he got deep-sea fishing for hours off boat last spring), he got it.

Later, I got to wondering about how the Buff came to be. Perhaps early inspiration came from western cowboys wearing bandanas at home on the range. Or maybe… old-time baby bibs? Of course, I had to drop everything I was doing and look into this.

Come to find out, back in the Revolutionary days around 1775 (ok, I went way back) Martha Washington was looking to have George’s likeness printed on a textile. At the time, the British had a ban on textile printing so it was a bit of a rebellious project. Mrs. Washington found a printmaker, Mr. John Hewson, who was recommended by Ben Franklin for his artistic skills and defiance toward the ban. Interestingly enough, because there were no photographs or other renderings handy to reference, Hewson had trouble with George’s likeness, and drafted him to look a bit fiercer than he actually was.

George found it humorous, however, and in corresponding to a friend, he wrote that the design had “a sufficient portion of terror” in his countenance.

Washington's Bandana

In the next year, patriots were cheering on the leader of the Continental Army and waving their souvenir square handkerchiefs - with a fierce looking Washington on horseback - in the war against the red coats.

From souvenir for independence to home on the range and protection against sun rash, the Buff (and it’s bandana and handkerchief varieties) has a storied past, and is pretty darn versatile. Today you see guys wearing them in the street and on the beach, women using them for ponytail holders, and even our dog Bo looks mighty dapper wearing his Madda Fella Sportsman’s Buff as a fashion statement.

Bo wearing our Sportsman's Buff

After a little more digging, I also learned that buff is actually short for bufanda, meaning “scarf” in Spanish. This is how BUFF® USA (the manufacturer of our Sportsman’s Buff*) came up with the name for their product.

So there you have it. Ed wasn’t the first person to ask me about the use and utility of our own Buff, so it was time to embellish here in the journal. For those who would like to explore more ways to fashion this accessory, check out BUFF USA’s helpful video. 

*Editor’s note: The Madda Fella team partnered with BUFF® USA to make the Sportsman’s Buff -- so you are more prepared for your next adventure!


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