It Came in the Mail

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: The Headgator, a multi-tasking swatch of fabric.

AIMED AT: Outdoorsy travelers with cold-sensitive noggins and necks.

HOW MUCH: $17.50

BUT DOES IT WORK? To the untrained eye, the Headgator is a large rectangle of stretchy cloth that could be a napkin with a secret compartment to stash extra desserts, or a tube skirt for an Olsen twin. However, those with origami and/or sarong skills know the truth: With a tuck here and a tug there, the above-the-shoulders accessory can transform into six wearable designs good for cool weather.

To be honest, we felt like Goldilocks trying it on: The neck warmer was too loose, the hood too tight on our throat, the balaclava too creepy (black fabric covering all but beady eyes). We were getting warmer with the hat style -- if only the drooping flap of fabric didn't resemble the foot of a giant clam. The most wearable configuration was the ear band, a wider version of the sweatband, which works only if you have an enormous forehead. The folded Lycra fit snugly over our ears and kept out outside elements -- except for noises, including any laughter directed at our head wrap.

-- Andrea Sachs

The Headgator is available through Maxit Designs at 800-556-2948,

© 2007 The Washington Post Company