Hermes scarf – a dream in fashion over 40
To own a Hermes scarf is a dream of most fashionable women. Even when we don’t own one does not mean that we cannot use the power of scarves for our outfit. Who can read the label anyway when a scarf is tied? And who can, is too close! Period.
Scarves come in a variety of colors, sizes, fabrics and shapes designed for different purposes. In addition, there are different ways to tie them. How to tie them again depends on the outfit that has to be styled.
Curation of a scarf collection
Let’s start how to get a great scarf collection. When browsing a thrift or consignment store, I always go thru the scarves. I pull out the scarves that are in the colors of my wardrobe and a fabric I like. I prefer silk, wool and cotton over polyester. The latter material is often slippy and hence hard to style/tie. I check a potential scarf for problems like spots, wholes, or pulled yarn. If a scarf is in great condition, has a shape and/or print/pattern that is not yet in my collection, and the price is right, I will buy it. I was lucky to find an Oscar de la Rente scarf for $5 and a very heavy silk Gucci scarf for $20 (see photos below).
Shop the sales for scarves
During sales, I browse scarves when they are 50% or more off. I have a list of brands of which I would like a scarf and I look for these. However, when I see a scarf I like and it fits the criteria I apply for thrifted scarves, I consider buying it. This means I ask to hold it for 24 hours (if possible). In any case, I will come back to buy it if I still want/love the scarf the next morning. The only scarves in my closet that were bought for the full price are gifts.
Which scarf to which outfit
In summer, thin cotton, silk or polyester scarves look great with a white T-shirt, jeans and sandals or pumps for the weekend, and Casual Friday (if jeans are allowed), respectively. In fall, scarves can help to transfer a summer dress into an fall outfit either by using the scarf strategically to cover wide cleavage to stay warm or by adding a matching fall color to the outfit.
Fall and winter scarves
In fall and winter, two types of scarves can up our style. Knit scarves of any style (infinity scarf, long 70s style scarf, oblong scarf, buttoned scarf, hood scarf) add style to outerwear. The same applies for poncho scarves and Russian scarves. A main advantage of the latter two types of scarves is that they add extra insulation around the neck and shoulders. This fact permits wearing a light coat longer into the cold season or is much needed when the Polar Vortex extends far down south on the Northern Hemisphere, or far north on the Southern Hemisphere.
Qiviut is the warmest
With respect to the fabric, qiviut, the under-wool of muskoxen, provides the best insulation. Silk and wool are also great insulators. A tightly weave/knit is better than a loose one as less body heat can escape thru the former than the latter. In humid regions like Southeast Alaska, West Europe, the Pacific Northwest, or the East Coast, for instance, sheep wool may start smelling when humidity gets high, which is always the case on rainy days. Polyester may get electrically charged in cold dry regions. Polyester clothes release sparks when you take them off, when they get in contact with other people’s clothes on public transportation, or when you touch them.
In the case of winter indoor outfits, heavy silk or light wool scarves are the best options. They match the heavy fabrics of winter items. A scarf over a sweater can substitute for a turtleneck sweater at the office. A scarf can provide the extra insulation/coverage to wear a button-down shirt under a blazer. The cleavage of a fall or spring dress can be covered by a scarf to make these dresses work on warmer winter days. On weekends, adding a light-weight Russian scarf may up a jeans and sweater with booties look.
Scarves permit a head start on summer dresses in spring
In spring, you can apply the same principal to already start wearing the new summer dress you just bought or to get a head start on wearing your summer wardrobe. Of course, in spring, you would add a scarf in a light color or with a print that is associated with spring. The best look can be achieved when the scarf has a similar vibe with respect to style as the dress and the colors pick up colors of the dress. Scarves that have the same color as the dress, but a different shade or saturation may work too. It is worth a try, but before living the door for work or play, take a selfie in good light conditions to judge whether the pairing works. Your outfit will look wrong when the shades of the scarf’s colors are just a notch lighter or darker than the color of a solid color dress. In case of a printed dress and solid scarf, you may get away with these slight differences.
How to tie which scarves
Obviously, the different purposes, types, shapes and materials of scarves require different techniques to tie them. I will write a separate how to tie scarves post with step-by-step details on this subject later this winter. Here I will just provide the general guideline which techniques go with which types of scarves.
The European loop (see photo), works best with long small to medium wide knit scarves or oblong wool or polyester scarves with tight weave. It looks stylish both when worn under or over a winter coat.
Blanket scarf and alike
A poncho, blanket or large Russian scarf look stylish when wrapped around the shoulder over a wool or shearling winter coat and belted for shape (see photos above).
Long small scarves
An oblong knitted 70s style scarf looks great when paired with modern clothes and tied the 70s way, i.e. wrapped once or twice around the neck, then making a loose knot and having the ends hang down in the front (see photo). Be aware that this way of styling a scarf may become a safety issue. The long ends can be caught in the doors of public transportation and cars, by shopping charts, etc. and they also may cause injury in conjunction with car-seat belts.
Most infinity scarves look best when tied around the neck twice. Only light-weight fabrics look great with a jeans and T-shirt in summer. Heavy fabric or knit infinity scarves look best with a winter coat, down coat or shearling. When the size allows for it, try to do the second wrap over your head as a hood to skip the hat.
Folding a square thin silk or cotton scarf to a triangle and knotting the ends behind the neck with the triangle hanging in the front looks best with a jeans and T-shirt in summer.
You can fold the said triangle over the short side several times to create a long neck-wide band. When wrapped around the neck twice and knotted on the side, it keeps your neck warm when you wear a crew-neck sweater in winter. However, go for a silk scarf. Cotton is meant for summer and would not feel right. Furthermore, cotton is not a good insulator, a reason why it is used for summer clothes.
Oblong wide scarf
An oblong scarf is full of possibilities. A cotton or silk scarf braided to a necklace ups a solid or color blocked dress. In the photo above, I wore it as a necklace. This style requires to fold the scarf into a loop and braid part of the loop and the two ends. Finally, the ends get secured in a non-visible way in the braid.
Silk neckerchief scarves look great when folded to a triangle and then folded to a band and tied once around the neck. I use them to fill in the cleavage of a shirt dress or button-down shirt when leaving the uppermost two buttons open. They also look cute this way with a polo shirt and denim skirt on the weekend.
Scarf styling tip: When knotting scarves always make sure the knot looks flat.
Long oblong cotton or silk scarves look stylish when tied around the neck towards the back and switching the ends in the front. Since the ends are subject to gravity or the wind and since there is no knot, I secure the scarf with pins or brooches.
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Do you have a scarf collection? How do you wear your scarves? What type of scarves are your favorite? Send me an email or tweet, I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
Copyright 2013-2017 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved