The secret to great style isn’t spending loads of money on clothing or wearing something new every week. I believe the secret to success lies in building a collection of accessories and clothing items that suit your style and shape. Having those appropriate elements to pull from makes getting dressed for your day a joy.
This post is the start of a new weekly series. In each feature, I will deep dive into one item to share everything I know about wearing, storing, caring for, and choosing the pieces.
I’m starting the series with scarves because they can pull together simple jeans and T‑shirt combos or make a plain dress look elegant. Scarves can keep you warm, add pattern, color, and softness to any look. You can add or remove layers but still look pulled together in a scarf.
The fifty-one-inch scarf above is folded on the bias; the center is placed above the bust, the ends are wrapped behind my neck, brought back around, and then tucked into the center in the front. Here is a video to show you how. Here is a video to show a way to knot a smaller scarf.
The jeans above are here. The soft cotton long-sleeve T‑shirt is here. The jacket is here. The best no-show socks are here. The most comfortable shoes ever are here. (I would love to have these shoes in every color!) A similar bag is here. (The red is sold out now.)
The following images are from past years. I wanted to show you a variety of nonchalant ways to wear and use scarves. Effortless is the keyword when wearing scarves. They should never look too fussy or controlled.
Scarves have been my favorite accessory since my early twenties. I look for silk, cashmere, cotton, merino wool, and other natural fabrics, but avoid other wools since they can be irritating. Nylon and other synthetic materials also feel very uncomfortable on the skin. Acrylics will pill and lose their shape almost immediately. The drape and texture of a scarf made from synthetics will do nothing for your look.
I show a few ways to wear large square scarves here. I never wear them in complicated ways or pinned to my clothing; instead, they are draped or tied nonchalantly. A scarf will and should move with you all day. I accept that fact and adjust it as necessary. Most of the time, I start by folding a scarf on the bias. Here is the post that shows you how to fold on the bias.
Scarves with large blocks of cool colors look best near my face. Small prints can look muddy, so I avoid those and golden colors, as well as small florals, or beading. I rarely buy scarves with fringe, tassels, sequins, or other fussy details.
Generally, if I plan to wear a scarf to stay warm, it will be a solid color. It might be in contrast to my coat or a lighter or darker color, such as a dove-gray scarf over black. The scarf color may also match the sweater under the coat. Here is another post about wearing scarves.
Ruanas are unique scarf-like accessories that can be worn in a variety of ways. The black leather-trimmed one above is several years old from Carlisle. The stunning one below is hand-dyed silk and felted wool. The artist is Sibel Mallory at Cybele Boutique.
I store my scarves folded and draped on felted hangers on the bottom rail in my closet. It’s a good idea to store them near a full-length mirror to make choosing the right one for your outfit much easier. I store ruanas on padded hangers as if they were long cardigans. Velvet or felted hangers are here. Padded hangers are here. Two cedar blocks are also visible in the photo below. I use cedar in my closet and my drawers to keep moths away. Shop for cedar items here.
Petite women may enjoy wearing smaller scarves tied to bags or draped simply around the neck to create vertical lines. Large scarves or those tied high at the neck near the face will overwhelm you.
I always keep the tie or fold of scarves above my bust, since I never want to add any volume to that area. If you have an apple shape, never let the knot of a scarf rest at the tummy.
Care for scarves according to the fabric content. Gently hand wash natural fabrics as needed and lay them flat to dry after rolling them up in a towel to absorb most of the water. Use a warm iron and steam to remove wrinkles as needed.
The colorful photo above is from my afternoon walk on Wednesday. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
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