I have to admit: I was initially skeptical of lesson three in Big Little Wolf’s fabulous French fashion series at Divorced Women Online. An entire fashion lesson devoted to scarves? Really?
But once I studied her advice and completed my homework, I was persuaded. According to Big Little Wolf, “[i]f you purchase just one accessory – make it a scarf,” one that is “versatile, vivacious, and you – whatever evolving and unfolding ‘you’ that means.”
Suffice it to say, the Wolf knows of what she speaks.
Whenever I think of scarves and style, I think immediately of dancer Isadora Duncan. Considered by some to be the creator of modern dance, Duncan had a thing for long, flowing scarves. She was tragically killed while traveling in Nice when her silk scarf became entangled in one of the wheels of the car she was riding in, breaking her neck.
My other prominent associations with scarves are the “babushkas” my Czech grandmother wore for the rest of the day after her weekly hair appointments and the traditional keffiyeh worn by some men in the Arab world (Yasser Arafat, perhaps most notably among them).
With all due respect to Isadora Duncan, Grandma, and Yasser Arafat, none of these was a model I was interested in imitating. Nor were Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, or any other of the young Hollywood starlets who seemed to be embracing scarves as part of their boho chic looks. (Interestingly, my grandmother hailed from the Bohemian region of what is now the Czech Republic; so she was boho before boho was boho.)
Also, my personal associations with scarves are wintry ones. In fact, my favorite all-time accessory is probably my winter scarf: a cashmere Burberry scarf I received years ago as a gift. I love the playful riff on the classic Burberry tan plaid. It’s classic, but with a bit of a youthful twist. Definitely a signature piece.
But even that beloved item gets cleaned and packed away for spring.
Try it; You’ll like it
Even with this handful and mind-full of doubts, I couldn’t quit now. Big Little Wolf had already guided me through a closet make-over, an exploration of my personal style (which I can now say that I have, thank you very much!), and a reintroduction to the power of perfume.
So off to my closet I went again and out came all of my scarves. The winter ones I cleaned and packed away. The small silk squares that I inherited from my Boho Grandma – which Big Little Wolf calls “a fashion don’t for most of us” – were wrapped in tissue paper and boxed. That left me with a small pile of pashminas that I had accumulated about ten years ago and never knew how to use and one other lightweight scarf I bought on a whim last fall and had worn only once or twice since.
Thanks to Big Little Wolf’s lesson, I looked at those pashminas in a new way. Instead of considering them appropriate for evening wear only, I held them up against my Gap basics and saw the potential for a posh addition to a pedestrian ensemble. Thinking of Wolf’s advice to invest in a “brilliant hue” to enliven the face, I considered adding a vibrant blue scarf to my wish list. The other scarf I removed from the closet and brought out to the living room – to let it see the light of day and to let me see it.
Then, yesterday morning, as I headed in to get dressed, I grabbed it and resolved to incorporate it into my outfit. My ensemble? Jeans, a long sleeve white T-shirt, simple hoop earrings, a spritz of White Musk, and the scarf.
Husband: “You look nice.”
Friend at playdate: “You look nice.”
Friend/dinner guest: “You look so nice.”
What I loved about wearing the scarf was how polished it made me feel with almost no effort. I didn’t feel like I was trying to be someone I’m not and it felt good to hear those compliments. (A side benefit for Tiny Baby? He loved getting to play with the tassels.)
And while it was certainly the scarf that made the outfit, people seemed to notice me rather than it – another boon for this still self-conscious style student.
Do you wear scarves? Do you have an accessory secret weapon that makes you feel good whenever you wear it?