Talk to me about scarves

by DaniGirl on October 15, 2009 · 24 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

I’m wearing a scarf today that I got for a tremendous discount at the end of last season at the Gap. It’s gorgeous, a creamy white in the centre that changes to a colour somewhere between tangerine and coral at the ends. I love how scarves look on other people, and really think they add a beautiful touch of flair to an outfit.

I don’t think I’m pulling this one off, though. No matter whether I loop it around my neck, or leave it dangling, or pull the two loose ends through the little loop at the other end in the jaunty way I’ve seen countless other women wear their scarves, it just doesn’t look right. It seems to add a lot of bulk right about where I don’t need any extra bulk. Are scarves for skinny girls only? Am I missing something?

Scarves seem to be a hot fashion item this year, not to mention endlessly practical in a climate that’s hovering right around the freezing mark as I type. Surely wearing one is not as complicated as I’m making it out to be. I’ve got a pretty comprehensive understanding of woolen scarves that you pull up to your nose to keep out the winter chill, but pretty silky scarves as accessories are apparently beyond me.

Help! How do I wear a scarf? Really, this is not rocket science. Is there a right or wrong way? Is there a current hip way versus the way your grandmother wore one? Why can’t I make this work?

And, for the rest of you who are as clueless as me, what other accessories leave you baffled?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cath October 15, 2009 at 8:48 am

You can totally pull it off – try it long and loose under your lapel if you know what I mean; or fold it in half, put it around the back of your neck and pull the long pieces through. (I’m a huge scarf fan but took a long time to not look like a bad 70s commercial with them on …)

2 Kathleen October 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

I’ve given up on them. I think they look great, but I am always too hot wearing them; I fuss with them too much; and certain little kids tend to grab them whether or not their hands are clean and pulling on them will choke the life out of me.
So, accessories are foregone for another indefinite period…
Maybe next year?

3 Roz October 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

I LOVE scarves and pashminas and wear them all the time. Almost all year too.

Personally, i like them bulky under my chin. Bulky, but loose. I start with one end of the scarf right at my chest. Then i start wrapping the “long” end around the back of my neck, to the front, and then around the back again. I loosly tie the two end together in the front (not a knot, just criss-cross tie) and then pull everything away from my face until it’s loose (and bulky!).

4 Annika October 15, 2009 at 10:03 am

I have to admit that scarves are my best accessory. They seem to work for me almost effortlessly. Is it because I am tall-ish, thin and practically flat-chested? Probably!

For me, Dani, it’s shoes. I am a complete moron when it comes to matching the appropriate style and heel length with any outfit.

I am sure that your scarves look beautiful on you, and you are just being too hard on yourself! Just make sure the rest of your ensemble is simple. I’ve always enjoyed a good scarf, with a plain long-sleeve form-fitting shirt, dark pants or jeans, long, flowing hair and dangly earrings.

Perfect for this time of year!

5 Hilary October 15, 2009 at 10:07 am

This is my area – scarves are my favourite cold weather fashion accessory! The scarf sounds gorgeous and I’m sure you can pull it off. The look Cath mentioned is called the Euro loop, or you can also loop around your neck once, twice and then pull it through the front. It’s all about keeping it long and loose, like she said. (And the right outfit to go with it is key – next time you see a “scarf look” you really like, make a note of what the wearer’s got on with it.) Also make sure the scarf isn’t a tricky length – there’s nothing worse than a scarf that’s a bit too long for two loops and hangs down too far.

Ummm, I think I’ve gone on about this long enough.

6 J. October 15, 2009 at 10:09 am
7 sky October 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

I’m the same. I’ve got scarves but can’t figure out how best to wear them.

8 p October 15, 2009 at 10:33 am

love scarves but do find that some work better than others … sometimes if a scarf ends up too bulky, it can help to first fold the width in thirds or fourths and then do the looping … others work well with no width folding first but just going for it … try it both ways. and echo others … i like them best with more simple outfits …rock it.

9 Kerry October 15, 2009 at 10:51 am

So… walk down two flights of stairs, turn right, and go talk to Caitlin. She knows from scarves. She was raised in Paris!

10 smothermother October 15, 2009 at 11:55 am

Love scarves, and it definitely isn’t a skinny girl thing. Maybe you love the scarve, but it doesn’t love you? Might be that the colours just don’t work for you around your face. Try with another scarf in a colour you know looks fab close to your face. I’m sure it’ll make you realise that you can pull a scarf off as well.

11 DaniGirl October 15, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I knew you would come through for me! J, that link is *perfect*!! Thank you!! I’m wearing my pretty scarf with a moderate amount of confidence now, in a loose ascot.

(Kerry, my first stop this morning was on the 4th floor – Cait’s on training. Boo!)

12 Marla October 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm

As I recall, and not that I stare – but your physique tends toward the busty, right? ; )

That, plus the length of your hair means there’s a lot going on in one particular area of your personal real estate – especially if your neck (like mine), is not particularly swan-like (I’ve never examined yours, really, but you do like turtlenecks…) and your age is um…closer to mine than it is to your average Gap model. If it’s the type of scarf I’m thinking of, it’s probably too much material there for all but those most willowy and having taut jawlines. You might want to make it narrower, by hemming it lengthwise, which leaves the colour where you want it and then wearing it with a shirt with a lower neckline that gives it a little room to be itself, more like this: or this: (upper left) Otherwise, the ways that have been previously mentioned ( or DO look just plain bulky, or sloppy ( or like one might encounter a sudden sandstorm or suddenly feel like a bandito (

Wear that scarf Dani – don’t let it wear you!

13 Christine LaRocque October 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I simply cannot pull off any sort of trendy sophisticated fashion, but I am not brave enough to try. So my theory is if you wear it with confidence and like it yourself, I bet it looks great!

14 Angela ( jhscrapmom) October 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm

funny. one of my girlfriend’s rocks scarves like no tomorrow…we call it scarflove;).
i am learning…maybe it is a busty thing that makes it a bit of a challenge…maybe you do not need a scarf if you have boobs???


15 colleen October 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Who knew that something that was meant to brighten your day could cause so much angst! You are a very attractive lady and the scarf will add some flair if you are comfortable wearing it.

16 Amber October 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I am hopeless at accessorizing. Totally hopeless. I see other people with hats / scarves / belts / jewelry and think it looks great. I buy the same items for myself, and try to wear them in the same way. But somehow, it just doesn’t look good on me. Oh well, the baby would probably just rip it off of me anyway, right?

Good luck with your scarf quest!

17 Jen October 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Great suggestions from everyone! I cannot accesorize to save my life, or pull it off on the rare occasions that I try!

Then again, we’re our own worst critics – you probably rock that scarf 🙂

18 Mary Lynn October 15, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I cannot for the life of me wear a scarf. I just feel silly when I have one on…like I’m playing dress-up. A woman I work with wears gorgeous scarfs and always looks wonderful wearing them. I think scarves are just not ME.

19 Carly October 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Here’s another link for you (complete with video), from one of my favourite (present company excluded) bloggers. Big Mama will walk you through some scarf tips and tricks and you’ll be the expert we all run to for advice in no time.

As far as accessories that leave me in a quandry (sp?), I’d have to go with boots when worn more for decorative reasons than practical ones. I just can’t seem to do it right.


20 Sharon October 15, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I wear scarves and preferre them to a necklace. I can’t wear those puppies and make it look like I’m trying to be something I’m not. Scarfs are artsy fartsy enough for me and I have a number now. I do not buy too bulky and I make sure they are long so I can wear them a number of ways. I always buy colours that I KNOW look good on me. Black,brown, Fushia, Deep Blue. And I wore my teal blue one all summer. Cold in them there buildings on campus. It was a great way to keep warm without looking like I was trying to keep warm. (or like an old lady who needs a shawl) Show us a picture and then we can give more advice than you need.

21 Haley-O (Cheaty) October 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Hmm… How to describe it in a comment? I know that in Europe, they fold it in half, then wrap it around the neck and insert ends into the loop/fold…. KWIM? No? Oh well. I tried!

22 coffeewithjulie October 16, 2009 at 8:54 am

Hi Dani! I see that you’ve already received tons of great advice.

I have only two things to add: (1) I think the “chesty” thing that some of your commenters mention is true. When I’m pregnant, my breasts are enormous and I can’t wear scarves at all. But the rest of the time, I’m flat chested and they work fine thrown on in any ol’ way. (2) My absolute fave way of wearing scarves is actually in my hair. It pulls the hair off your face for an elegant look and can really add some “pizazz” to a simple outfit. The long tail left over after tying a tight know behind the back of your neck gets pulled over one shoulder and just lies flat.


23 kgirl October 16, 2009 at 8:57 am

I love scarves, but could not get them to look as hip as other people – true to my peter pan nature, I did not want to rock a MOM scarf. So I went to the expert – my 23-year old hipster sister – and now I think I look pretty darn good.

24 mamatulip October 16, 2009 at 9:15 am

I never knew how to wear scarves until my MIL showed me how she wears hers. She takes her scarf and folds it in half, then puts that around her neck so she’s got one end with two ends and the other is a loop. KWIM? She takes the two ends and shoves them through the loop and voila! Scarf! That’s how I wear almost all of my scarves now.

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