Friday, December 28, 2012

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with a Scarf: Hermes Reve de Corail

I get LOTS of questions about what to wear with scarves - many people seem to feel that they're not wearing their scarves as often as they should.  So I'm going to walk you through what I think of, when I see a scarf for which someone wants suggestions.

First, the obvious way to wear a scarf - match the colors!  Wearing a scarf with two differently colored garments can make it clear that this ensemble wasn't an accident.

Scarf – Hermès Reve des Corail, sweater – French Connection, white jeans – Acne, suede loafers – Tod’s, white shirt – Frank & Eileen, red velvet jeans – J. Crew, shoes – Converse Chuck Taylor

Next, it's always easy to wear almost any scarf with black!  The addition of another accessory in a similar color ties it all together.

Scarf – Hermès Reve des Corail, shoes – Pas de Rouge, quilted bag – Chanel, sweater – Peter Jensen, leather skirt – Marc by Marc Jacobs, boots – Acne, bag – Jil Sander

Moving just a bit further afield, I think of what other neutrals are obvious with the primary color of the scarf - in this case, grey and navy are easy choices of happy color contrasts with the red and white of the scarf.  As I always do, I toss in another red accessory to show that this choice was part of a plan, and not just an afterthought.
Scarf – Hermès Reve des Corail, sweater – Organic by John Patrick, grey flannels – Jaeger, leather bracelet – Balenciaga, grey loafers – Marc by Marc Jacobs, cord bracelet – Sabrina Dehoff, navy dress – Tory Burch, sandals – K. Jacques

My last thought will be of more non-traditional neutrals - warm colors that look great with a touch of red...
Scarf – Hermès Reve des Corail, earrings – Baccarat, taupe dress – Calvin Klein, pumps – NineWest, earrings –, tee shirt – La Garconne, suede skirt – Ralph Lauren, boots – Giuseppe Zanotti


  1. I like wearing scarves and will almost daily as soon as the temperatures cool down. My long neck (I'm part giraffe) always is chilled and even a small square seems to do the trick. The brown and red is especially pretty.

  2. I love these looks, particularly the red and white. So cheery! I also really love the navy and the brown ensembles.

  3. Thank you Janice, this is helpful in showing how to think beyond matching. It makes even a two-colour scarf very useful across a range of clothes. And the tip about adding another accessory, however small, to the non-matching but toning clothes opens up all kinds of options. I enjoy all your illustrations here and, like Cornelia, particularly the brown and red - definitely couldn't have thought of that for myself.
    I'd love to see your scarf collection some time!

  4. Hi Janice,
    Thank you for making your thought process visible to us. The other aspect I have picked up from you is how you take the attitude or feelings in the scarf, inspirational painting etc and use that in the type of clothing/accessories you select. very subtle but effective.

    Deb from Vancouver

  5. I've really gotten into wearing scarves this year and that is mostly because of you! I've become pretty good at tying the oblong ones in several ways, with help from a great YouTube video as well (wendy's look book).

    I'm much less successful at tying the silk squares and you show so many of them. I'm wondering what size yours are? Mine are 36 inch squares and the ones she demonstrates on the videos I think are bigger than that. Is 36 inch considered small?

    It would be great if you could show us some pictures on ways to tie them, since so many of the ones you show are the square kind. Thanks!

  6. HI Janice, I have found all your posts so helpful and have learnt so much about colour coordination. I recently bought a Hermes scarf on Ebay - the gris, sepia and brun L'arbre de vie. I had expected it to be all greys and perhaps some white and black. It however has quite a bit of brown. I have lately been trying to keep my colours to greys, blacks, whites and blues as I am a blue eyed 60 yo going grey. I have been told that colours in the blue spectrum are my best look but now wonder how to use this new scarf. I would be thrilled if you would consider doing a spread on wearing this scarf for me. Warmest wishes to you and many thanks for your lovely posts which I look forward to daily. Jen

    1. If you have a photo of the scarf, or if you can send me a link to a photo, (, I'd be happy to tackle your new scarf!

  7. Thanks to your posts, I found all of the items in the common wardrobe hiding in my closet. Then I inherited a box of scarves from my mother and I've been having lots of fun playing with accessories. I've found that just about any scarf, regardless of color(s) or pattern will look good with any of the common wardrobe combinations. The suggestion to add another bit of the predominant color really makes me feel pulled together and stylish. Thanks so much for helping me find a whole new wardrobe that I didn't even know I had!!!

  8. Happy New Year Janice, Ilove the idea of using a small accessory so that the look is thought through. I wouldn't have thought of that but it's brilliant.

  9. Glad to see that even such a fresh looking scarf like white/red can work with both taupe, and even chocolate brown. I learned something. It is so true that just repeating the colour somewhere else makes it look purposeful.