Thursday, June 05, 2014

Choosing a Scarf: A Black and White Hermes

It was a great question - thanks for sending it on - "I want an Hermes scarf in black and white, but there are SO MANY of them - how do I choose?"  Note that she also let me know that she's pretty committed to a strict black and white wardrobe...

I've chosen these six scarves to use as our possible purchases. I strongly encourage you to click through and admire the details on these scarves if you have the time.  There's a reason that these scarves are so terribly expensive - they are exquisite.

six black and white Hermes scarves Spring 2014

For illustrative purposes, I'm going to use a couple of simple outfits - a very neutral black dress, and a white silk blouse and black silk pants.

black dress, white silk shirt and black silk pants
Stretch wool dress – Theory,  stretch silk blouse – Jaeger, silk pants – 3.1 Philip Lim

The first scarf, Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus, feels soft, fluid, and feminine.  So if you wanted to consider this scarf, you might be a person who likes the emphasis on the floral, and on the softly silver and rose highlights of the scarf.

Hermes Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus with a black dress and related accessories
Silver floral earrings – Neha, bracelet – Kenzo, scarf - Hermes Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus sunglasses – Givenchy,  wristlet – Nina, pumps – Ninastretch wool dress – Theory

This scarf really would suit someone who adores the graphic, op art, and angular/woven nature of a black and white wardrobe.  Pleated earrings, woven bracelets, and a few extra stripes...
Hermes Maillons de Joel Stein with a white blouse, black pants, and related accessories
Folded leather earrings – Giulia Boccafogli, stainless steel bracelet – Max and Chloe, bag – Brahmin, scarf - Hermes Maillons de Joel Steinsunglasses – Westward Leaning, flats – Dorothy Perkinsstretch silk blouse – Jaeger, silk pants – 3.1 Philip Lim

This scarf might be for someone who likes angularity with a world art aesthetic - crafted, natural materials, and a relaxed sense of being ready to hit the road at any time.

Hermes Ors Bleus d'Afrique with a black dress and related accessories
Earrings – Warren and Robbin, bracelet – Carmen Anocibar, bag Tumi, scarf - Hermes Ors Bleus d’Afriquesunglasses – Ray-Ban,  flats – Isolastretch wool dress – Theory

The difference between this scarf and the first one is subtle, but this scarf shows a rectilinearity the suggests a fondness for squared-off shapes. The small details in the scarf are suited for someone who likes subtle details - the woven textures in the jewelry and sandals show this.

For what it's worth, if I were buying another scarf, this would probably be my choice! (why yes, I do have a birthday soon...)
Hermes Chasse en Inde with white silk blouse, black silk pants and related rose accessories
Earrings – YooLa, necklace – YooLa,  bag – Longchamp, scarf - Hermes Chasse en Indesunglasses – Guess,  sandals – McQ Alexander McQueenstretch silk blouse – Jaeger, silk pants – 3.1 Philip Lim

To me, this scarf is perfect for someone who uses a simple black and white wardrobe as a springboard for bold accessories, including animal prints and vivid colors. If you like the feel of warm natural materials, this would be the scarf to choose.

Hermes Casques et Plumets with a black dress and rich golden yellow accessories
earrings -  Guillermo, bracelet – Ila Suleyman,  bag Diane von Furstenberg, scarf - Hermes Casques et Plumetssunglasses – Maui Jim,  sandals – Golden Goosestretch wool dress – Theory
The last scarf under consideration is a sort of whimsical representation of racing cars, with bright accent colors.  The design is a reprint from years ago (maybe the 70's?).  For the woman who likes to accent black and white with red details, and who enjoys the relaxed mood of this pattern, this would be the scarf to choose.

Hermes Bolide with a white silk blouse, black silk pants, and red accessories
Earrings – Toosis, watch – Anne Klein, tote bag – Jaunt, scarf - Hermes Les Bolides sunglasses – Givenchy, sandals – Carritzstretch silk blouse – Jaeger, silk pants – 3.1 Philip Lim



  1. I wonder how you could have possibly helped your reader making a selection. You certainly made me want each one of them. Simply gorgeous. :))

  2. I Love black and white clothing combinations and I wear my Hermes black and white scarf more often than all my other Hermes colourful ones! I like some of these newer patterns too but cannot buy one until I travel to Paris next year.
    You always amaze me with your creativity with clothing combos and I like to imagine what interesting ensembles you put together for yourself. Perhaps you'll show us some images at some point. I know I would enjoy seeing some.

    1. You'd be amazed at how boring my clothes are from day to day - black on black with lots of pearl jewelry. After I've looked at thousands of pieces of clothing and accessories all day, I just want to wear something extremely simple. Give me another year and I will have someone make me a rack of black dresses and that will be it!

  3. An incredible demonstration of the versatility of a black and white scarf, Hermes or not. I never stop marveling at how on earth you do this!

  4. I LOVE this articulation of why I feel the way I feel and think the way I think about particular designs/looks. It's usually easy for me to pick (in the first graphic) which one I like best (and least, and second best, etc.) but not the WHY that is. Then when you break it down, I find myself nodding, why YES, that IS what I like/don't like.

  5. Simply amazing. Your blog is always THE highlight of my email!

  6. Those are all gorgeous - my favourite is the Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus but there is no way I will ever spend anything like that much on a piece of clothing!

    I've got a black and white small leopard print scarf which has been really useful. Black and white prints go with pretty much anything.

  7. Hi Janice! I have just stumbled upon your blog today and have purchased a couple of the worksheets already! Can you please suggest a couple of good posts to get me started with your concepts?

  8. I am just finding this post, and I think that a similar one would be great if you're ever casting about for subjects! I love how the feel of the accessories changes with each scarf, even with the same basic items of clothing. - nancyo