It’s tempting to starting thinking of each scarf as being “married” to (or at least going steady with) a particular outfit that you own, and moreover, to always reach for the same scarf when you put on a favorite outfit. I do this often, and I’m trying to break out of this habit, and shake up my scarf/clothing combos a little bit. So I took one outfit that I wear a lot (this sweater is linen, so it can be worn through all but the hottest summer months) and tried to see how it would pair up with a variety of scarves.I show Hermes scarves here, but PLEASE bear in mind that this exercise is true of any scarves you own. Vintage from a thrift store, hand-crafted from a street fair, or heritage scarves that you have owned for decades – all are equally valid, and equally capable of finishing off an outfit to perfection.
The outfit is a simple pair of black pants, and a plain black tank top, from Eileen Fisher. My sweater is also from her, but no longer available, but it’s very similar to the sweater from Inhabit that I show here – asymmetric, textured, shows a bit of the hem of the tank under the hem of the sweater. It’s an outfit in which I’m very comfortable…
Normally, I’d wear this outfit with simple silver jewelry, my cool silver cap-toed oxfords, and my grey grey grey Jardin des Metamorphoses scarf:
When analyzed up close, the grey sweater is really a melange of black and white, so it seems obvious that a scarf that is primarily black and white, with some bright details, might work beautifully too. Some simple black loafers, and my signature pearl jewelry, and I’m good to go…
Everything so far has been sort of dark and serious, but grey is a great color with which to wear pastel colors. Pearls lighten things up too, and pewter ballet flats both complement the sweater, and keep the softer and more feminine theme going.
When you look at many of my scarves from a distance, with your eyes half-closed, you get a greyish “feeling” or sensibility from them. For no good reason that I can isolate, I’m really smitten with this scarf that has bright blue juxtaposed with shades of teal, and some dark silvery accents. Grey pearls are perfect with the dark silvery-ness in the scarf (and I’ve had this bracelet and these earrings for years!). Thin teal socks – just for the heck of it, and my ballet flats again… (although the pewter flats might be nice here, too…)
And finally, yet another one of my many Feux d’Artifice scarves, in plum and French blue. I’m a big fan of socks, and that little sliver of color is sometimes all it takes to make the scarf look “deliberate” rather than just a last minute “throw on.”
Now imagine the possibilities if I swap out my black pants for a simple, narrow black skirt… Or a soft mid-calf skirt, and some black boots… or…
Janice this is an interesting post as it puts FOOTWEAR in the firing line a bit. To really make this thing work you need to shake up accessories. What is your take on ESSENTIAL shoes without compromising either style or adding bulk to a core wardrobe ?
unrelated but how on earth do you flat lay these outfits ? do you use a particular software programme ? I'd love to do the exact same thing with my actual wardrobe so I can play around with it, print out the outfits that work and pinup in my wardrobe for reference.
Janice Riggs says
PowerPoint! Surprisingly versatile, with lots of tools for resizing, editing and arranging objects.
Did NOT see that one coming. New found respect for PP.
Me, too. Was expecting some fancy illustration software. There's hope for me!
This is indeed a great excercise, as I have too most often worn my scarves with certain outfits. Another plus of a basic wardrobe, right? The second and third scarves are becoming more and more the ones I am zeroing in on as my first H. purchases.
I was proud of myself yesterday. I must have seen this post coming. I wore the same outfit two days in a row (!) but changed my scarf. The first day I wore my Hermes (black) Les Clefs. The second day I wore my Hermes The Blues de Afrique (sp). Both looked great with a white tunic blouse, black slim pants and black flats. I own these scarves because of you and Duchesse!
Thanks, Susan! I too have many scarves that are not Hermès but none that are "in the style of Hermès": copies or "inspired by" look sad and are unsatisfying.
I have other scarves too, Duchesse. Among them as a Doncaster and a Worth NY scarf.
They are very pretty but not as beautiful as the Hermes scarves. But then, I have a gorgeous Chinese scarf given to me by my future daughter in law. While not quite as heavy as an Hermes, it is very bit as luxurious and beautiful. AND, depending on which direction you start the diagonal fold, the look is quite different.
I agree with you Duchesse. a scarf in the style of Hermes or copies would do nothing for me. The real thing is a piece of art and a thing of beauty. I love my three.
I also have scarves from Banana Republic, Talbots, etc–and enjoy them also.
Love how the whole tone of the outfit changes with the accessories. (Of course my favorite is the last one with the blue socks!)
There is a great online scarf store – headcovers.com. They have hundreds, if not thousands of large square scarves at extremely reasonable prices. Scarves come in silk as well as a nice lightweight cotton. I'm only recommending this site because the company was started by a cancer survivor to provide beautiful and practical headcoverings for women who experience hair loss due to medical reasons. Of course I hope no one in this community is in need of scarves for such a reason. Happily, you don't need a medical excuse to purchase one of their scarves and why not support a small business that helps those in need?
Janice, I hope this recommendation is not out of line. If it is inappropriate, please remove and accept my apologies.
Janice Riggs says
This is the most appropriate suggestion ever! I'm going to check out their site and do what I can to help promote their work also.
Anything that supports women and small business is something that I think most of us can get behind!
Wow, I visited the site and they have beautiful cotton woodblock scarves! And the prices are unbelievable.
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
I am so in love with these scarves! I wish I could find similar ones on the affordable side! The footwear in this post is perfect for me since I do not wear heels…and I love the first shoes! For me, I will put a Dr. Scholl's insert into all of my flats and then they are much more comfortable to wear and walk in. Great job as always, Janice!
I have really enjoyed following your blog and I've learned so much! I wonder if you would consider doing a post on how exactly you wear the scarves you show. I'm new to scarves in my wardrobe and though I love them they sort of get in my way when I'm working, or get tighter and tighter until they choke me and I have to constantly readjust them. I'm sure I'm not doing something right! I'd love some real life examples of how you wear / tie your scarves for everyday! Thanks!
I'll second that! I have become addicted to scarves since finding this blog, but I feel I don't get the most out of them because of having limited knowledged of how to wear them.
Coco Colmani says
Yes please, I too need advice about how to wear the scarves with different necklines – round, v-neck with shirt under, v-neck without shirt, inside or outside collar, etc. I have looked at Mai-Tai's site (which is full of ideas) but many of her scarves seem to be long and some of mine are not. If you could, dear Janice …
PS Hope the new life is going well – I'm delighted that you're going full time!
"I show Hermes scarves here, but PLEASE bear in mind that this exercise is true of any scarves you own. Vintage from a thrift store, hand-crafted from a street fair, or heritage scarves that you have owned for decades – all are equally valid, and equally capable of finishing off an outfit to perfection."
Thank you for mentioning this. Hermes scarves, while absolutely beautiful, are not within my budget, but I often find nice scarves at thrift stores, but somehow they don't seem nearly as glamorous as an Hermes. Ah well…
Glad to find I am not the only one who likes to mix gold and silver. I am still on the hunt for the perfect watch in silver and gold…
A real eye-opener. Thanks once again for a lot of inspiration and good common sense. Thanks to Virginia, too, for the scarf site.
Very nice combinations! If I may, I suggest peep toe shoes for warmer weather. I find they break up the solid line of trousers a bit and make the ensemble look more weather appropriate, not to mention feminine. I personally like a small peep toe with not much actual toe showing.
What's most amazing about this post is the way the perfect pair of socks makes the outfit–and everybody can afford socks!