Style File: The Scarf
A couple of days ago in New York, Heidi Klum made a stylish statement wearing an oversize, knitted red scarf paired with a denim flare, black silk button down, long woolly coat and black suede boots with heels. It created an immediate fashion buzz and had everybody asking:
“Are woolly scarves in again?”
Scarves are as important as bags and shoes to women. It is the accessory that can make or break the look. The finishing touch to the daily fashion narrative. Many women feel naked when they’re not wearing a scarf and would never leave the house without one.
But where does this wardrobe essential come from and why is it such a basic piece?
It all started in Ancient Rome, where men working in the hot sun wore a sweat scarf, called “sudarium”, around their necks or on their belts to help them wipe away unpleasant perspiration. In Egypt, Queen Nefertiti also wore a scarf as a head wrap under her legendary headdress and it definitely looked more stylish.
In other news, soldiers in Ancient China were wearing scarves around their necks to show their rank.
But maybe the scarf entered fashion territory when Napoleon brought back beautiful cashmere shawls to Josephine from his travels to India,
In the beginning of the 20th century, the scarf slowly started to take the glamorous place it deserved and was immortalized by two famous women.
In the 30s, Amelia Earhart often wore gorgeous silk scarves with her flamboyant, flying attire epitomizing both elegance and independence in a time where women were still feeling like the fifth wheel. The iconic dancer, Isadora Duncan, immortalized the scarf in a tragic way when the beautiful, long silk scarf she wore around her neck became caught in the wheel of the car in which she was riding, killing her instantly.
Getting The Glam On
It was in 1937 that the first Hermès silk scarf, embellished with a stunning print, appeared in the fashion world. The iconic “Carré” started gaining notoriety when Grace Kelly, who loved the beautiful, artistic designs, introduced it to Hollywood by wearing numerous pieces, as a stylish head wrap, an elegant halter top or even a sophisticated sling for a broken arm.
From that moment on, the scarf’s reputation as a stylish and essential accessory kept on growing and hasn't stopped since then.
So many scarves, so little time.
There are as many scarves as a woman has moods. Just like shoes, they have become a wardrobe staple, whose stylish power cannot be denied.
The wool scarf, with or without fringes, is a delightful companion to face the long, dark winter days by adding cosiness to the gloomy season. It can be piled on over a coat, draped around the neck or slung over the shoulder. Either way, it ensures maximum warmth and protection for the wearer’s delicate neck.
The infinity scarf is a playful mate that exists in a variety of fabrics, such as wool, fleece, cotton or even silk, and can be worn all year long. Also called tube, eternity or loop scarf, it looks like an extended necklace and is worn as such or can be looped one or several times around the neck, depending on its length.
The cashmere scarf is the elegant counterpart of the wool scarf. Because of its timelessness and versatility, it is the preferred companion of men and women of style and can just pop out of a coat or jacket, bringing instant sophistication to an otherwise casual look.
The cashmere shawl or pashmina follows in its footsteps, adding an extra portion of fabulousness to any outfit. Swept over the shoulder with a LBD for the evening or a pair of jeans during the day, it is sure to infuse your wardrobe with style, no matter the occasion.
The silk scarf is one of women’s favorite fashion accessories. While the others provide protection during the cold weather, the silk scarf just wants to sit pretty and embellish your outfits.
It can have the shape of a triangle, but we’ll devote our attention to the original silk scarf, otherwise known as “le carré”, since most French women can give us a lesson in elegance when it comes to exploring the many ways a square scarf can be worn.
After all, Hermès has even created cards to ensure one knows the science of knotting the fashionable accessory down to a T.
Tying The Knot: Our Favorite Picks For The Silk Scarf
- 1. Around The Neck
The French Twist Knot: wrap the scarf around the back of the neck, loop the ends to the front and tie a loose knot on the side. Tighten the knot.The Neckerchief Knot: fold on the bias (the basic folding pattern that makes the square scarf into a long strip) and place on the back of the neck. Create a loop on one side, at equal distances between the neck and the end of the scarf, pull the other end of the scarf through the loop and create a loose knot, then tighten the knot.
- 2. As A Halter Top
Use a large square scarf and fold the scarf diagonally into a triangle, tie both upper ends around the neck and both lower ends behind the back.
- 3. As A Boho Head Wrap
Fold the scarf diagonally into a triangle, place the center on the middle of the forehead and tie the ends of the scarf on the back of the head in a loose knot. Tighten the knot.
Depending on the season, mood and occasion, the scarf can be made into a useful accessory, a simple embellishment, an outfit’s basic piece, a bag or even jewelry. Whichever way a woman chooses to wear it, it will always infuse her look with this little “je ne sais quoi” and often be remembered as one of her signature style trademarks.