What is it about a scarf that immediately adds chicness and has the ability to transform you into a woman of style and grace with a hint of European charm? I don’t know, but Parisian women don’t leave home without one.
Scarves in Paris are not about keeping one warm or covering up a turkey neck, although a scarf is undoubtedly a bonus in both of those cases. A scarf in Paris is about attitude. It’s a particular mentality. French women don’t just wear a scarf; they flaunt them. It’s about throwing on a scarf in just the right way as if to say to all of us tourists, “I am fabulous, you… not so much.” It’s confidence. What’s more, it’s as if French women came out of the womb wearing a scarf in just the right way. It’s innate and totally natural.
My clients tell me that scarves are intimidating — not to compare that insecurity with a more troublesome neurosis like, oh, say… fear of flying. It’s just that most of them do not know how to tie a scarf properly or how not to feel overly accessorized. So, I’ve put together a primer on how to wear a scarf. In short, how to wear a scarf with insouciance. Some basic dos and don’ts to help guide you to donning a scarf with confidence and panache.
Regarding the choice of a scarf, my motto is primarily “the bigger, the better.” Example of why right here: Two ladies, two black scarves, indeed. But, the one on the left is far more stylish! Now you know why.
You should always be able to wrap your scarf at least once around your neck without tightening and still have the remaining bits hanging loose on both sides, to the waist, or tucked in as pictured on the left.
Either let the ends of the scarf hang loose on your chest, throw it behind, or tie the scarf around your neck. Avoid wearing scarves that are not wrapped (or cannot be wrapped – that means it’s too small). Don’t wrap too tightly, or it appears as if you’re choking. And scarves that are too thin will not flatter and will look dated.
The scarf is right near your face and is one of the first things to be noticed in winter, so do not go cheap! If you wear a scarf, avoid synthetics and go for wool, linen, silk, cashmere… Trust me, a scarf is a good investment because you can wear it every day, and it will always fit you. So, it’s worth the splurge.
Black or neutrals (beige, grey, white, brown) are always classy. The good thing is that you cannot go wrong with those colors. They pair with anything and still give that extra twist to your outfit. Go a bit crazier by choosing bold colors. They’ll enlighten your face in the grey winter. Only a few rules for choosing the color (other than neutral):
Scarves should be fun, and you can have a wide variety of options. A winter coat can be very expensive, and a scarf, even a quality one, is cheaper. By owning a bunch of them, you will feel like you have a different black coat every day! And trust me, Parisians own a LOT! So, when it comes to patterns, you can be daring. Just follow the same rules as for colorful scarves above, and do not pair a patterned scarf with a patterned coat.
As a custom designer for over 30 years, I have dealt with all figure types. Your concern over how to wear a scarf when you are large-busted is a question I get quite often. It’s much easier to respond to that question when I’m working one on one. Proportion, height, length of neck, the width of shoulders all play into my scarf choices. But on a broad scale, let me suggest some features to consider when purchasing a scarf.
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Good luck with your future choices! Probably the most important thing to remember when wearing a scarf — wear it with attitude. Own it!