Monday, February 18, 2008

Of Indoor and Outdoor Scarves

Growing up in Prince Edward Island, we knew winter well. We’d regularly have snow reaching up to the bottoms of our window sills and my father would “plug in the car” overnight, a fact that baffles many an American friend.

I love winter, not in the least because it enables me to wear winter scarves. Once I learned (a good number of years back) how to wear one properly (pull through the loop), I was all set.

Some of my favorite scarves are a pale fawn-colored silk pleated/crinkled scarf from Calvin Klein, a boisterous Oilily Fair-Isle-via-Sweden wool knit, and my grandmother’s lady-like Aquascutum cashmere check.

It’s my indoor scarves that I have a difficult time with. I quite like one way to wear an oversized square: Make it into a long column by folding it on the diagonal, then, beginning from the back, wrap it around your throat, twist in front, and tie it behind.

However, my silk scarves seem too bulky for this. I have a 1960s vintage Emilio Pucci in blues and aquas that is calling to be worn this spring, but I don’t want to feel as if I have a curtain (in terms of weight) around my neck. I do the wrap-and-twist with slender scarves that are already in a column, but my Pucci sits on a shelf, year after year.

(On a side note, how I loved the jewel-box Pucci shop on Madison Avenue, with its old world salesladies and chairs upholstered in the signature prints. I’d go there to get my fill of colorful luxury and then buy a hot dog from a street vendor. High and low mix well, you know.)

When I worked in New York, I decided to design some indoor neckwear to fill my sartorial gap, so I’d spend my lunch hours in the Garment District looking for fabric.

My goal was to design a scarf that didn’t require folding or fussing, one that used unexpected fabric (some gorgeous cotton sateen I found in a going-out-of-business European shop). I edged a pink-and-green sateen in burgundy velvet (too heavy but pretty); a printed cotton voile in lavender silk (ditto). A yellowish-gold-and-dove-gray sateen called out for green velvet, but I haven’t made the cut—yet.

I still have those fabrics, some ten years later. Perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, does anyone have any advice on wearing a silk twill square in a youthful, elegant manner?


a. said...

I wear an Hermes/Gucci/Moschino silk scarf almost everyday in the winter. I get all my ideas from the Hermes, "How to Tie a Scarf" book - also someone (who I can't recall at the moment) has a great blog as well that has all different ways to wear them.

miss cavendish said...

Thanks, a,

I've seen snippets of the Hermes book on the web. I'll look for the whole publication. Do you have any favorite styles?

K.Line said...

Here's what I like to do: Take the square and fold it diagonally. Then roll from the point to the ends so that it's at it's longest dimension. Fold this in half and put the loop part against one side of your neck. Then thread the ends through the loop around your neck. You can knot the ends through the loop if you are worried that the scarf may untie / fall off. This is really simple to do but complicated to explain... Sorry if it's entirely unclear, K

miss cavendish said...

Hi K.line,

This is exactly how I like to wear my winter scarves but haven't reied it with silk because of its slippery texture.

I'll fiddle with the knotting idea. Is it easy to bury/tuck in the ends? I really don't like ends popping out!

K.Line said...

Miss C: Tying the ends seems to minimize what you can see of them. The little knot just sits against the loop and holds everything in place. (I'm going to try to take a pic of this for my blog in near future...). Of course, the longer the scarf, the more ends that poke out. That can still look chic when a knot firmly holds the scarf.

enc said...

I used to tie mine in a bow at my neck. I do better with oblongs, though. Squares throw me off. I hope you'll show us some of the ways you wear yours.