This is not your typical scarf-tying tutorial.
For one thing, I kind of stink at scarves. I’m better at talking than I am at tying. Yes, I know. I’m a stylist. But scarves have never been my thing. And over the last few years, I’ve discovered why.
Scarves can be stuffy, and unflattering, and impractical. (No, I’m not talking about the cozy winter variety here, but the decorative silk kind).
I mean, who really wants a piece of clothing that can be tied in 6 million different ways and that requires a PhD in knot-tying and silk-draping? I don’t quite trust people who tell you that a scarf can be artfully tied into a top or worn as a proper skirt.
Who is actually doing this? In real life?
Have you tried taking a flimsy piece of silk and wearing it as a blouse? Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I like my clothes to be stitched together so they don’t, you know, fall off.
But before you wonder why I’m going on and on about an accessory that I dislike, let me continue.
Scarves can also be chic and cool and timeless and add a unique accent to an outfit.
The difference is in the details. In today’s video, I share what to look for when choosing a flattering scarf, and what to avoid.
Choose Your Colors
A scarf is typically worn close to your face, so getting the color correct is critical. The most versatile and flattering scarf has 3 or more colors that are flattering to your personal coloring. That’s one of the reasons I’m so obsessed with the new scarf collection from my friend Maree. These scarves are designed to flatter each of the color codes.
A scarf can also help you pull off colors that are less than flattering by keeping your best colors close to your face, where they count the most. So, in my case, I could wear a blush top more easily if I paired it with a scarf in more flattering shades.
You can find all of my favorite scarves in my Accessories Catalog.
Choose Your Scale
Choose a scarf that is in proportion to your overall frame. For example, a small square silk scarf is typically 15-20″, while a medium is 24-28 inches and a large is about 32-40 inches. So, as a petite person, go for a scarf on the smaller end of that range. If you’re tall and/or broad shouldered, go for a larger scarf.
Another rule of thumb is that your scarf should be no longer than your wingspan (which actually translates to your approximate height).
This illustration from Aithne shows the difference between a small, medium, and large scarf (left to right) on the same bust.
What you want to avoid is the look of a scarf that swallowed you up.
Choose Your Point
The next thing to determine when choosing a flattering scarf is whether you have a lot of space from the base of the neckline to the middle of the bust, or a little. The more space you have to work with, the more theatrical you can get with your scarves.
If you have a short space there, or a big bust taking up that space (see pic below), then you might want to stick to a neck scarf, or wear a scarf in another creative way (see next point).
The Fashion Fit Formula offers a mathematically accurate and foolproof way to determine where your neckline, necklace, and scarf should end for maximum flattery.
If you’re still not sure whether a scarf classically worn over the shoulders or around the neck is a good look for you, or if you just want to experiment with other scarf-tying options, there are several other chic ways to wear those lovely silk scarves.
One of my favorite ways to wear a scarf is as a kimono, although I usually buy my kimonos pre-made, as in this lovely new style from Maree.
This clever little illustration and post shows you how to take a favorite oversized scarf and turn it into a kimono of your own.
So now that I’ve shared some of my top scarf strategies and solutions with you, I’d love to hear your thoughts? Are you a scarf wearer? And what’s your favorite way to style a scarf? Let me know in the comments!