Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Fashion Friday!: Got A Red Neck? How 'Bout A Scarf?


Cable Cowl Neck Scarf
Brooks Brothers $148
Lambswool & Silk Twill

           “I was starting to get aggravated last night when I thought about how I never make it through a fall season without forgetting to wear some of my fall weight coats. Somehow, I managed to amass this collection of great mid-weight outerwear, and it doesn’t get USED because I don’t go anywhere, and I spend all my time in puffer vests and North Face fleeces.” Talk about first world problems, THIS is how I opened my session with my therapist on Tuesday. Of all the more pressing, mood-affecting things I could have brought up, preparing my body for the temperatures between 32 and 65 was at the top of the list.
Yarnz "Floral Mosaic' Scarf
Nordstrom $110
Silk
 
Autumn might be my favorite time of year coming from an apparel and fashion standpoint. Scarves (!), gloves, tights, sweaters, puffer vests, jackets, socks, hoodies, fleeces, and warm bedding abound and get to be mixed and matched to provide just the right level of warmth. It is the time of year when I get reacquainted with my good friends Goosedown and Cashmere. And apparently it is also the time of year when I forget that I went on some sort of psychotic coat collecting binge over the past three to four years (maybe it took longer than that) and now have enough mid weight coats to wear a different one every day for more than a week. “Sell them!” I hear you say. NO! I like them all!
I don’t actually want to talk about jackets. I would like to talk about scarves. The right scarf can make your jacket look much more polished. And if you are wearing a silk scarf, or something lighter weight, it can add some punch to your entire outfit. I was a bit disappointed when I saw that high necklines were a trend for Fall 2012. I find turtlenecks unbelievably constricting. And given my broad shoulders, anything that comes up around my neck like a halter tends to make me look like I could be a member of the USA Olympic Swim Team. High necklines attached to long sleeves have a similar effect – broad broad broad. This broad doesn’t want to look broad.
Salvatore Ferragamo
Gancini Print Scarf
Bloomingdales $340
Silk
Solution? The scarf! I can take any sweater or shirt with a low cut neckline and add a scarf to give myself a higher neckline, while also providing either a color or textural contrast to break up that length from left to right. Bonus: it warms up your neck. While I was working at Ferragamo they taught us several ways to style “foulards” (that is a large square silk scarf, for those not in the know), such as folding it in a triangle and tying it in a knot on the side of your neck. The triangle could go in the front. It could be folded into a long rectangle and tied around the neck. They even suggested that you could take two of them, tie the corners together behind your neck, and then cross them over your knockers and tie the other ends around the back into a “shirt,” but I would never suggest that unless you were going for a high class honiform.
Psp11 Printed Scarf
Societe Anonyme $272
Silk
Whether you’re searching for a traditional long scarf to hang down from both sides of your neck or a foulard to tie up near the collar, you shouldn’t have to fork over an arm and a leg to get one. If you spend less, you can buy more of them. I have two requirements by which I choose scarfs: pattern and palatability. Do I mean eat the scarf? Geez, no. The fabric is next to your face, however, so it should be lusciously soft. You wouldn’t sleep in sandpaper pajamas. Don’t wear scratchy scarves. Understood?
A scarf from Hermes or Ferragamo or a small selection of the other French and Italian fashion houses will break the bank. You aren’t just paying for the name; they are of higher quality (though I do believe that with anything other than the two aforementioned, you will be overpaying for what you get). They are created with detailed silk screening processes, using different screens for each color, have hand rolled edges, use the finest quality silks, and are very well-blocked (that gives the scarf its shape). Also, most of them aren’t made in China. That being said, very few people would actually notice ANY of these details if you were wearing one of these scarves. By all means, if you see a beautiful foulard that you’ve fallen in love with its pattern, and you have the money to shell out to buy it, gift yourself. If you are just buying it because of who made it, you, my friend, are a label whore. There. I said it. When you fold the scarf up to put it on, half the time, you can’t even see the pattern anymore anyway! It turns into an abstract version of its former self.
Nordic Fairisle Scarf
Johnstons of Elgin $65
Extra Fine Merino


My recommendation is to head yourself over to your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls and start touching their selections. When your hands find something that feels good, see if you like what it looks like. Touch first; look second. That will ensure you don’t end up with something your cat wouldn’t even sit on. If you’re really that appalled by the discount store idea, go ahead and waste your money at the department stores. Nordstrom has a good selection, but be prepared to pay for it. An even better idea than the department store is to visit your local galleries. Fiber artists often have woven and dyed scarves for sale, especially at holiday times. The price may be on the higher end, but then it’s truly a piece of art.
My favorite way to wear a scarf, if only I could pull this off.
Before I leave you, I must address a pet peeve…. The infinity scarf. What about this scarf says infinity? It’s a circle. It’s a mobius. It’s a cowl. Can we stop calling it an infinity scarf already? It doesn’t make any sense. My shoes form an unending oval around my feet, but I don’t call them infinity shoes… infinity pant legs. Infinity underwear. Infinity socks. Infinity sleeves. Infinity…

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