Scarves are one of my favourite items of clothing. A scarf can instantly add colour, pattern, texture and personality to an otherwise plain outfit. Here are some essential styles that you should collect when building your wardrobe.
1. The Rectangular Scarf
|Friperie St-Laurent, Montreal|
Rectangular scarves are probably the most comment type of scarf. Choose a voluminous fabric that will add dimension to your outfit. Rectangular scarves are flexible and easy to wear because they come in large variety of fabrics, colours and patterns. Look for solid colours that are flattering against your skin tone (bottom) and small patterns that won't overwhelm your face (top). Pick light, gauzy fabrics so that you can wear them year-round. Wear with: Pretty much anything! Try slim-fitted bottoms, bold earrings and a blazer; avoid necklaces. Recommended: The Felicia Scarf from Club Monaco (find it here) or this more affordable version from Old Navy (find it here).
2. The Square Scarf
|Farmer's Market, Paris|
Square scarves are super versatile, since they can be worn folded over into a triangle (bottom) or loosely wrapped around the neck (top). Experiment with bigger, bolder patterns since there is less fabric to work with. Florals are particularly eye-catching. Light cotton materials are best since they wash easily and transition well from summer to fall, but silk is also a nice option. Wear with: Try pairing it with a summer dress, knit stockings, a cardigan and riding boots. Recommended: Patrol local farmer's markets to find hand-made versions. For a scarf similar to the blue one above, check out this option from AE (find it here).
3. The Pashmina
|Friperie St-Laurent, Montreal (via of my mom's closet :D)|
The pashmina originated in Kashmir as a traditional cashmere shawl, but the term is now used more broadly to apply to rectangular wool or wool-blend scarves with fringed ends. These scarves are perfect for fall and winter months, since they are both warm and stylish. Pick rich colours that suit your skin tone and experiment with monochromatic patterns (below). Wear with: Try pairing this style with jeans, ankle boots and a fitted sweater for a cozy fall look. Recommended: Since pashminas are very on trend right now they are available in the accessories section of most major stores. For an authentic version check the label to be sure it is made with pashmina cashmere and that it comes from South Asia.
4. The Silk Scarf
|Monastiraki flea market, Athens|
Last but not least, there is the silk scarf. This style can be a bit tricky. To avoid looking like a stewardess, keep the scarf long and loose (above) or bib-wrap it around your neck. Since these scarves are so thin, go ahead and experiment with stripes, florals, animal print and other patterns, just be sure to keep the rest of your outfit understated. Wear with: Silk scarves look great over a long pea coat in the winter or with a simple sheath dress in warmer weather. Recommended: Try this monochromatic print at Forever 21 for a fun, affordable version (find it here).
The scarf is your closet's facelift. Although this selection is by no means comprehensive, these four styles will help you makeover your existing wardrobe. Scarves can instantly add colour, texture and pattern to an outfit and they can be worn year-round. Take your time and search for the perfect scarf in box stores, vintage shops and flea markets to find a unique piece that represents your personal style.
Now go out and build your ideal wardrobe!