Spruce it up with scarves

Women today have scarf stacked up in wardrobe

What was it that separates an ordinary outfit from a sensational one, the ho-hum from the high fashion? Accessories do. And nothing can beat the beauty and simplicity of using the scarf as an accessory.

When I spent two years out in Europe as a student, with no bank balance, what I learnt at super speed was, a change of scarf could make the same outfit look different even if worn everyday. Inventive ways of tying scarves offer women the opportunity to change a dress from a day to an evening look or to dress up an otherwise boring outfit. In today’s fast moving globalised world, an array of colourful scarves draped around a woman’s neck, with an otherwise plain dress or pants suit, is an ideal feminine tool for the always-on-the-go woman executive.
The scarf has been around for more than a hundred years, and comes in many styles from thin and delicate silks, to knitted, bulky winter warmers. For most of the scarf’s history, it’s been a utilitarian fashion accessory, primarily to keep a woman’s hairdo from being messed up while she travelled to her destination. What makes the scarf amazing is, its utility didn’t keep this item from being a fashion statement and is closely associated with all the big fashion houses in the world.

For the women of Paris, the scarf has been a standard wardrobe element regardless of age or economic status, and they are famous for their ability to knot, toss, wrap, tie, loop, fold, etc. in an amazing assortment of stylish looks.

Due to their sheer versatility, scarves have found their way into traditional dress across the globe. In hot, dry climates scarves are used to keep sand and sun off the face; in cold countries they are wrapped around for warmth. As a traditional head-covering, scarves have become a part of modest dress in many cultures. Scarves have long been used to signify allegiance, from military ranks and revolutionary movements to modern day sports teams and school uniforms.

Versatile
Along the way, people have realised that a scarf is a striking addition to any wardrobe. Scarves are a brilliantly versatile fashion accessory and, over the last century, have been part of some iconic fashions.

Fine silk scarves have a classic style associated with old Hollywood glamour. It was Greta Garbo, the enigmatic Swedish actress, who first made scarves a Hollywood accessory. She became known for wearing them with effortless style both on- and off-screen, adding more mystery to her reclusive allure. Over the decades, a headscarf became the fashionable way for ladies to protect their hair whilst riding in convertible cars. As only the wealthy could afford it, the headscarf became a discreet symbol of taste. In the forties and fifties, iconic actress Grace Kelly and Princess of Monaco made her clever way of tying a headscarf, a signature look associated with stylish women and effortless glamour.

The headscarf in particular continues to be a popular fashion item, from classic designer silk scarves and haute couture to winter wool and the long skinny scarves of college girl fashion of today.

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