Ok, it’s almost Christmas. You still don’t have your shopping done, nothing’s wrapped, Christmas cards aren’t sent (hey, if they get out by New Year’s you’re doing better than me!), and to top it all off, you’re invited to several holiday parties and can’t buy a new outfit for each one. So, how do you glitz up what you already have and/or create a new look? I have a one-word answer for you: scarves! (Dress & matching stole from collection of Raffaella Curiel)
My favorite quote in the whole world comes from Olympia Dukakis in Steel Magnolias: “
The only thing that distinguishes us from the animal kingdom is our ability to accessorize.” Scarves, pashminas, stoles, and wraps are fantastic accessories you can use over and over again. With a relatively small investment, you can look fabulous for any number of parties the holidays can throw at you.
Lemme ‘splain the basics of scarf style:
The Long Rectangle
Run, do not walk, to the nearest mall or shopping outlet and get yourself a long metallic mesh scarf, with or without fringe. They come in many colors, but you can do wonders with a black one shot through with gold, copper, or silver.
My own favorite one is the black and silver variety, and I like it so much I’ve been accused of accessorizing my nightie with it. Besides merely draping it over your shoulders, try this look if you are wearing something simple in color and style: (Dress & matching scarf from collection of Raffaella Curiel, hair by L'Oreal)
Make a “necktie” knot in the scarf and then turn it around so that it drapes like a necklace in front, and the ends dangle down your back. This look has movement, style, and the added benefit of being dramatic and unusual.
Using the same type of scarf, cross it over one shoulder and drape it so that one end hangs down in front, and one in back.
Secure it on your shoulder with a glittery pin, and you have yet another unusual and stylish look. (Dress & scarf from collection of Raffaella Curiel, hair by L'Oreal)
The Big Square
This is another fun and versatile scarf choice. If you are wearing something strapless or with tiny straps, here’s a great “jacket” you can make with a light-weight scarf:
Fold the square scarf in half with the fold facing you. Now tie the ends of the unfolded side together, making a tiny tie. Repeat on the other side. Pick up the scarf and put it on just like you put on a coat. Place your arms through the “sleeves” you’ve just made; the ties will be on your shoulders. It makes a cool little drape-y jacket for your dress. (Dress & matching stole from collection of Raffaella Curiel)
Try this one as well: fold the square into a large triangle. Place the scarf over your shoulders with an end over each shoulder, and the point of the triangle hanging down your back. Make the good old Girl Scout knot in front (you know: right over left, tie; then left over right; tie).
Now pull the whole deal around so that the knot is on one shoulder, and the point now drapes prettily over your other shoulder. It’s a neat look, and you can fluff it up depending upon the scarf material.
Who knew these would come back in fashion? A stole is basically a long, thin rectangle of material, generally in satin, silk, fur, or velvet; something fancier than your usual scarf. However, they are making some now that are every bit as dressy in sequined or beaded silks, with or without fringe, in gorgeous colors.
Pick one to compliment your outfit, and wear it draped across the middle of your back, the ends handing casually (how casual? Well, imagine yourself strolling down the red carpet to the Academy Awards wearing one over your designed-just-for-you gown by Armani. You get the picture.) over the bends of your elbows.
If you have a light stole that is silk on one side and satin on the other, you can do the back-to-front thing here as well: hold the stole in front of you, with sides of equal length hanging down.
Twist the stole a few times so you get the shiny-matte-shiny look, and place it around your neck so that the ends fall down your back. Very sexy with a low-backed dress!
The wrap is a very large scarf, usually one you could wear over a winter coat. In climates where the weather is only slightly cool at night, you can also wear these in place of a coat.
The standard wrap over a dress is pretty easy, but looks great: fold the wrap into a triangle or a square. Drape it over your shoulders, and then throw the left end back over the right shoulder (or do it the other way—I’m left-handed). If you stage your entrance just right, it will look like you’re unwrapping a package (you!!) when you take it off.
Now, here’s the standard Hollywood take on the stole, if you’re brave enough (or rich enough so that you don’t care): whatever your stole is made of; silk, satin, fur, velvet, beads, bumblebee wings, etc., just walk in to your party dragging the whole thing on the floor. Very Hollywood. Oh yes, and look snotty, too.
So, there you have it. The most neat, complete fashion feat for the holidays is our old pal, the scarf. You can get away with wearing the same little black dress over and over again with new scarves or wraps, and nine times out of ten what people will remember is the scarf!