A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!



Continuing our exploration of polishing up our act, it's the turn of the scarf today. Yes that oblong scrap of material that many of us reach for every single day and can quite literally transform an outfit. That be 'the power of the scarf'.

I'm going to ask you one question though. Why do YOU wear a scarf? To complete an outfit or to keep warm? This never fails to make me laugh as it is such a give away with regards to style personality (find yours out here). True Naturals (that's women who prefer casual, comfy clothes) without a doubt always answer, to keep warm. And there's nothing wrong with that at all, this psychology stuff just fascinates me.

Regardless of your reason for wearing one, a scarf quite simply is the very best tool in your whole kit. Why? Well not only does it bring an outfit together, it's also brilliant as rescuing tops and jackets that perhaps aren't your best colours. Take black for instance, for some of us, it can be overpowering and drain our natural skin colour. But hey, who hasn't got a black dress, top or jacket in their wardrobe? Put on a scarf in a colour that makes your skin glow and suddenly that black top is actually ok. I call it rescuing an outfit. Back in my days of working with clients decluttering their wardrobes, believe it or not, we threw very little away. Providing the garment was a good fit, it stayed and I'd suggest a few 'rescue colours' by way of scarves.

A scarf can be worn as a contrast to an outfit. In this example we see a duck egg blue against black and white.

ASOS Pieces Oversized Square Scarf £15

Alternatively, it can be worn tonally, that is when you wear two colours of a similar depth together. Here we can see grey and mint green which are very similar in contrast.  I'm not keen on this scarf personally by the way, it's merely a good example of tonal dressing.

New Look Grey Aztec Print Fluffy Scarf now £3

Generally Softs and Lights look better dressed tonally. The other palettes can do contrasts (and Clears should ALWAYS do contrast). But either way, they can be used to create a stunning effect to what could be quite a plain outfit.

There are hundreds of YouTube videos showing how to tie scarves. I'm not going to go down this route as these days, I prefer a simpler style. Gone are my days when I avidly watched videos and tried to copy the knotted necklace, the rolled loop (cringe) and finish of by making a really useful summer hammock (what the...?). Back in the day, I remember feeling very proud when demonstrating the classic Colour Me Beautiful fishtail knot (double cringe)!!!

That said, I'd like to point out a couple of adjustments that you might want to take on board.

Please tell me what this is...

I mean it isn't really doing the job is it. My Grandad had a silk scarf with tassels that he would tie like this. I don't want to look like my Grandad! I'm seriously considering petitioning parliament to ban the 'European Loop' (that's the knot style by the way, nothing to do with dodging taxes in Brussels).  Isn't it better to choose something in a slightly thicker cotton, wrap all the way around the neck, bring the ends to the front and tie loosely??

The other point is really a refinement. A blunt edge at the hem of the scarf can cut your torso up, reduce your height and make you look bigger than you really are.

See here...

New Look Yellow & Brown Leopard Print Scarf £9.99

I mean, look where the end of the scarf is. If you carry your weight around your middle, the blunt finish rests in this area. Hmmmmmm, not a good look.

Far better to grab a corner of your scarf so that when you wind it around your neck, the bottom finishes at a point which really does work the verticals and actually lengthens the scarf a good few inches too.

Here's me attempting to do a demo...

And here is a real life person wearing her 'points'

ASOS Stripe Scarf In Naturals £16

Can you see how the end of the scarf is pointing downwards (as oppose to the one above) which elongates the torso instead of cutting it up.

For women carrying their weight at the bust, you might want to consider totally working the verticals by leaving it loose as I have below. The more clutter and fuss you have 'up top', the bigger you'll look.  OK it isn't going to fulfil a Naturals desire to keep warm but at least you'll look stylish!!

And yes it was p*ssing it down with rain when I took these photos. The brolly wasn't a prop.

There are probably only 3 ways I wear my scarves these days:

1. Wound round and round my neck until you run out of length, then tuck in the ends (best saved for thicker or winter weight scarves)

2. Looped once around my neck similar to the grey ASOS one above

3. Hooked around my neck and left to drape (as in the above photo)

Here are some photos of Avril over at School Gate Style who we often see wearing scarves.

Here she's wearing a striking blue scarf to bring interest to what is quite a plain outfit of blue jumper and jeans. This is a great example of tonal dressing by the way. Oh and she's doing the point 'thang'!

And here, a pop of red in the pattern really brings this outfit to life.

One of my favourite looks of Avril's EVER. I love all the different grey tones. It would be a great outfit without the scarf given the detail on the coat and long necklace but the scarf gives it that extra oomph. Love the way she's tied it.

And finally a contrast bright pink leopard print brings the cream jumper and jeans to life. Knowing Avril, I'm sure she was itching to put a stronger colour on top of the cream jumper as it's possibly not powerful enough on it's own and she may have felt drained without the scarf. You have to admit, it looks fabulous (and she matches the door).

Of course Avril looks nothing like this anymore, she'll probably kill me for using old photos.

Avril, I royally pronounce you Queen Of Scarves.

And here are 5 of my favourite scarves out at the moment.

ASOS Oversized Scarf With Aztec Trim £15

A brilliant summer scarf (I think you can make a hammock with this one)

Zara Printed Scarf £15.99

So utterly 70s, so utterly gorgeous

Mango Tassel Ethnic Scarf £17.99

Oh the tassels!

ASOS Oversized Triangle Scarf in Black Aztec £18

Now this is a new one for me - a triangle but draped over one shoulder - I likey-like.

Hush Spanish Dancer Scarf £45

Also comes in gorgeous orange trim (I'm waiting for a discount code)

Scarves are of course low cost ways of injecting colour and refreshing your wardrobe each season. They also provide versatility. Let's say the only thing you owned in the world were

2 tops
2 jackets
4 scarves
(plus bottoms obvs)

Each top could be worn with each jacket, so that's 4 outfits. Then factor in the scarves and I make that 16 outfits (and that's without even thinking about wearing a top and scarf without the jacket). Loads of options for a relatively small investment. I could never work out how many people were going to St Ives either.

I ramble.

In summary, a scarf is a really versatile animal that can tie (pun) an outfit together to propel it (and you) to the next level.

Is that it? Have we exhausted scarves? Let's do jewellery next time.

Hope you found this of interest.Remember, it's only my ramblings and I'm sure you have your own tried and tested methods. Anyway, do please share your tips but let's not go down the fishtail knot route.

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    1. Thanks so much Angela. I have a few more up my sleeve too x

  2. Loving these posts that you're doing, they're so helpful, hope you're doing more! Xx

  3. Just goes to show what a difference a scarf can make to an outfit Donna! Both you and Avril show us how it's done perfectly! xx

  4. Do you know what Michelle, I was surprised that I had very few photos of me wearing a scarf. I thought I wore them more than I actually do (or maybe I forget to take pictures). I've resolved to wear them more x

  5. WOW, that's a good post for scarf lovers - I am one!
    I can't stand a cold neck. I tie in one way and it's the only way for me!
    I do love the oversized blanket scarves.

  6. What a great post, I had never thought about the straight ends of a scarf before....I shall take my time next scarf wearing day, and think of this! xx

    1. It really does make a difference. I was looking at some old photos a while ago and realised! x

  7. Super post! I can see why you needed a lie down ... that must have taken you ages! I sniggered when yiou asked why we wore scarves ... funnily enough, warmth wasn't top of my agenda!

    1. Mine neither but it does come a close second x

  8. I just tie mine in a knot to keep me warm as I run out the door Donna - bet you'd have guessed that anyway! I've no idea what my style personality is any more - just had a look and I think I'm a bit mixed up! You fashion bloggers really make me want to make the effort though! xx

    1. I would definitely have put you down as a complete Natural style personality Jenny. And then you show those shoes on Instagram and it threw me!! Sometimes we can fall in to more than one category. It becomes difficult when it's more than two as that's when the wardrobe becomes difficult to manage x

  9. I definitely wear one for warmth but you already knew that didn't you? But I used to be an avid scarf wearer in my working days. Or should I say, an avid Pashmina wearer! It's interesting that I put on a scarf yesterday to "finish" off an outfit and then ended up taking it off as I felt cluttered actually. How times and your own personal tastes change. I sold off about 20 scarves last year to a friend. But now when I buy one, it's because I really like it. And I love these "analytical" posts - definitely something to think about.

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    2. Errmmm yes I would have guessed it was warmth for you Sue. I really love all the psychology behind wearing clothes - I'm sad like that! x

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  11. Love, love , love this post, Donna. I'm a huge fan of scarves. I agree, Avril wears them so very well. Great inspiration here! Lynne xx

    1. She does doesn't she and thanks Lynne for your kind words x

  12. Donna you're going to have to explain the Summer hammock thing now, please, I am very intruigued! I am definitely a scarf wearer, obvs for warmth living up here, but I often don't feel happy without one whether I need it or not. I would never have thought of some of your clever tips and tricks, keep em coming please! xx

    1. So you've never come across 101 things to do with a scarf lol x

  13. Donna, I read this post the other day but couldn't comment so finally it's a well overdue thank you for your lovely comments on my scarf wearing. I'm a bit of an addict tis true...but I love how they do pull an outfit together and hide a multitude too. I'm honoured to get the mention - thanks my friend xx

  14. Avril really is the Queen of scarves! Lol! I'm terrible at wearing thinner ones any other way other than the Grandad loop way & need to study Avrils scarf tying! The bigger the scarf the easier to wear I find! Seriously lusting after a couple of the above! x

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