Thursday, February 27, 2014

Incorporating scarves into your outfits

So per reader/fellow blogger request (thanks for the great idea, Mandi!) yesterday, today I'm going to show you some ways you can incorporate scarves into your outfits. I don't remember exactly where I read it, but a while back I ran across something that talked about having three items to make an outfit. In cooler weather, it's easy to add a sweater or something that pulls your top and bottom together, but in warmer weather or while you're working and getting warm, it can be more difficult. It's the same rule of three you'll find in decorating manuals - three things pull together nicely. Breaking a design into thirds helps to balance it. You get the idea. So three things it is. Top, bottom, and scarf!

Scarves, to me, are the ultimate accessory, particularly for moms. You can wash them, use them in a pinch for a nursing cover or a pillow for a sleepy toddler, distract a baby or small child while you're waiting, and you look more put-together when you're wearing one. Plus they come in all sorts of fun patterns and colors, and you can even make your own if you can't find what you're looking for.

This is a fairly simple way to tie a scarf. In this picture,
the length is hiding my post-baby tummy nicely!
The simplest way to tie a scarf is to fold it in half so the ends are touching. Lay this over the back of your neck, then pull the ends through the loop you've created. Don't pull too tight! Adjust the ends and folds so the pattern shows nicely. This is the quickest way to put on a scarf, and one of the warmest as well.

This scarf is much thinner and shorter and can only be
tied one way or worn as a headband. It
pulls the outfit together, though!
Thinner or shorter scarves can't really be worn any other way. If you've already got a three piece outfit, that's okay - they'll still be a nice accent. It's best to make sure they blend in with both pieces as in the above picture. I love mixing patterns, but I think a thin scarf that doesn't match at all looks a little silly on me. If you disagree, by all means, mix away! One of the great things about clothes is making your own rules about what matches and what doesn't.

Another way to tie a scarf: wrapped around and around.
The scarf doesn't have to "match" your top, either!
If your scarf is long and wide, you can bunch it up to make it thicker. This means you can tie it other ways, too! In this picture, I'm wearing a scarf that's actually a huge rectangle, all bunched up and wrapped around my neck. I tucked the ends in for some reason - you don't have to, but it looks a little neater. This scarf has fringe so I think that's why the ends are hiding.

You don't have to match your scarf to your outfit, either, particularly if you're wearing a neutral top and jeans. This is where you can introduce the bold, colorful patterns.

Close-up of above scarf. See the owls?!


Bright patterned floral scarf with bright yellow sweater.
Nice and dressy for Sunday Mass.
One of the best things about scarves is how the same one can be worn with several outfits. The above outfit is a closeup of a Mass outfit - I'm wearing a dark gray skirt and heels with the floral scarf and sweater - and I felt very put together. Below, it was Mother's Day and we'd just gotten back from eating dinner out without the girls. I was wearing a tee and jeans, with the same scarf, and while I felt more "dressed" than if I hadn't worn the scarf, I certainly wasn't "dressed up." So one scarf, many outfits - and they take up so little space, they're a great addition to even a minimalist wardrobe!

Much more casual. Same bright floral scarf dressing up a tee.

Very bright and fun scarf, tied neckerchief style.
Subtle pattern on the skirt, but otherwise all solid colors.
Sometimes, a small scarf can't even be looped around your neck. In that case, you can just knot it behind your neck, cowboy style. I've been known to turn them forwards sailor style as well! This particular scarf almost always gets worn as pictured, though. I love the bright, colorful pattern. The neckerchief style is great for making a low-necked shirt more modest, also - a huge plus when you're at work or out playing with your kids and have to bend over a lot.

Close-up of the pattern on the scarf in above shot.
Immediately postpartum, I was very interested in hiding my belly. As soon as it cooled off that fall, I wore scarves to distract from my remaining pudginess. My stomach will probably never be flat again, and I don't mind that (the gift of new life is worth it!) but if you're in the new-baby stage and wanting to distract from your midsection, I recommend wearing a long scarf. Not only is it great camouflage, you can use it to cover a nursing baby while they latch on or let them play with it to distract them. In the below picture, I'm just wearing the scarf to stay warm (this was taken just a few weeks ago) but since most of my shirts are on the tighter side, I still appreciate the extra coverage!

Same scarf as in the first picture, but I'm not using it to hide
anymore - just to stay warm on this day!
How do you wear scarves? What's your favorite way to tie a scarf? I'd love to hear - leave a comment and share!

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