Women’s Scarf Buying Guide – All You Need to Know
A scarf is probably the most versatile of all fashion accessories of a woman. You can transform the drabbest and dullest of your costumes into a head-turner when you match it with a gorgeous scarf. There are a wide range of colors and many different shapes to choose from. In fact, scarves have quite a long history. They were worn by the Egyptian queens to match their head gear. So, the modern day scarves have Egyptian ties!
A scarf can be wrapped around in all seasons and is a perennial favorite. In winter, if you don’t want to be weighed down by a heavy sweater and a cap (that ruins your hairdo), it is cool to opt for an elegant shawl and a trendy scarf. Use a scarf in summer to protect your hair from direct sunlight and dust. When it rains, use a scarf to cover your head! So, whatever the season, the scarf has become an intrinsic part of a woman’s wardrobe and is here to stay.
A scarf is an enviable package of an eye-catching fashion, symbol of tradition and a protective gear against chilly winds and dust. All rolled into one! It is no wonder that scarves occupy the top spot in every woman’s garment-shopping list.
A scarf may just seem to be a length of cloth but buying the perfect scarf requires quite a lot of research. When you plan to add a scarf to your wardrobe, you have to consider several parameters – the fabric, shape, season, color, trend, length, print, and of course, your personality.
Let us have a detailed study of the different types of scarves, the materials in which they are available, the popular styles and prints and tips on maintaining them.
Types of scarves
There are several types of scarves available and it is important to identify why you require a scarf. Knowing the specific need will help you narrow down your options.
Basically, there are three shapes of scarves. They can be square, rectangular and triangular. When worn, they each create very different effects. There are innumerable variations in these three fundamental shapes, giving rise to hundreds of choices.
The square scarf was first introduced by French brand, Herme`s in silk and measured 90*90 centimeters. They can be accessorized with any outfit for any occasion.
The rectangular scarf gives a casual look to any attire but is usually worn with a pair of jeans or a short dress. It can be draped like a tie or cover the neck. Rectangular scarves are preferred during winter.
Triangular scarves are invariably used as neck-clothes and were popularized as Bandanas by the cowboys of Wild West.
A shawl or wrap is another larger version of a scarf. It is considered a graceful accessory that is draped over the shoulder or is worn covering the head on special occasions. It is known for its dignified and romantic appeal.
Apart from these shapes, there is another special shape called the Infinity or circle or a loop scarf. As the name suggests, it is circular in shape with no ends. It is usually used in winter and is wound around the neck for cozy comfort and protection against the chill.
Here are some of the most common types of scarves available in the markets.
Scarf Name – Bandana
- Triangular piece of cloth.
- Worn with Western wear. Popularized by Hollywood Westerns.
- Made of cotton/silk.
Scarf Name – Head scarf
- Cover most of the hair and head.
- Intended to protect from sunlight and dust.
- Used for comfort, warmth or for traditional practice.
- Made of cotton or wool.
- Worn like a head band.
Scarf Name – Neck scarf
- Covers the length of the neck.
- Can be used all throughout the year and in all seasons.
- Bandana, Skinny and Infinity are neck scarves.
- Especially useful in winter to protect from cold.
Scarf Name – Hip Scarf
- Usually worn by belly dancers.
- Embellished with ornate stones and beads.
- It can also be used to cover the face and attached to the wrist.
Scarf Name – Skinny Scarf
- They are thin scarves that are worn during the warmer months of the year and during cool evenings of summer.
- The material is often silk, jersey or sheer lace.
Scarf Name – Shemagh Scarf
- Also called the Keffiyah scarf or Desert scarf. It is traditionally used by Arabs. It is of square shape and made of cotton.
- It keeps away heat and dust.
- Usually in white color with checkered weave in red or other dark colors.
- Originally from Jordan.
So we see that there are different types of scarves for different purposes and they are made of different materials. Therefore it is important to know the purpose of the scarf in order to decide about the choice of fabric. Let us take a look at the popular fabric choices around the world.
Fabric choices for summer scarves
- Cotton is a popular choice of fabric used to make light-weight, breathable scarves that are well-suited for hot summers. Cotton scarves can be washed easily.
- Silk scarves are made out of the cocoons of the mulberry silkworms. They can present a glittering shiny look or a muted matte look. They are light and exude class. Worn in summer.
- Linen scarves are the most breathable of all They are made from flax fiber and are actually cool to touch. For this very reason, they are sought after in summer.
- Chiffon scarves are of sheer woven fabric which is made from cotton, silk and other synthetic materials. They are stretchable and are suitable for summers.
- Satin scarves are shiny and glossy. They are made with a blend of silk and polyester fabrics.They are of varying thickness, weight and gloss and are suitable for summer.
Images of summer scarves
Cotton Skinny scarves
Fabrics for Winter Scarves
- Pashmina scarves are famous all over the world and are woven from the fleece of Pashmina goat in Kashmir. It is very soft to touch and gives warmth in winter.
- Cashmere scarves are considered to be of top quality. They are from the wool of Cashmere goats. They are very light, soft and durable.
- Alpaca scarves are from the South American camelid. They have a soft texture and are softer than sheep’s wool.
- Woolen scarves are made from the natural wool of animals. The most common is the sheep. It gives warmth and is widely used in winter wear.
- Acrylic is a synthetic material used instead of silk and wool. It cannot give as much warmth and is known to fray with use.
- Jersey scarves are knitted fabric that are made from cotton, wool and other artificial fiber. Their thickness will determine whether they can be used in summer or winter.
Images of Winter Scarves
Being such a versatile fashion accessory, scarves have a huge demand throughout the year. Consequently, many Designer brands have come up with their own line of unique scarves. Some of the famous names are – Ralph Lauren. Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Juicy Couture, Old Navy. Alexander McQueen, Coach, Echo.
Tips on choosing your perfect scarf
There is no end to the plethora of colors or types of scarves you can buy. So, it is natural (at least from a woman’s point of view), that accumulating scarves sometimes gets out of hand. Out of drawer, actually. Drawers stuffed to their capacity with scarves is not an uncommon sight! Yet, rummaging through them when you are in a in a hurry can be an ordeal.
The ground rule is to equip yourself with these essential scarves that will carry you through all seasons – rain or shine!
Now that you are armed with the basics you can go ahead and get adventurous! You can try mixing and matching with the plain and printed scarves to create an alluring effect.
Check out these printed scarves which can make a success story out of every outfit.
They come in a range of prints. Plaid, stripes, geometric shapes, animal prints, skull marks, floral, Batik and the classic polka dots.
Animal Print – 1
Animal Print – 2
Since the scarf is an accessory framing your face, you should pay extra attention to detail. A scarf can make or mar your day! Take special care of the scale and thickness of your scarf as compared to your body type.
Here are a few tried and tested tips on choosing your perfect scarf and keeping it well.
- Get your basics right. Buy the neutral colors first so you can carry off any outfit confidently. Later, you can individual scarves as and when the occasion demands.
- Look for well-made scarves that are made from good quality fleece. Quality matters.
- Select a scarf with a unique knit pattern that will grab attention.
- Always invest in quality. Brand names so make a difference.
- Keep your body type in mind when you buy scarves. A very small person will get drowned in a large-knit scarf. Choose in proportion to your body.
- It is an unwritten rule that you should not use a very colorful scarf. A splash of bright colors will draw attention away from your actual garment.
- Take weather conditions into consideration. Select bright colors to go with bulky winter clothing to lift your spirits. Flower- printed scarves will reflect the cheery atmosphere of spring. Bright shades of orange and yellow signal the beginning of glorious summer.
- Important! Since your scarf is close to your face, outlining it, it can accentuate your features. Choose a scarf that complements your eye-color, hair, skin tone.
A wise choice of scarf can take away attention from skin imperfections and blemishes. They can lend a glow and radiance to your face and personality.
Cleaning and Storage of Scarves
Scarves are usually made of delicate fabric. They must be washed and stored carefully.In order to keep your priceless scarves safe, follow these tips
- Do not use steel hangers as they could tear the scarf. Use wooden hangers.
- Silk scarves are prone to losing color. Do not wear them in rain.
- Do not wear scarves in the hot sun.Sun light will dull the fabric.
- Avoid laundering or washing your scarves. Just hang them out for air.
- Cashmere scarves and shawls can be hand-washed and dried.
- Cotton and rayon scarves can be washed in machine in a lingerie bag and dried.
- Do not use steam iron on scarves.
Cool ways to wear your scarf
Now that you are armed with all the information on choosing, buying and maintaining your scarf, there is only more thing you should know. How to wear your scarf to graceful perfection and impress your friends and the people around you!
Listed below are some videos and sites that will teach you easy ways of wearing your scarf stylishly and creatively to complement your outfit. Just try them!
VIDEO: 25 Ways to tie your scarf in 4.5 minutes
VIDEO: New ways to tie your scarf- Coldwater Creek