Tying One On

Scarf Style Trends: 2014

Fashion-websiteStory by Sharon Mosley

There are more ways to get tied up this year than anything you’ll find in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” And since I consider myself the Imelda Marcos of the scarf world (I have a whole wall full of scarves hanging in my closet), I try to keep up with the latest ways to indulge in this timeless accessory that can be worn dozens of ways and can instantly transform a basic wardrobe. Plus, scarves are one of the most inexpensive ways to experiment with new fashion trends. Here are a few tips on wrapping it up this year with scarf style:

Choose scarves with care. Rule No. 1: Softer is always better. When buying a scarf, look for one that feels good to the touch—that means drapeable and fluid, never stiff. Think silk, charmeuse, cashmere, chiffon or a soft knit. Thick, chunky knit scarves are the big trend for fall, so make sure you choose one that will be cozy. After all, remember you most likely will be wearing this around your neck, and we don’t like all that itchy, scratchy stuff, now do we? It gives me a rash just thinking about it.

Check both sides of a scarf. You may love the animal print pattern on the front side of the scarf you spot all folded up on the store display shelf, but remember when scarves are tied, both sides show. Cheaper scarves tend to have prints that may “bleed” from one side onto the underside and don’t look so great when actually tied around your neck. Make sure both sides are equally attractive.

Go long when you can. Designers are finally giving us lots of extra yardage to work with when it comes to scarves. While a scarf knotted at mid-chest or a preppy necktie is usually flattering on most people, the longer scarves can disguise a variety of figure flaws. Try disguising a large chest or a short waist with a longer scarf that is at least 45 to 60 inches. If you have a short neck, you may want to avoid looking “choked” with a chunkier cowl-neck-style scarf. Instead, choose a longer oblong scarf and leave ends dangling down to give your figure a more elongated look.

Think outside the neck. It’s true that most scarves are usually worn as neck wraps, but with more generous scarves, there are many more possibilities—head wraps, shoulder wraps, shawls, sarongs or even kimono dresses and halter swimsuit cover-ups. Check out Nordstrom’s incredible video on YouTube to find infinite possibilities of tying one on: “How to Tie a Scarf—4 Scarves 16 Ways.”

Tie on a new trend. You don’t have to have an expensive designer jacket or sweater to freshen up your closet this year. Instead, add several new scarves to your wardrobe. The flowing black and white stripes and colorful watercolor florals and tie-dyes of summer are giving way to chunky thick knits and oversized blanket scarves for fall. Infinity scarves are still a big hit, and matching your scarf to your coat will be another major trend for the coming season. Stick to colors you love and already have in your wardrobe, and then add a pop of contrasting pattern or print to make a style statement that will take you from the beach to the boardroom and back again.

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.

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