What’s Going On Your Head

One of my favourite ways to add a little something extra to an everyday outfit, particularly in the summer months, is as simple as a small square of patterned material; it is that timeless classic, The Scarf. Its been a fashion staple for decades; just look at how Carey Mulligan’s use of this sartorial weapon in her portrayal of Fitzgerald’s 1920s dame, Daisy Buchanan, compares to the way in which the originals wore it:

scarf daisy 2 (2)  doris kenyon   Gloria

Daisy’s classic sideknot (above left) is probably the simplest look to emanate, but it can look just as good as the slightly more complex ‘turban’ style, another popular and versatile look of the jazz age; pin a brooch to the material for an extra touch, as actress Doris Kenyon does here (above right), or keep it simple with a plain fabric and delicate earrings; or maybe the odd peacock feather, like Gloria Swanson, (above) . In the years since the roaring twenties, the styles may have changed, but the scarf has remained a familiar constant. Note how Audrey Hepburn dons the accessory in her various roles, wearing it like the classy starlet or mysterious film noir heroine in Charade (below), but in a style reminiscent of the innocent farm girl in this famous scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (below that):


And Ms Hepburn is certainly not the only star to have made use of the scarf over the past century; I could start writing now about the scarves of Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot and, in more recent days, Rihanna and Katy Perry, but then we would all be here for days. Besides, its much more fun to think about how we can incorporate the look into lives which are perhaps not as glamorous as that of the silver screen star or president’s wife.

graceririr     brigitte bardot 2

The most beautiful thing about scarves is that they’re an incredibly easy way to accessorize even the most boring outfits, mainly due to how versatile they are. Not only are there a hundred ways to wear them around your head, you could also tie one around your waist as a belt, or around your wrist or neck as an alternative to jewellery. Knotting a scarf around the handle of a bag is a particularly quick way to brighten up any outfit. Plus, on the practical side, its a cheap way to accessorize, which doesn’t have to look cheap at all; just look at how some of the world’s top fashion houses are wearing The Scarf….

Dolce and Gabanna’s spring/summer collection oozes a sense of tropical baroque; the intricate yet ostentatious patterns conjure the luxury and sophistication of grand houses and expensive dresses, whilst the bright colours and exotic designs hint at the richness of Constantinople, the vibrancy of Africa and the lazy ease of the Mediterranean. The result is a look which is as ornate as it is simple, as poised as it is relaxed, and, above all else, adventurous; summer holiday chic at its best. The chunky earrings and beautifully adorned raffia bags complete each ensemble with the appropriate tribal flourish.

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Ralph Lauren’s spring/summer 2013 collection also draws on global influences, particularly the something something of South America. Scarves are tied around the neck, or draped nonchalantly over one shoulder in the style of a Spanish matador. Hints of Parisian chic also leaks onto the catwalk, in the berets and contrasting, block-coloured neckscarves.

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Meanwhile, rural orientalism meets summer in the city at Marc Jacobs, as scarves are wrapped around heads like turbans, around waists like belts, and around necks in the style of an intrepid desert explorer. Again, the bright colours and clashing patterns feel exotic and mysterious, but also somehow inviting and familiar. I particularly like the way in which Marc Jacobs wraps scarves around the head in a turban-like style, pairing this easy hair fix with beautifully patterned swimsuits; its a stylish yet simple solution to the ‘beach hair of our dreams vs. actual beach hair’ dilemma.

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Although we may not all be wealthy, talented beauty icons, we can all add a scarf or two to our everyday wardrobes; and that’s really the same thing as immortal stardom.

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