Sunday, August 14, 2016

All you need is a scarf!

RHYS BOWEN:  Like most of the Reds I do a lot of traveling to give speeches. I am trying to simplify my travel wardrobe so that I only carry one or two jackets and dress them up with scarves. The trouble is that I'm not that good with scarves, Cara Black always says that Parisian women are born knowing how to wear scarves. I drape one over my shoulders and it promptly slips off. I tie it around my neck and I look as if I have no neck. I loop it in front and the tassels drip into my soup.

So I am not a confident scarf wearer. However this summer I was given a fabulous gift at the end of my Tuscan workshop. It's a big Ferragamo silk scarf, absolutely gorgeous:

The only problem is: I have no idea how to wear it.
I could drape it like a Russian peasant woman

I could try to knot it

I could hope it might stay put around my neck

In the end I'll wind up doing what I always seem to do with scarves. Hang them around my neck and hope the wind doesn't blow it away (as happened once when I was boarding a regional jet in Charlotte and my favorite silk scarf was whipped away in the wind. As I watched it disappear across the tarmac the flight attendant said to me, "Don't even think about it."

So ideas and instruction please: how do I wear this new scarf?


  1. Oh, Rhys, the scarf is absolutely gorgeous.

    I’m not fond of having lots of scarf bunched up around my neck so I generally drape it over my shoulders and tuck the ends under a belt to keep it in place. You might also tie it over one shoulder or drape it around your shoulders like a cape, then toss one end over your shoulder and, if you chose, secure it with a favorite brooch or clip . . . .

  2. Can't help with the scarf advice. I'm in the same boat you are in. My comment? Wow, Rhys, the scarf is gorgeous! What great colors and it looks great on you!

  3. Try How to tie a scarf on Youtube!

  4. Go online and check the Hermes web site. They have a bunch of ways to tie a scarf.
    One of my favorites for under a jacket is to hold up by two corners and tie around your neck. Tie the bottom two around your waist and voila, you now have a blouse. This would work well with your new Ferragamo. Best to wear a lacy chemise in case you forget and remove your jacket!

    I have a very old pamphlet from Nordstrom on scarf tying, way too many to mention, but the last time I was there, I noticed they were selling it, used to be free!

    For me the trouble with scarves isn't tying them. It is wearing them. Most of the time I am having a hot flash, and the last thing I need is any more skin covered than is expedient.

    You are so slender and well put together that I know you can carry it off. Go find a book and practice! Also, there are scarf pins that you can secure to your shoulder and loop the silk through. I'd think that would help keep it all together.

    Bonne chance ma ami

  5. Oh, Rhys, that is gorgeous! What a treasure!
    What I would do… Fold it into a triangle.
    Then… Not sure how to describe this…

    Put the point of the triangle on your front. Then pull each corner around so that eventually, the ends are hanging down on each side.

    You are essentially just wrapping the triangle around your neck , but very loosely.

    The whole contraption should just sort of sit on the little black dress :-) you are wearing it over. That way of wrapping it is very sturdy, funnily enough.

    If you have the mindset of "dashing " it works. You're simply just wrapping the thing around your neck, but keeping it big. It'll settle in the way it is supposed to be, and does not have to be symmetrical… You don't want to end up with the triangle's point straight down the middle. And from time to time you may have to pull down on the corners but probably not.

    Try this, and see if this instruction is making any sense! If not, I will demonstrate at Bouchercon. Xxxxxx

  6. I just tried it on myself following those instructions… The key is the point may end up sort of down over one shoulder, or like, draped closer to one arm than the other. It worked though!

  7. Lovely scarf, Rhys. I'm in the same boat, though--no scarf wearing or tying ability whatsoever. They just hang there, and I fiddle with them, which makes matters worse.

  8. You've made me giggle Rhys--I am hopeless too, but luckily our JRW pals can come to the rescue!

  9. The Eileen Fisher website always has videos like 65 Ways to Wear a Scarf. Except when I need it, I can't find it. Gorgeous scarf, Rhys!

  10. It really was a spectacular gift.. The colors are so rich, and Hank is right about the LBD!

    It's a great size, but more importantly, it's a great weight, so it's more manageable than the same size scarf in wool challis, say. There are some excellent YouTube videos; that's a great suggestion.

    A slightly different take on Hank's version: fold the scarf into a triangle, and tie the longest points together at the very ends into a square knot. Loop the scarf around your neck with the knot in front, then loop it over your head once more, draping the point over the knots. It shouldn't go anywhere.

    As Hank pointed out about the asymmetry, I prefer a bit of an off-kilter look than one that is perfectly straightened. Then adopt an air of insouciance and pretend you're French. Attitude is everything, I say!

  11. I thought of another easy variation, this one has a more controlled look. After you fold the scarf into a triangle, tie a loose knot into the middle. Position that in front, then pull the ends around on each side. You can then let them dangle in front, or hide the ends in the knot.

    Less attitude, but also less volume. Still all that glorious color near your beautiful face.

  12. All I can say is, it's so nice to see I'm not the only one who is scarf-challenged. My sister is so pulled together when it comes to scarves & I am not. And, I thought all of you sophisticated authors knew how to wear everything. (Doesn't surprise me that Hank does.)

  13. All those who want a YouTube video of Hank Phillippi Ryan tying scarves, raise your hand -- ME ME ME!

  14. I'll clearly need more practice, Hank and Karen. Tried triangle in fine snd it looks as if I'm getting ready to eat! Sigh. Will watch videos

  15. Rhys, granted it's a genetic thing with French women but I think you nailed it on picture #4
    Love the color too

  16. Rhys,

    These colors look great on you. Love that Ferragamo scarf from Tuscany. Wish I could give you advice. Since I am in the same predicament as you, I discovered that if I practice through trial and error, I will figure it out.


  17. Yes, I want Hank scarf tying video!!!!

    I, too, am challenged. It doesn't help that I'm short, and have NO NECK. But I love scarves, and they do make it so much easier to travel with less.

    But my son-in-law has the knack, so if really desperate I can ask him for help. He says, "just watch the videos."

  18. You guys are so creative! I start teaching this week and will try both Hank and Karen's methods to spice up ye olde lecturing look.

  19. I love the way scarfs complete an outfit, but I am horribly scarf-challenged. That doesn't mean I don't try sometimes, and I have a couple I'll bring to Bouchercon, but I doubt I'll ever achieve that polished look that some seem to pull off. In fact, I'm always taken back when someone compliments a scarf I'm wearing, thinking that they can't be talking to me and trying not to laugh. And, Ann, I do have that problem still, although not as bad as it once was, of the hot flashes, so it doesn't do to have a scarf bunched up around my neck. I like them free flowing.

    Rhys, that is such a beautiful scarf you have, and I agree that the color is perfect for you. I think any of the ways you wear it would be effective style-wise. Hank, I want to see your scarf demonstration at Bouchercon! And, Hallie, I second the motion for a Hank video.

  20. I want a Hank video too! I have a ton of scarves and don't know how to wear them. It's ridiculous. Silk scarves are too warm around my neck. I bought only cotton ones in India lsst year. I have some lovely ones I bought in Guatemala a few years ago. And a couple of art reproduction silk scarves. And so forth. I guess I will be looking at videos so I can start wearing them and looking chic.

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  22. I'm sorry your scarf escaped, but at least you didn't get hurt in the pursuit of it. A colleague's husband was hit by a wayward luggage cart, seriously hurt.
    I love this video, not just for the scarf-tying ideas, but for the production values. One can get longer, slower tutorials for individual styles if the quick look is not enough.

  23. Looks as if I forgot the link . . .

    I am currently enjoying THE TWELVE CLUES OF CHRISTMAS. Georgie needs many scarves as well as a fur coat. I keep thinking she got one in a previous books, but can't remember what happened to it. She and Queenie are extremely hard on clothes.

  24. Rhys that's because it's still symmetrical! Move it to the side a bit.

    And you guys are hilarious. A scarf-tying video. Awesome! I will do it if this book thing doesn't work out. xoxooo

  25. Hank, perhaps you can find a way to include scarf tying with publicity on WHAT YOU SEE.
    I have a cotton pare with me almost always, as so many places have too much air conditioning.

  26. Here's a link to the video that helped me! Either that, or ask almost any middle school girl--they're always offering to re-tie my scarf here at school!


  27. Darn it, the link didn't work! Here's the link:

  28. I Love scarves, tend to wear them more in fall and winter

    definitely challenged in doing anything fancy with them

    Pretty scarf Rhys - nice color on you

  29. That scarf is gorgeous!

    Scarves are my absolute favorite accessory, but I'm in the same boat as you. I usually just drape it loosely around my neck and hope for the best. I also like having the scarf go across the front of my neck and drape down my back; my students tell me I look like a superhero when I do that ^^