Saturday, November 19, 2005

Stand out with scarv

THESE can be the one piece of clothing to complete your outfit and provide it with that ‘oomph’ factor. Inexpensive and chic, scarves are versatile and allow you to experiment with your wardrobe. It doesn’t need to be a Hermes brand in order to carry off an outfit. Your scarves could be the funkily coloured ones available in the street markets or the end bits of your chiffon salwar material. An outfit, which was frumpy yesterday, can be jazzed up by a strategically placed scarf and be given a new avatar. Check out some of these tips on how to creatively use your scarf.

When you go to work in your starched and ironed suit, you exude intellectuality and professionalism. But sometimes, that very same suit can intimidate your colleagues into thinking you are one of those all-work-and-no-play kinds. If you want to spice up your office gear without carrying it too far, pull out those scarves. Buy a long scarf rather than a square one and then wind it around your neck until you have a short bit left to tie a small knot with on the side. 

This gives your suit a new dimension and edge, as the non-flirty knot without the long leftover bits and the tight swatch of colour round your neck is no-nonsense-ish. The splash of colour will not detract from the formality of the suit, but will tone down your severe look. If you want, you can also wrap it around the base of your neck in a handkerchief style and fasten a brooch onto the knot. But this is a more informal look which will go well for a Saturday outfit of a pair of slacks and a top.

For a casual outfit, scarves can add a feminine touch. If you are wearing jeans, or skirts, the scarf — tied high on your neck with the side knot — lend an attractive look. But if you have long hair, tie it up otherwise it will make you look messy neck and above.

Scarves can also be used as belts. Roll a square scarf into a belt by folding it into a triangular half and then folding it or rolling it from the base upwards towards the peak. Longer scarves can simply be used thus. For formal outfits, put the scarf through the belt loops of your pants or skirt with a side knot. For plain-coloured pants, choose brighter shades of red, light blue, or a colour from your top. You can also use scarves as belts for your casual wear, such as jeans and skirts. Maybe you could try choosing scarves with tassels or sequins. Another way of using a scarf would be to buy a scarf with tassels or sequins and then let the scarf spread over your hip and backside, ending with a knot on your other hip. This will emphasise your curves.

Scarves can also make funky head gear. If you want to enhance your floaty skirt look, choose a scarf in a matching shade and use it as a bandana. Fold the scarf, if it’s too wide, into a broad strap and then tie it over your hairline with the knot at the bottom of your head and make sure you leave long trails of it from the knot over your shoulder. For a ’60s look, include a side parting into your hairstyle and then tie the bandana further up on your hair, preferably at the point where the side parting ends. And for a sporty look, buy square handkerchiefs and scarves. Fold them into a triangle and then tie it around your forehead with the knot at the back of your head. This also keeps the sweat away from your eyes during a rough game of basketball.

If you want to jazz up your handbag, bring the scarf out. Tie the scarf around the corner of the strap, where it’s attached to your bag and let long trails free from the knot so that when you walk, they float a little. Choose a nice colour that complements your outfit, but don’t try this on a very colourful or embroidered bag. It will clutter up an already busy look.

For a club-meets-sports look, wear one of your tops with a nice pair of jeans with a scarf tied around the knee with a small knot and no leftover trails. So whenever you sit or bend your knee when dancing, it spreads out a bit, looking colourful. Wear a discreet belt with this outfit. — MF