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Don’t Know Her Size – Buy her a Scarf: 9 Different Types of Scarves

how to tie a scarf

7. Long Rectangular Scarf: I like extremely long scarves because they are wonderfully versatile. One of my favorite scarves, in a cute seasonless print from Anthropologie (see photo) is 76” long – plus fringe, and about 28” wide. Sometimes I wish this scarf were even longer.

Most of the time, if you’re getting a scarf over 25” wide, the fabric should have great drape. My scarf is a finely woven rayon or matte polyester. I’m not sure because I cut the label off. (Note for Plus Sizes: If your chick has a big neck - like I do, even when I’m 120 pounds - or if she’s a plus size, a short scarf might feel like a noose.)

8. Chunky Knit Scarf: Fat, chunky scarves were originally worn only in winter. These days you can wear them with T-shirts or summer dresses or anything.

9. Shawl or Wrap: Most people think of Pashminas when you say the word shawl, but there are other trendy shawls made of thin cotton crochet, semi-sheer burnout fabric, or blanket-style material, in things like Southwest patterns or tartans. Cashmere shawls are always a perfectly tasteful gift for a woman who wears classic clothing.

Tips for Scarves:

1. Shiny Versus Matte: Don’t get a fabric that’s too shiny, unless you really know what you’re doing. Most shiny material looks cheap. You can buy a scarf that’s made of polyester, but most of the time, polyester fabric should be matte.

When I say that you shouldn’t buy a scarf that’s shiny, I don’t mean that you should avoid sequins, metallic threads, and other embellishments. There are fabulous, high-end scarves that have masses of sequins, and there are cute, cheap scarves that have sprinkles of sequins or beads.

embellished edge scarf for gift

2. Length: If you’re buying a scarf for a tiny, bird-like Audrey Hepburn babe, any length will look good on her. However, if your femme is built more like the average American woman, I say, “The longer, the better.”  A long scarf gives a woman more options:

  • She can let the scarf hang down in a casual, boho way.
  • She can loop the scarf around her neck several different ways.
  • She can tie the scarf in elaborate knots, and she can tie it high or low, so that it hangs just right for her body.
  • She can twist and tie the scarf in that uber-chic, messy, sexy, Parisian mode.

3. Drape: The best fabrics have great drape and they hang right. Drape is hard to define, but it has to do with the thickness of the fabric, the stiffness of the fabric (stiff is not as good), the weave of the fabric, the weight of the fabric, and the type of material used. The best fabrics are silk, rayon, cashmere, wool, cotton, modal, or a blend with one of these. However, manmade fibers like polyester can look great and are usually less expensive. Most of the time, it’s difficult to judge drape online, so check the reviews. Note: If a scarf is expensive, it probably has good drape… but not always.

4. Season: If it’s winter, you’ll want a warmer fabric, like cashmere, a thick knit, or something that can be wrapped several times. If it’s summer, you’ll want a looser weave or a lighter, sheerer fabric. Duh. But, what you might forget to consider is the print. Some prints are seasonless, but most of the time, a fall or winter print is darker (or has a dark background) and a spring or summer print is lighter and/or brighter.

5. Color Color Color: All scarves are going to be worn next to a woman’s face, so color is probably the most important aspect of a scarf. The right color (or colors) can make a young girl look hot – or make an old woman look young. And, with a printed scarf, you should be looking at the main or background color. What colors does your femme wear most of the time?

  • Warm Tones: pumpkin, lime green, yellow, orange.
  • Cool Tones: blue, pink, purple.
  • Monochrome: black, white, gray. (Note Red often looks good with monochrome.)
  • Jewel Tones: amethyst purple, sapphire blue, ruby red, deep turquoise (teal), emerald green.
  • Neutrals: camel, brown, black, earthtones.
  • Pastels: baby blue, light pink, soft yellow, lavender.

If you follow these suggestions, it’s easy to come up with a chic scarf for any woman of any age and any fashion style. And, I think it’s nicer and more personal to give someone an actual gift rather than just a gift card.

More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:

How to Wear an Infinity Scarf 12 Ways: Women Over 40, 50, 60

Paris Street Style for Women Over 40 or 50

Groovy Floral Patterns for Fall 2013 / Winter 2014

How to do Folkloric Fashion Without Looking Like Heidi

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. kay kerns

    Scarves are great I have a very soft fleece one I just bought for $1 at the nearby consignment store in a dark hot pink color that will cheer me up in the dark cold months ahead...nice article especially the point that a plus size woman needs a longer scarf...I use small thin ones to tie on my ponytail or on a purse, but long ones are definitely more versatile for wearing on my neck