What About Scarves?

That was the question I was asked as a reaction to yesterday’s blog. Indeed, what about scarves? There are not too many women of the current generation who believe on wearing scarves on a regular basis. It is an old-fashioned trend, mostly classified as “vintage”, which I violently object to. My mother wore a lot of scarves in the 70s, especially as headgear to keep her hair in place, lest my father complain about messy hair. When that went out of fashion, Mommy moved over to headbands. Most of my aunts wore scarves around their neck during that time as well, something that carried over from the 60s, and I have to smile each time I gloss over the old photographs. 

The scarf chooses you

It was in the early 90s when I started wearing scarves, initially the large silk  ones folded in half as triangles and then clipped to the side. Then I met my dear friend SKB who taught me a few other ways to artistically knot the scarf, and my dearly departed mother-in-law, whose birthday it is today, introduced me to scarf clips. Then I spent a total of 12 years in India, wearing mostly the salwar kameez which is never complete without the long scarf called dupatta. I was in scarf heaven, because then I had a reason to  wear one all the time. No self-respecting South Asian woman in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh go out in a salwar kameez without her dupatta! Whenever my mother or mother-in-law came over to visit they would voluntarily wear the salwar kameezes as well, much to everyone´s delight. The light cotton or chiffon dupattas are replaced by woolen shawls in winter, allowing one to conform to the cultural directives of the attire while keeping warm and stylish. It is an incredibly feminine attire that I love to wear, allows full mobility but retains that quintessential Asian femininity and grace. The long and short of it is that scarves became an essential part of my wardrobe and later on my character. 

Fast forward a few decades and I find myself in Thailand, which offered an interesting variation of the scarf, by way of a 3-in-1 chiffon kaftan. Another friend introduced me to this brilliant concept, as she bought them in bulk from Bangkok to sell elsewhere (thank you Amiga!). Now, the men reading this either left half way already, or are probably wondering what is my whole point. Here is the thing, unlike boots that need to be broken in like a city or a new home, or hats that are superficial friends, and gloves that are forgettable and transient, scarves choose you. Yes, that´s right, a scarf chooses you, not the other way around. This is the calling to that elusive profession or passion where you know you can be your best and shine. Is it photography? Teaching? Writing? Designing? Whatever your calling, that is your scarf. You will try on many of them in your lifetime, and not all of them will last or be suitable for the long-term. But there will be that one scarf that will draw out the best in you and change your perspective on how to carry it, how to wear it, and most importantly, how to flaunt it with passion and elegance. 

I know, this is beginning to sound like some of your past relationships – tried all sorts, wild, mild, shy, discreet, but none of them fit the bill. The point is, you don’t go around looking or shopping for that perfect scarf. It will find you. Trust me. 


  1. My wife, Dr C who is originally from Nepal, wears scarves all the time. The house is littered with them, large and small, silk and cotton, but mostly dark colours such as grey shades, black/white, dark plum etc. I wear wooden scarves in winter, bright ones in red and/or blue mostly, wrapped around my neck twice rather than in this trendy knotted fashion!

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