Since it’s been such a crazy week, isn’t it about time for another fashion post? According to my calculations, it’s been nearly a year since I last forced myself out of my comfortable plain Jane everyday wear and learned to ignore the overwhelming nagging feeling that everyone is looking at me and judging me. (Because, in fact, no one really is looking at me and nobody cares what I’m wearing.)
For years, my husband has been trying to convince me, a staunch non-scarf-wearer, that I should wear scarves. He started dropping subtle hints by bringing me scarves as souvenirs from business trips. They each found their way to a part of the closet I now call “the scarf shelf,” emerging from time to time to accessorize a costume.
When I didn’t take the bait, he tried leading by example, wearing scarves more often and showing me some cool ways to tie scarves he saw in Europe. Sure, I’d say, that’s because they’re European. He obviously has felt comfortable in scarves for a very long time.
After a while, he realized the hints weren’t getting him anywhere so he took a more direct approach. “Why don’t you wear scarves? You should.” “You really are a scarf person. You don’t think so, but you are.” “I think you’d look good if you wore scarves.” This worked about as well as that time I suggested he try guyliner after I developed a tiny crush on Jang Keun Suk.
Left with no other options, my husband took a cheap shot – he challenged me to wear scarves for a blog post.
You may be wondering what I have against scarves. You may even assume there’s some logical explanation, but if you’re one of my (five or six) regular readers, you know logic has little to do with any of my aversions. You may also remember that much of my worldview is based on assumptions I made while watching 70’s and 80’s television as a child. Television is where I learned about Scarf Ladies.
Scarf Ladies are wealthy, middle-aged women with generous shoulder pads, spiky heels and spiky fingernails. They have high standards and won’t accept anything less than the best. Scarf Ladies are rarely warm and likable, but they command respect and are always in control. Of course, it’s entirely possible that I’ve just been conflating Scarf Ladies with Ricardo Montalban, but you get the idea.
My husband tells me that I’m crazy and that Scarf Ladies aren’t a thing, but they are a thing for me. I don’t see myself as a Scarf Lady so I refuse to wear scarves. Then again, I’ve noticed that scarves have been making a comeback in the last few years, even among my young piano students. Of course they don’t look like Scarf Ladies, but how do I know it won’t happen to me?
But a challenge is a challenge. It snowed twice this week, so what better time to whip out the scarves? If you didn’t get a chance to see me in person (or if you did see me but didn’t notice that I was wearing a scarf because who would really care or notice except me), allow me to present Scarf Week.
I received this scarf years ago as a gift from my friend from her trip to England. Isn’t it pretty? The first hurdle for me wearing scarves was the issue of learning how to tie them. Thank goodness for Google. I found and was able to follow instructions for the French Twist, and voila! The all-black outfit my brother affectionately calls my “stage crew look” was transformed.
I wore this to the elementary school to sort through stacks of creative writing contest entries, but I noticed it was kind of tricky to wear the required visitor’s badge. I wondered what a Scarf Lady would do in such a situation, but of course Scarf Ladies would never volunteer for the PTA.
This day was kind of a big deal. My husband, oldest son and I had tickets to a Chris Thile concert and we got to go to a pre-show Q&A session with my husband asking the Q’s!!
So of course I had to wear my favorite scarf, a gift from some visiting Chinese musicians. I never actually met them, but I appreciate the gift. Because the print on the scarf is so lovely, I wanted to tie it in a way that would showcase it. I chose the Rolled Loop, another knot so simple even I couldn’t mess it up.
The Q&A was engaging, the concert was amazing, and we even managed to slip backstage for an autograph afterwards.
I stepped back and let my husband and son do all the gushing, but I’m sure Chris Thile was impressed by my scarf. Who wouldn’t be?
This might have been the day of Scarf Week when I felt the most conspicuous. The scarf I chose was puffier than the rest, and The Wrap and Tie didn’t help much. I looked a lot like Liberace.
At my sons’ final marching band show, I had to wear my scarf in front of the entire crowd as I stood next to my son during the tribute to seniors. Luckily, I was standing next to these freaks so I looked normal-ish in comparison.
One thing I discovered about scarves (which shouldn’t have been a revelation because, duh, scarves) is that they keep me warm. Who would’ve thought? And since I’m always cold, this really could be a good thing. Scarves are much more socially acceptable to wear in public than Snuggies.
I’m not sure what this scarf tying technique is actually called, but I choose to call it the Blanche Devereaux. I wore it as I conducted 120 children singing in our church. I was worried the flaps might get in the way, but they behaved and so did the children.
I discovered that seemingly simple tasks like using a drinking fountain or putting on tights can be more difficult while wearing a scarf – all those flaps and fringes seem to have a life of their own. Also, why does my husband think scarves suit me but turtlenecks don’t? What’s the difference, really?
If you ever want to test your resolve when taking a potential fashion risk, take it to a junior high school, a place where self-consciousness is in the air you breathe. I wore this scarf I bought in Bali as I accompanied the junior high choirs. After trying out several options, I finally settled on the Knotted Necklace.
By this point, the whole scarf thing was really getting old. I couldn’t fold socks or scrub toilets or eat a bowl of Cap’n Crunch while lying in bed watching a show on my iPad without the scarf getting in the way. Sure, Scarf Ladies would never stoop to such things, but did I really want to be a Scarf Lady?
I inherited this awesome scarf from my husband’s grandma, but how exactly does one tie a square scarf?
I tried the bib look and the scout neckerchief look, but neither seemed like something I could actually wear in public.
I finally settled on what I call the Mary Tyler Moore, which is fitting since that’s probably how old the scarf is anyway.
Although I really love the scarf’s bold print, I couldn’t ever get over the feeling that I was wearing a costume to play a part. It never felt like me.
So who wins this argument? My husband is sure this week proves I should wear scarves all the time. I’m attracted to certain aspects of scarves, but they really did make me feel bulky and far too proper. I think I could use them to accessorize occasionally, especially as it gets colder, but I don’t know if I can really make the the transition from Sweats Lady to Scarf Lady. What’s next? Hats??!!