I have a confession. I’m kind of addicted to buying scarves—but I don’t know how to wear them! Sure, there are lots of online tutorials and recommendations on tying a scarf like a French woman (the undisputed masters of the scarf). But I’ve found that online tutorials are often catered to a specific scarf, and if it doesn’t match the size, fabric, and style of mine, the lesson isn’t much help. And while the French clearly know what they’re doing over there, I find a lot of their examples to be outdated (and better suited to an 80’s businesswoman).
So, as I often do when faced with a style quandary or query, I turned to friend Kate. With countless outdoor appearances in chilly weather and even occasions where cultural norms or etiquette dictate that a scarf is required, I had lots to learn from Kate’s scarf style!
Cold Weather Scarves
These are definitely the easiest to master, in my opinion. (But maybe that’s just because I live in a state where the winter season lasts half the year.) This is also the style we tend to see Kate in the most. And she has a pretty consistent way of wearing her warm scarves.
We most often see Kate wearing her scarf draped around her neck once and tied loosely in the front. It’s a very clean and tucked-in look that doesn’t have much chance of coming untied—perfect for outdoor engagements and traveling.
With a thicker scarf, sometimes this does not work as well. Then Kate opts to either loosely drape the scarf around her neck and over the shoulder or does the old reliable doubled and looped style. I love the loose and draped look because it really shows off a scarf, but it can be hard to wear in windy weather or when an occasion requires a lot of movement.
Admittedly, this is where my problem lies. I love buying beautiful silk scarves from thrift and vintage stores (who doesn’t want to pretend they’ll discover an authentic Hermes for $5?!). There’s something about them that seems so classic and elegant. And they are classic! Fashion icons from Jackie O to Audrey Hepburn helped make silk scarves fashionable for decades. As my two (other) fashion icons, it makes sense that I am drawn to this style. However, lots of the looks they sported can look dated or costume-y today. Again, Kate to the rescue!
At the Olympics, Kate wore the official scarf and styled it to look casual and elegant at the same time. Folded into an approximately three inch wide strip, she draped it around her neck and tied it once in front. So simple! But it adds color and interest to her outfit, really brightening up the plain white shirt underneath
Kate also looked stunning when she needed to wear a headscarf on her trip to Malaysia. Admittedly, it’s not something we all have occasion to wear in our everyday lives (I’ll be copying this next time I ride in an open-top vintage car, to be sure), but she looked so classic and elegant, I had to include it.
Just for fun, I’m including a section on the bandanas Kate has worn in her work with the Scouts. She probably wouldn’t wear them often in her everyday life, but she still finds a way to make them look good! I’ll reconsider how I’m tying my bandana next time I’m sitting by a campfire or going for a hike.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from researching Kate’s scarf style is that, like the rest of her life is, they are planned! A scarf should accentuate an outfit but not dominate it (unless it’s intended to be the main focus). They can take an outfit from casual to elegant, dress down a look, or keep it comfortably in the middle. Most importantly, she takes the time to make sure her scarf looks occasion-appropriate and put-together. I know I’ll be leaving myself five extra minutes before I leave in the mornings to consider adding a stylish scarf to my ensemble—and getting it right!