Be honest. How many scarves do you have tucked away at your house? Dozens? Let’s put them to good use as a part of your fashion for women over 60 plan.
If you’re like most women over 60, it probably feels that way. When I spoke with fashion expert Melanie Page during our fashion filming in Milan, she explained that scarves are one of the most popular, and least understood, items of clothing in our wardrobes. And this is especially true for women over 60.
For some reason, many women over 60, including myself, are like magpies when it comes to scarves. We are drawn to the beautiful colors and eye-catching patterns, regardless of whether a particular scarf will be useful in our very specific wardrobe. Unfortunately, this indiscriminate buying leads to, at best, wasted money and, at worst, a less optimal look.
During our filming, Melanie mentioned that there are several simple tips that you can apply to get the most from your scarves. Here are a few of the many ideas that we discussed.
Be Cautious with Multicolored Scarves
In most cases, multicolored scarves are too “busy” to contribute to our look in a positive way. Instead of drawing attention to our faces, they actually do quite the opposite. They pull people’s eyes downward, away from our best assets – our beautiful eyes and radiant smiles.
Multicolored scarves are especially harmful to our look when we combine them with a multicolored top or jacket.
Unless you are extremely comfortable with an eclectic look, it’s much better to choose a solid color that can accentuate your look instead of overwhelming it.
Don’t Tie Your Scarf
I’m sure that many women in the community will disagree, but according to Melanie, tying your scarf is not only unnecessary but it may actually harm your look. Honestly, I was ready to fight Melanie on this one, until she showed me the difference that a more simple approach can make.
Just like makeup, you want your accessories to be just that – accessories. It may be fun to tie your scarf in an elaborate way, but more than likely, you will end up drawing way too much attention to this one element of your look. Like a woman who is clearly wearing too much makeup, you may end up with “too much of a good thing.”
How to Tie Your Scarf
Ok, I know you noticed the contradiction here. But let’s admit it, some of us still want to tie our scarves, and that’s perfectly ok. If you absolutely insist on tying your scarf, or if the style of the scarf doesn’t look good untied, there are ways you can achieve a sophisticated and put-together look by tying your scarf correctly.
Here is a video demo that can show you how to tie your scarf like a pro!
Don’t Buy Scarves Because You “Love Them”
Many women my age love to collect scarves. This is totally fine. I love scarves and so does Melanie. The problem comes when we choose scarves as standalone items, rather than as a complement to one of our outfits.
Take a few seconds to think about the scarves in your collection. How many of them have you worn in the last 12 months? If you are like most of us, you probably haven’t worn more than 20%.
Melanie recommends that we buy our accessories with intention. Thinking upfront about which outfits a particular scarf will go with will help you to create looks that you will be proud of.
It will also help you to avoid wasting money on accessories that you will never wear. These resources can then be redirected to activities that really make a difference, such as tailoring.
Avoid the Scarf “Cross-Sell”
Scarves are a shop assistant’s dream item. Why? Because they are easy to “add on” to almost any outfit. The problem is that salespeople are paid to sell. As a result, they often care more about getting you out of the store with as many items as possible than making sure that your outfit is truly optimized.
It’s almost always a good idea to shop for scarves separately, when you are in a calm state of mind. This will allow you to choose your accessories objectively and without pressure. This simple step can help you to avoid one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to fashion for women over 60.
Focus on Clean Designs and Simple Colors
When it comes to scarves, simplicity is beautiful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing vibrant colors that accent your outfits. The trick is to give people one thing to focus on at a time. Once again, the goal of a scarf should not be to draw attention. Scarves should quietly and appropriately add to your outfit by adding a radiant splash of color where it is needed most.
When it comes to fashion for women over 60, scarves can be our best friends or our worst enemies. The good news is that if you choose simple colors, stick with clean designs and choose your scarves with purpose, you have a great chance of creating a look that you love!
Here are some extra tips and tricks from Melanie.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
Many of us have been guilty at one time or another of hiding our beautiful faces behind an oversized scarf. It’s one thing to do this because you’re bitterly cold and wearing it for practical intentions, but any other reason is no reason at all!
Large scarves are generally unattractive as they completely overwhelm your face by swallowing up your neckline and also make your head look smaller. If you love the color or pattern of the scarf, Melanie recommends repurposing oversized scarves as sarongs for the beach or pool.
When to Spring Clean Your Collection
Scarves are easy gifts to give, and there is a good reason for this – they can be quite impersonal. We have a tendency to hang on to presents from those we care about, as we feel we shouldn’t throw them out.
If you have not worn a scarf for a long time, it’s probably best to get rid of it, as you’re unlikely to use it. You probably don’t really like it or know it doesn’t suit you so rip off the bandage and move on! Giving good quality items to charity means it will at least get some use from someone who really needs it and is more environmentally friendly than it ending up in a landfill.
When Fashion for Older Women Means Less Is More
Many of us assume we need to do something to make our accessories stand out. When it comes to fashion for older women, accessories should complement your outfit rather than detract from it.
Small changes such as draping a scarf to cover a low-cut top, rather than tying it around the neck, can make all the difference.
It’s important to be careful to not create too many contrasts by mixing two patterns together between your clothing and scarf, as it looks too busy. Melanie recommends using a patterned scarf with plain jackets or dresses, and a single color scarf when wearing patterned clothing.
Jodie Filogomo, another fashion contributor, goes over the three main types of scarves and how to wear each one.
The Small Scarf
Jodie says that small scarves are a great way to add color near your face. This especially holds true if you happen to be wearing a top with a color that isn’t the best for your complexion.
Small scarves can also keep you warm even if it is such a small piece of material.
One of the styles that Jodie has been noticing lately is the bandanna. Since bandannas now come in many colors, they can be a fun accessory without having to look like a cowboy!
Jodie mentions that there are a couple of ways to wear these neck scarves. Most of these items start off square in shape, so if you fold them in half diagonally you will have a nice triangle when you tie the ends in the back. Sometimes the tied ends can be left in the front and be your decoration!
She also suggests that it is possible to place the triangle of material at your shoulder – and if it doesn’t want to stay by itself, a pin or brooch can stabilize it.
You can also roll the square scarf when it’s still square or when it’s folded in half so it’s more like a tube. Then you only have a small amount of material showing at your neck! She says that another option to create this look is to take a regular length, thin scarf and wrap it a couple of times around your neck.
The Blanket Scarf
Jodie explains that another scarf that has been making an appearance everywhere is the blanket scarf. She warns that this scarf is definitely more challenging for most of us. It’s quite big and bulky and can be hard to figure out.
She says to look at it no differently than a wrap, or even a poncho. If you start off trying to wear it that way, then in no time you’ll also be slinging one of the ends over your shoulder and feeling very glamorous.
Jodie suggests that these blanket scarves are the perfect piece to take on the airplane when traveling. They can act as your blanket if it’s cold, or you can use them as a pillow for your head. I love this idea!
Another fun tip Jodie suggests for these larger scarves is to add a brooch (or two, or three) to either hold them together or to add some bling to them.
The Infinity Scarf
According to Jodie, the infinity scarf is relatively easy to wear. It’s already ‘tied’ so you don’t have to worry about what to do with it. Just slide it over your head, and it acts as a fabric necklace.
Jodie says that you can always make an infinity scarf out of almost any other scarf. Just tie the ends of your long scarf together in a small knot, and then loop it around your neck.
Josephine Lawlan, long-time fashion consultant and owner of the fashion website Chic at Any Age, as well as her own shop in St. Tropez, France, was happy to share with our community how we can use scarves to create bold and beautiful new outfits.
How Josephine Became a Scarf Fanatic
After visiting St. Tropez for many years to enjoy the café’s and shops, she found herself being drawn to the beautiful scarves that were sold there. She began buying a few and it never failed – no matter what scarf she wore or used, she received compliments.
Most people wanted to know where she bought them and commented on how creatively she used the scarf with her outfit. Josephine decided to open her own scarf shop and feature them on her website.
The White Top Transformation
A brightly colored scarf simply draped around the neck can easily transform an unimaginative and boring white shirt into a beautiful wardrobe piece.
Josephine says that the French don’t usually bother with fancy knots or intricate folds, they are most casual about simply tossing a scarf over whatever they are wearing and occasionally using them as a shawl.
The Necklace Knot
One of Josephine’s most popular looks is called the necklace fold or necklace knot. Taking a long scarf, simply tie a few knots down the length of it. Then wrap it around your neck and tie it in the back for a “necklace” made from a scarf.
You can use this same technique to make a headband to cover your hair on those bad hair days or wrap it around your waist for an instant belt. The possibilities are as varied as scarves are!
A Variety of Tying and Folding Techniques
Josephine says that the hottest scarves right now are leopard prints. While you might not want to purchase a leopard print dress or jacket, a scarf can add that touch of modern style without being overwhelming.
Simply by wrapping a large, leopard print scarf around the neck and shoulders, then securing it in place with a belt, you’ve created a top that is simply stunning.
Get the Most out of Your Scarves
I love scarves, and over the years have tried many different styles, knots and combinations. In this video, I demonstrate how I get the most out of my favorite scarves.
And if you have a favorite scarf but don’t know how to get creative with it, I hope the video below will help you. In it I demonstrate the many different ways that I wear the same scarf.
I hope that you found these tips for wearing scarves useful!
Do you love scarves? What lengths and patterns are your favorite? How many scarves to do you currently own? What do you think is the essence of fashion for women over 60? Please let me know in the comments section.
Let’s Have a Conversation!