Introducing the Twilly: a fun way to express your style in silk
A Twilly adds a sleek and sophisticated finishing touch to any outfit. You might be wondering what is a Twilly, and how to wear it? In this article I introduce this lovely and fun way to express your style. I will start with the history of the Twilly, because even though the term has only recently been enjoying a revival, it has a long history! I will also discuss how the versatile Twilly differs from an ordinary long or square silk scarf, and demonstrate the different ways you can wear this chic accessory, with a step by step guide to 8 different options!
What is a Twilly?
First developed by the famous French luxury brand, Hermes, the Twilly is a long, narrow double sided twill silk ‘ribbon’ that, unlike it’s larger square siblings, can be worn in so many diverse ways: as a piece of jewelery: as a bracelet, a hair tie, a belt, a handbag accessory, or simply as a chic tie round your neck. The name ‘Twilly’ is a diminutive form indicating it is meant to be having fun, a ‘candy size’ version of the more serious full silk carré. The term also refers to the technique used to weave the silk from which it is made, Twill, creating a very strong yet smooth finish.
History of the Twilly
The Twilly was first introduced by Hermes in the 1930s, with one story suggesting that they were originally destined for braiding into equestrian head dresses (though I have been unable to verify this). One thing is for sure, the versatility of the Twilly quickly made it popular with customers!
Genuine Twillies are always made from 100% Silk Twill, and ours are made in Como, Italy, where the finest silk has been produced for over 500 years! Silk production started in Como in the 15th century when the Lord of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, ordered Mulberry trees, the food of the silkworm, to be planted in the Lake Como region. This enabled the development of Italian silk production and by the 17th century the silks produced in Como were in high demand throughout Europe.
Although today the raw silk thread is produced and imported mainly from China, then woven and finished in Como, there is a revival of silk production in the region. Thanks to greater demand for sustainable production as well as increasing costs of supply from China, silkworm cultivation and raw silk production in the Como region is gradually increasing.
What is absolutely wonderful about a Twilly?
There are several reasons to have a Twilly or a selection of them for each outfit and range of styles you love to wear. First, its petite size is perfect for adding a dash of colour or pattern to an outfit without dominating it. For example, if you want to elevate the classic jeans and white t-shirt? Grab a Twilly and thread it through a couple of your belt loops. Going for the professional head-to-toe black outfit? Make it your own with a subtle dash of colour by tying your Twilly at the wrist or neck! Out on the town with friends, pull up your hair with a Twilly tie.
Second, it is super practical! Once tied or pinned in place, it stays in place, it doesn’t tend to move around or need to be adjusted as often as many larger scarves. For summer heat, it is perfect as it doesn’t add any thermal effect to your outfit. The Twilly is also a great way to protect or revive the handles of your favourite bag, either by wrapping completely along the handle, or just tying at the base of the handle. One of the things I love about the Twilly is that, as someone with a short neck (and short stature), the smaller dimensions of the Twilly allow me to tie it around my neck without swamping my proportions.
Third, wearing a Twilly at the neck provides an oh-so-subtle hint of authority. Did you know that having a bare neck and shoulder area can convey a sense of vulnerability? By wearing an accessory at your neckline or high on the shoulder, this helps to draw the eye to your face and the attention to you are saying.
Here at Louis Jane we have defined our own version of the Twilly, in 8 glorious prints. We have opted for a slightly wider band as compared with the classic Hermes Twilly, to allow even more versatility in how you wear it. Fold it lengthways to achieve the Hermes-style wrist tie, or wear full width in your hair or as a soft bow at your neck.
8 Fabulous ways to wear a Twilly, with step-by-step instructions:
1) The Twilly Knot
The simplest way to wear a Twilly is by creating a chic knot around your neck.
- Drape the twilly around your neck, with one end slightly longer than the other.
- Pass the longer end over the shorter end, creating a loop, and bring the end up through and over the top of the loop.
- Create another loop around the back of the shorter end and pull the longer end through on itself.
- Position the knot either to the side, or centre, depending on your mood.
- Drape the twilly around your neck so you have equal lengths on each side.
- Start the bow by tying a simple knot, take the right hand length, pass over the left, and pull up through the loop created.
- Make a loop with the length on the side of your non-dominant hand and hold in place with that hand.
- With the other hand, pass the long end around the back of the loop and push it through to make a loop. This ensures the front centre part of the bow will be nice and flat.
- Pull both loops till a firm knot is created in the centre.
- Adjust the loops till they give you the proportion you like.
3) Wrist Wrap
A great alternative to a bracelet, this creates a statement piece for your wrist:
- Fold the twilly lengthways.
- Place your wrist in the centre of the twilly
- wrap each end around your wrist
- tie a simple knot
- Wrist Wrap variation 1: allow a long tail by placing your wrist towards one end and just wrapping over once before tying off
- Wrist Wrap variation 2: tie in a bow instead of a knot
- Wrist Wrap variation 3: create more of a bracelet style by tying the knot on the top of your wrist, and folding or tying off the ends of the twilly on the underside of your wrist.
4) Twilly Headband
- You may need a couple of hairpins to keep this in place if you have particularly fine or smooth hair.
- Decide how wide you want the band – full width, half width, or something in between, and fold lengthways to achieve the right width for you.
- Place the centre of the twilly on the top of your head, and take the ends under your hair, to the nape of your neck.
- Tie a knot at the nape of your neck. If necessary, secure with pins behind the ears.
- If you prefer, you can tie it with the knot at the top of your head.
- Tie your hair in a ponytail.
- Pass the twilly through a loop of your hairband, underneath the ponytail, to secure it. Decide if you want the twilly to make one, or two parts of your braid. For one, leave most of the twilly on one side, with just enough of one end in the hairband to keep it in place. To achieve two parts, make sure the centre of the twilly is secured under the band.
- Start to braid your hair, using the twilly for either one or two parts of the braid.
- Secure the end with a colour matched band.
A standard length twilly is about 86cm, which for many people is not quite long enough to use as a compete belt. Instead, you can thread the twilly through two belt loops to one side of the button, and tie in a simple knot to add a dash of colour.7) Camelia Belt Knot
Create a Camelia Rose-style knot using the twilly and one belt loop, this can be worn with or without a separate belt. To create a Camelia knot:
- Loop the twilly behind one belt loop, so that you have an equal amount of the twilly on each side.
- Pass one end over the other and loop through to create a simple knot to hold it in place.
- Start twisting the two ends over each other, clockwise, to create a rope-like pattern. Stop when you have between 5-10cm of twilly left.
- Hold the ends together and start coiling the twilly around itself at the beltloop to create a rose-like pattern. Do this also in a clockwise direction.
- With each pass around, the coil should be tucked behind the previous coil so it resembles a rose.
- When you have just the flat ends left, pass them in opposite directions around the base of the knot and tie off.
This works best for small and medium handbag handles – long shopper handles would most likely need two twilly lengths to completely wrap the handle.
- First step, slide about 5-10cm of the twilly from the behind one side of your handle, so that the 5-10cm length of the twilly is towards the centre of the handbag, with the main length to the outside.
- Tie a knot by pulling both ends towards you, passing the short end under the long end and looping over the top of the long end, creating a loop. Pass the short end down through the loop, and pull tight.
- Start wrapping the long end around the handle, pulling the twilly tight with each wrap, ensuring each loop overlaps the previous edge by about 1cm – or more if your handle is quite small.
- When you get to the other end, you will need to repeat the process to tie off the end. Keep your last loop loose enough to be able to pass the end through so that about the same amount of ‘tail’ is left as on the other side, and pull tight. If you have a little too much twilly left over, either make an extra couple of wraps, or overlap each wrap a little more so you end up with the same amount at each end.
The Twilly is a fabulously versatile accessory to style up or beautifully complement your outfit, and with its cute size is a perfect treat for any time!
Let us know how you add your own style twist to the Twilly in the comments below!