How to choose a scarf for yourself or as a gift to love and wear for years!
I recently had the pleasure of witnessing my teenage niece ‘raiding’ her Italian grandmother’s wardrobe. Greta (my 17yr old niece) wrapped an exquisite piece of silk around her neck and did a little twirl, begging her grandma to pass along this beautiful silk scarf to her.
What I loved most was watching the glow of absolute pleasure arrive on her Grandmother's face, knowing that something she had chosen for herself decades ago was now bringing delight to her grand daughter. And it was true! The colours and pattern of this scarf from the early 1980s, were just perfect for Greta.
The connection across time and generations that this scarf brought to Greta and Grandma struck me as truly beautiful. Greta genuinely wanted to express her own style among her friends by wearing something filled with personal meaning and history.
This is one of the magical things about scarves. Because when a woman chooses a scarf it is based on a personal connection. Something about the colours, the motifs, the mood it evokes, causes her spirit to light up! It puts me in mind of the Mary Oliver poem “The spirit likes to dress up like this”. A scarf is something timeless, that helps give expression to your spirit. It is not subject to trends. No. It is subject only to how it makes you feel.
A perfect combination of fashion and function, scarves are amazingly versatile. Across cultures and throughout history, scarves feature in iconic ways – from Ancient Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti, to Ingres’ neoclassical painting of the Bather of Valpincon (1808)
to Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s,
to Queen Elizabeth II today, the use of scarves adds a unique touch that remains relevant and symbolic (and don't you think this purple colour on the Queen looks absolutely stunning? totally her colours!).
Designed to be loved and enjoyed over and over, every Louis Jane scarf offers timeless elegance and sustainable sophistication. Hand crafted in Como, Italy from 100% natural silk and cashmere, they feel heavenly to wear and at one with your skin. Our scarves make an ideal gift – for yourself, or for friends and loved ones for a number of reasons:
- Accessible: With so many different types of scarves to choose from – a large silk square scarf, a long silk scarf, designer silk twilly, cashmere and silk scarves, oversized wraps and more, there’s something for every person’s shape and size, that makes it a timeless and accessible gift option. We never have to worry about size or fit – this has to be a scarf’s USP!
- Long-lasting: If well cared for, a scarf can last for years – even generations! In particular, our noble natural materials such as silk and cashmere offer a luxurious quality, making an ideal gift that can be cherished forever and be useful at the same time. Many beautiful silk scarves such as a silk square scarf become family heirlooms – to be loved and passed on to future generations.
- Suitable for all occasions: Scarves can be worn year-round for any occasion! They are the perfect thing to keep in your handbag in case you quickly need to style up an outfit, add a layer of warmth, or even, in these pandemic times, adapt as a face-covering if you are caught without a mask.
- Easy to parcel: They are lightweight to carry in your bags and suitcases while traveling, easily sent by parcel to a distant friend or relative.
- Outfit transformers: Scarves instantly transform your overall look and give your outfit an edge. They add a certain uniqueness whether you are wearing a simple shift dress, jeans and t-shirt or an elegant jacket.
Yet, with so many patterns and colours to choose from, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to find one you or your special someone will love. So here is a handy 4-step guide to help you.
The Louis Jane Guide to Choosing the Right Scarf
A personal connection
Most guides will start with technical factors such as shape, scale, colour. We cover these too, but first and foremost the key to choosing the scarf you love is to consider how it makes you feel! Our artist and creative director, Louise Wannier, in speaking with hundreds of women over the years she has been developing her original surface designs, observes that the right choice is the one that “LIGHTS up the woman within…our essence…our soul spirit…" Just as I watched my neice and her grandmothers faces light up in the same moment - there was a soul connection, this shared moment connects with the scarf and it holds special meaning for their lives.
The energy within a scarf's design should appeal to your heart, your emotion, your soul. The patterns of a Louis Jane scarf represent Where Nature Meets ArtTM . Our scarves express the energy and life within nature, something we truly connect with. So start off by seeking out the patterns that really connect with you, that say, in the words of Mary Oliver, ‘the spirit likes to dress up like this’.
Once you have identified a few scarves that naturally appeal to you, the next thing to consider is the shape of scarf for your special someone.
Long scarves are an easy classic, the simplest option for someone who just likes to get ready and go with minimal fuss. Long scarves can be looped around the neck, tied in a variety of knots, worn as a head scarf, or tied as a belt.
We offer long scarves in 100% silk, or in a silk/cashmere blend.
Square scarves are very versatile, as they can be tied in a large number of ways, depending on how you fold a square to start with: into a triangle, a rectangle, or pleated into a long narrow scarf. Each starting point can create numerous different looks.
There are 3 sizes to choose from:
- oversized, 140cmx140cm, which is perfect for winter layering and for summer beachwear. Our oversized squares can double as a top, dress, skirt, bag, and of course be worn as a scarf wrapped around the shoulders or neck.
- Large square: in 90x90cm, this size is great for wearing round the neck, as a bolero style jacket, a shawl or a head scarf. There are many beautiful knots to try with a square scarf.
- Small square, 70x70cm this is a petite bandana size, great for a light touch of chic at the neck or tied in hair.
Twilly scarves are a narrow double sided ribbon-style scarf, named after the iconic twill ribbon scarf invented by Hermes. Twilly scarves are ideal for people who want to add a splash of colour or pattern to an outfit without overwhelming it, and without feeling too warm (this is especially perfect if you are going through menopause, and/or living in a warm climate).
Twillys can be worn around the neck, tied on the wrist, on a handbag or worn in the hair.
When choosing patterns there are a few factors to bear in mind, that help ensure you (or the person you are buying for) will love and wear this scarf for years to come
- Relaxed/Natural – doesn’t often wear prints, tends to gravitate towards neutral colours. Our Watercolours design is a subtle pattern in muted shades that Louise Wannier, our artist/founder designed from her photography looking at the light coming through a Japanese cherry tree; or our Leaves long cashmere & silk scarf is perfect for this style personality
- Classical/Traditional – stripes and spots, low-key geometrics, maybe a small floral design, are the preferred pattern families for this style personality. Nothing too big or flamboyant. Our Vivaia Twilly with its neat proportions and naturally small geometry works well for expressing a classical style, as does the Reef Bark long scarf. The Reef Bark surface pattern was designed by Louise as a textile art ode to her soul hero, Madame Chanel herself!
- Romantic or Bohemian – something a little more dreamy, florals, soft colours are the natural go-to for this style personality. Camelia Cream, Water Rose or Fresh Beauty are all designs that suit the Romantic style.
- Dramatic – bold, striking design and colour that express a strong personality and self-confidence. Open Heart, Wild Bounty, French Roses each present strong elements of colour and pattern that work perfectly for this style personality.
- Creatives – have an inimitable style that is ‘just so’ – seldom afraid to try colour or pattern, as they always have a way to make it work for them! Sea of Poppies, Berica Breeze, Reef Bark, Japanese Orchid are sure to please a creative style personality.
- Truly Chic – we all have that friend who is immaculately turned out whatever the occasion (how does she manage to make even sweat pants look chic?). Usually keeps things fairly understated but with an edge. Japanese Orchid and Berica Breeze – in a Twilly or Oversized Shawl – are spot-on for this style personality.
As a general rule of thumb, petite proportions need smaller scale prints; taller or larger proportions look great in larger scale prints.
Colour is truly transformational, but it is best to work with the right tones for your individual colouring. Did you know that your colouring changes through different life stages? And that you can wear all colours, but it is the tone (cool vs warm) that is the crucial factor to get right? Take the colour Red, for example. If you have soft, warm colouring then a warm red with orange undertones (think tomatoes) works well for you, whereas this shade of red could make someone with cool colouring look ill! For a cool, clear complexion (think dark hair, pale skin, bright eyes) reds with deep berry tones work much better. So having a good idea of which tone families suit your colouring is super helpful.
Bonus tip: you can get away with wearing any colour you like, and still look fabulous if you ensure that the colour closest to your face is one that really suits you. This is where scarves definitely come into their own, as even a ‘wardrobe mistake’ can be turned into a success with the right scarf!
Navigating the vast choice of this outstanding accessory becomes much easier when you start off by using your emotional connection first, gravitating towards the scarves whose design and energy appeal to your heart and soul. Then consider shape – an oversize square, a long wrap, a petite Twilly? Which shape suits your needs and budget right now? Then factor in the style personality of the person you are buying for, and finally, colouring. With these steps you cannot go wrong in choosing a scarf that will be treasured and loved for many years to come!