It was Wallis Simpson who said you can never be too thin, too rich or have too many scarves. I’m sure she always intended to add the bit about the scarves, if not she should have because it is a truth universally acknowledged, that you can never have too many scarves.
I am completely addicted to the scarf. It’s not a new addiction, a passing fad. Nor am I entirely sure how or when it moved from being a recreational pursuit to an almost daily habit. It has been with me for many years and I’m guessing that it has a strong genetic link. It can’t be a co-incidence that I’m wearing scarves my Grandmother collected in London and Paris in the 50’s and 60’s.
Her scarves are all silk, square, except for a grey and pale pink polka dot sash that ties at the throat, like one of the Pink Ladies in Grease.
My three daughters all have the scarf-wearing chromosome and happily enable my addiction with regular gifts. Mothers’ Day just gone saw me presented with a fabulous Leopard Print Witchery scarf, which I have practically lived in ever since. It has replaced last year’s favourite – a Jac + Jack cream and soft caramel fine wool striped shawl.
I have scarves I have knitted from hand-dyed silk yarn bought at Paddington Markets, soft Alpaca from New Zealand – and now I’ve revealed my other addiction – knitting. But lets deal with one addiction at a time. (I have several, by the way, beautiful stationery, fabric, champagne, Johnny Depp). Scarves found me in New York, Florence and London and one particularly delicate, hand-batiked silk one found its way into my suitcase in Ubud. But I still remember my first scarf. A Mulberry swirl of purple, red and cream tasselled cotton bought at Liberty of London, twenty-five years ago. I wore it ’til it fell apart and it lived out its final days in my children’s dress-up box.
There was a time when scarves were only worn tied neatly at the neck, the way my Grandmother wore hers, occasionally secured by a brooch. Sometimes they were protectively wrapping ‘The Do’ for a day’s hunting like The Queen. Or as stripey, scratchy, tribal sporting equipment. Now scarves are shawl-like, looped at the throat and left to fall softly covering flabby tums and muffin tops (from the excessive champagne drinking addiction). They transform the simple choice of jeans and a top into an Outfit. Change the scarf and it’s a new outfit. And if like me, you’ve had a Style guru tell you that black is just not your colour, instead of ditching your entire wardrobe, scarves are the solution.
And scarves are a year round option, not just a winter-warmer to wear while you slurp pumpkin soup in front of the dying embers of your radiator. I have two favourite summer staples. A watercolour, muted Pucci skinny silk sash and a black and white, scalloped edged silk rectangle from Dolce & Gabbana.
As addictions go, I’m pretty committed to it and fantasize about the day when I can combine it with at least two of my others – champagne and Johnny Depp.