How to Elegantly Wear a Scarf

By Abby and Elle

Scarves are trending for fall, but many of our friends tell us they’re unsure how to wear one. They’re afraid of looking awkward, or they fear getting the scarf caught on a doorknob and being pulled to the floor and choked to death. (Full disclosure: Scarves can be dangerous, and Isadora Duncan’s story is proof!)

But we’ve never had any kind of a scarf scare, so we highly recommend tying one on. Scarves are perfect for all kinds of weather, and this short video will show you how to wear one elegantly:

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You, Too, Can Wear a Monet

By Abby and Elle

This hand-painted silk scarf was a gift from a lovely woman Elle works with. The scarf is from In Stitches and was made by the women of Stitching Hope in Nicaragua. The scarf is fabulous because it:

  • looks like a Monet painting or a spring garden
  • is giant, which makes it versatile
  • doubles as a blanket when you’re in a meeting room that’s 55 degrees (Yeah, that happened this week. Every woman in the meeting was cocooning; thus, raising two questions: 1) Why are dudes never cold? and 2) Where’s a Snugli when you need one?)
  • helps support women in developing countries
  • was a fitting gift, which makes it extra special

Elle already had the perfect skirt (an ivory linen Orvis, $16) to go with the scarf, sourced from It’s So You boutique in Willoughby, but she had to hunt for a top, which she found in no time at the local Salvation Army (Ann Taylor petite, $3). She feels the same way about slips as she does hose, but this skirt needed one. Goodwill to the rescue! The Fidji shoes were inspired by her footwear haul in Germany. We won’t mention the cost, except to say THEY ARE TOTALLY WORTH IT AND SHE’D EVEN PAY DOUBLE. Yeah, they’re Dang Superb, they are, and if one can worship shoes, these are worth the glory.

So take a look at what Elle wore today and be sure to check out In Stitches!

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Local Artist’s Fiber Fantastic Shawls: Learn Where to Get Yours!

Abby modeling an MZ Bead shawl

Abby looks as if she’s drenched in strands upon strands of pearls

By Abby and Elle

Here’s a local artist you need to know: Marci Zabell Bone, proprietor of MZ Beads. She’s the talent behind these gorgeous shimmery (and affordable) fiber fantastic shawls that can be worn many, many ways — and any way they’re worn, they look stunning.

We spent time with Marci to see her elegant creations up close, find out where she’s showing next (hint: Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens), and to get her take on the Cleveland style scene.

We even videotaped a demo on how to wear and care for — they’re self-healing! — her shawls.

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Accessory Essentials

By Abby and Elle

The right accessories can help you do a lot with a little. You’ll be shocked how easy it is to change the look of an outfit just by adding accessories.

Some items to have in your closet:

  • Tights
  • Scarves
  • Belts

Tights  We love buying tights — we’re always on the lookout for them — and usually the funkier, the better. It’s easy to find tights on sale, so if we’re in a store — particularly a department store — we’ll usually check to see what they have. We’ve gotten very lucky shopping this way. We try not to pay more than $5/pair (Cleveland, Ohio, pricing).


We don’t have criteria for buying tights except size, of course. And we always have a couple pairs of basic plain black, grey and brown tights. Otherwise, it’s anything goes!


Fishnet-style tights are fun, but beware that they easily catch on things and rip. (Another reason not to pay handsomely for a pair.) Elle loves thick wooly tights for winter, which look especially nice with suede boots, short or tall. You also can dress up a pair of basic tights with over-the-knee socks (that is a dang sexy look, is it not?). She has a pair of plain grey OTK socks to wear with patterned tights, and a few pairs of patterned OTK socks to wear with plain tights.

Don’t be afraid to mix patterns. Below is a terrific example of mixing striped thigh highs with a plaid skirt. Winner!


Scarves  What can we say except versatile, versatile, versatile! See these blog entries: Scarf This Down and Celebrating My Inner Gypsy for more on scarves.

Belts  We personally are not a big fan of belts — honestly, Elle believes they slow her down when she needs to use the restroom — but belts can be an important accessory, particularly if you’re wearing them over a shirt or dress, which we rarely do.

In any case, sometimes you need a belt, so it’s a good idea to have a couple, at least in a basic style, in black and in brown. Avoid wasting your money on trashy styles, though you can and should apply the “tights criteria” above to belt buying.

So tell us, which is your fave accessory?

Fashion 9-1-1 — What Length Scarf?

Dear Abby and Elle: I have a handkerchief size neck scarf that is used as an accessory tied with a simple knot. Lately I have been seeing very long scarves tied, wrapped around, elaborately knotted, and hanging down to the waist. May I still wear the much smaller one, or do I have to drag all that excess material around my neck? –Unsure

Dear Unsure: Aren’t scarves fabulous? We love how they can be used as a simple accessory or as another piece of clothing, depending on their size.

Handkerchief scarf

Handkerchief scarf

Smaller scarves tend to offer a neater, more conservative look. Here’s a favorite (Ann Taylor) that looks just right over a black or grey turtleneck, and the whimsical design helps to temper its conservative nature. By the same token, if you love wearing low v-neck tops but don’t want to appear too “spicy,” try tying a small scarf around your neck to provide a bit of balance.

We love these two crinkle scarves, picked up in a boutique in Pennsylvania. They are easily tied around the neck and offer just the right splash of color. Because the material is lightweight, they work especially well with summer fashions.

Crinkle scarves

Crinkle scarves

Small scarves are here to stay, and if you’re more comfortable tying a small square around your neck rather than one the size of a bedsheet, by all means.

Of course, smaller scarves can only be tied so many ways, so check out this resource for some fresh ideas: 37 Ways to Tie a Scarf. Happy knotting!

Scarf This Down

By Elle

Scarves are essential when it comes to offering versatility, and I love wearing them in the cooler months for added warmth. There’s something about having soft, warm material cozied up to my neck and chest that I find comforting.

Scarlet turtleneck with floral scarf

Scarlet turtleneck with light grey stripes paired with floral scarf

Some people like to mix textures, like wearing a summery cotton scarf with a wooly sweater, but I’m not one of those people. I’m more of a purist because I think the end result looks more polished, more thoughtful — seriously, more natural.

Scarves not only are a great addition to any wardrobe, but they also can be an excuse to get funky.  I’ve recently been mixing patterned scarves, such as one with flowers, with patterned tops, such as one with stripes. In this example, red is the dominant color in both items, and I think the combination works especially well because the grey stripes on the turtleneck are subtle.

Summer tank duo with cotton scarf

Summer tank duo with cotton scarf

I’m quite picky about my scarves; I don’t just buy them willy-nilly. If I see one that I like, there are criteria to be met! I need to:

  • Make sure I like the texture
  • Consider the length/size
  • Think about how I might wear it: Around my neck? Shoulders? Hips?
  • Consider what I’ll wear it with
Sleeveless cowl neck top with lace scarf

Sleeveless cowl neck top with lace scarf bought in a Bloomington, IN, boutique

If you typically wear solids (which I tend to do), add spice to your outfit with patterned scarves, and vice versa.

And don’t disregard scarves in the summer months. You can find a number of light cotton scarves that look fabulous with tank tops — and provide a little comfort if you find yourself in an over-air-conditioned establishment.