Scarves have long been elevated to a hot fashion accessory or an unmissable statement piece of cloth material so much so that it is now a must-have element in every fashionista’s wardrobe. A scarf is no longer a mere protective shield from summery heat, wintry chill or a monsoon drizzle. There’s more to that story today. With striking monochromes, in-your-face scribbles, kitschy motifs, a riot of colours and out-of-box patterns, this flowy, long, slippy, loose fabric has become a prized possession over time for many in the swish set.
Romance would be incomplete without silken scarves for multiple heroes on celluloid, which they flaunted so often in the song-and-dance routine while serenading their leading ladies. Either wrapped around their necks under a hat or girdled around wrists or fluttering in fists and around their fingers in the air, scarves always scored high on the style meter for the male protagonists in commercial flicks. Even the pretty sirens wore it as a veil on the head or a shoulder wrap or comfortably draped it as a dupatta over a western outfit. From a gaggle of sassy gals to a gang of cool dudes, scarves offer a perfect plea to bring out their footloose and happy-go-lucky side.
Designer Komal Shahani predicts scarves to make a huge comeback in 2023. “We’re seeing them everywhere from street-style fashion to high-end haute couture. From lightweight cotton neckerchiefs, bandanas in paisley prints to luxurious cashmere wraps, scarves will be a great fashion trend this year,” she volunteers.
Stylists advise to stock in more such stuff to prep for the hot and humid season as scarves are great layering pieces to cover the skin from excessive exposure to the scorching sun.
Couturier Masumi Mewawalla seconds the opinion that “besides beating the heat, scarves can be a protective garb for your skin to keep the dust and pollution at bay. No doubt, it’s a fun add-on to your closet”.
But scarves have scaled beyond its basic functionality of guarding the head, face and neck to transform into more of a style accessory over the years. “You can wear scarves in a number of smart ways like a neck-tie wrap, a summer top, a belt to amp up your outfit or as a hair tie,” instructs Mewawalla.
Musicians and bandsters love to use a scarf like a headband or a bandana. Scarves with meaningful slogans form a backdrop to champion noble causes or uphold protest movements held by swarming activists.
Highlighting its popularity as a summer accessory, Shahani explains that scarves and bandanas can accentuate your look by giving it a fun, playful and chic spin. Styling scarves can make a girl appear more feminine. So, accessorise it in the right manner. “Scarves can be worn as head wraps and rolled around a handbag strap. It is a fantastic way to dress up any handbag,” she shares.
Renowned fashion designer Anju Modi admits that scarves have come a long way in the fashion domain emerging as a cool adornment from its erstwhile muted avatar. “Sarongs and bandanas are like longer and shorter versions of a scarf, which are exalting beachwear fashion diktats with more finesse. There’s nothing like a plain or a printed soft scarf if you want to ace your carefree beach bum/belle look with a pair of cool eye shades and a cane hat,” she elaborates.
Palette and pattern
Other than silk, fabrics like linen, cotton, chiffon or even net and wool with crochet work are good options for weaving scarves.
Scarves are usually vividly colourful. Opt for a bright summer palette to don happy shades. Choose colour blocking with deep hues like hot pink and sunny yellow alongside some lighter summer tones like baby blue or lavender. Black, navy and grey are also best suited for the season as these tints appear most versatile.
Baroque, floral or geometric patterns enhance the look of a scarf. Silk scarves in exotic floral and animal prints (leopard or butterfly), tie and dye prints, gingham print, polka dots, tartan and houndstooth checks and bandana paisley prints can definitely upgrade the wearer’s overall get-up.
For a hip winter street-style fashion, pair a warm fringe scarf with tight denim jeans or skinnies, a classy corduroy jacket and your ankle booties. Bet, you can never go wrong in this combo to grab enough eyeballs. Silk scarves greatly compliment summer dresses, tank tops and shorts. A silk scarf with a T-shirt dress and khaki shorts while sporting a pair of sun glasses simply nails the look. “Scarves are a great addition to any ensemble outfit. Under our couture line and pret label, we included scarves in pant saree sets and dhoti sets. The same can be teamed up with other category of outfits,” suggests Mewawalla.
A perfect selection of accessories could make your day just by lifting your look and personality several notches higher. Apart from shaded glasses to block the sun’s glare, plus clutches and light jewellery, you could tag your scarves with the current flavours of the season, say handbags or belt bags, minimalist jewellery and headbands.