As we sat there sipping champagne and pomegranate tea and enjoying an array of delicious sandwiches, buttery scones and delicate pastries, we chatted away about this and that and everything else. We had a lot of catching up to do.
Before we knew it, it was time for good-bye hugs and kisses. I slipped on my tweed jacket and wrapped my scarf in a casual double loop around my neck. It’s one of my favorite fall scarves -- deep ocher, striped with bright crimson, mossy green and golden brown. I always feel wrapped in the warm glow of autumn colors when I wear it.
“You see what you just did?” D said. “It’s just perfect, and you didn’t even need to look in the mirror. You’re so French.”
“I may have French blood, but don’t forget that I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I’m really just an all-American girl.”
“Hah! “ she responded. “All-American girls don’t do scarves like that. You’ve got to be French to do that.”
For the average American woman, the words “French Style” conjure up an image of a skinny lady in stilettos wearing a scarf. Now, we all know that not every Frenchwoman is thin and the boulevards of Paris are full of Parisiennes in ballet flats and sneakers…………..but that scarf thing…………they really do have a “thing” for their scarves. And in that regard, I fall right in line.
|Scarf Weather (Rebecca Sower)|
The truth is that the scarf is the perfect accessory and the easiest way to bring a pop of color near your face, hide a few unsightly neck wrinkles and turn a Tee-shirt and jeans into an outfit. It’s the perfect completer piece and traveling companion and takes up little or no space as it folds flat to be tucked away in a drawer or suitcase.
It seems odd to me that there is something about the Frenchwoman and her obsession with her scarf that brings out a curious mixture of admiration and exasperation in American women today. I remember a time when the well-dressed American woman always wore a silk scarf. When did silk scarves go the way of the embroidered hankie? Did the hippie dippie 60s make them seem too old-fashioned, too Great Aunt Edna to go with love beads and peace signs?
The scarf helped get women through the Second World War when hats, shampoo and other beauty essentials were in short supply. They learned how to drape them around their heads in chic turbans to hide unwashed hair.
Watch this 1942 Pathé short showing women how to turn their scarves into fashionable headgear.
Is it any wonder that the women of my mother’s generation loved their scarves so much?
And here might be the perfect place to remind you of the quintessential all-American girl from my hometown, Philadelphia, who practically wrote the book on how to wear a scarf.
Here, a small, patriotic Pucci scarf in red, white and blue encircles her slender neck -- so simple, so classic, so elegant.
On the set of “To Catch a Thief” (1955) looking absolutely gorgeous in pink dress and matching scarf with charming co-star, Cary Grant looking on. It was during a publicity event for this movie that Grace met her own prince charming in Monaco, Prince Rainier. They were married the following year.
And that, Ladies, is how the all-American girl wears a scarf -- proof positive that you don’t need a drop of French blood to “do” a scarf to perfection.
If you’d like a few pointers, here’s one of my favorite tutorials on the subject. It goes by fast, but if you see something you like, you can just click on it at the end for a refresher.