2 In Getting Dressed

Pulling out a trick to tame a scarf

Maggan's scarf gets tamed on Brenda Kinsel website

Taking control of the volume of this scarf


You are looking at a gray scarf I’ve had for years but never worn. My Swedish friend, Maggan, gave it to me one Thanksgiving. She knew I’d go crazy for the fabric and I did.

This scarf has body beyond belief. It’s a square scarf with permanent pleating. It’s got mighty spring back action to it. It’s not submissive like silk chiffon. It wants what it wants.

Because I love it and because I love Maggan, I’ve always wanted to use it. I couldn’t tame it for an outfit so I started using it to decorate a table.

Here it is in this Oscar party collage, up there in the right hand corner with Hog Island Oysters giving it company.


Using a scarf as a table decoration on Brenda Kinsel website

Maggan’s scarf partners with raw oysters on Oscar night


I had a firm, decisive moment on Friday morning: make that scarf work in an outfit!

I tried a few different things. I turned the square scarf into an oblong one and wrapped it around my neck and tied it in front. It was so bunched up at my neck that my shortest earrings were laying on top of the scarf, like it was a shelf.

I tried folding it into a triangle and putting the triangle in front. Not so good, still too much volume. I kept the triangle shape, wrapped the ends around the back of my neck and went to tie a small knot under the front triangle. Still no good.

Then I did an old trick that I used to use back in the ’80s or ’90s when we were wearing big square scarves. I laid the scarf on the floor and pulled it from the very center and made a knot. I flipped the knot to the inside and grabbed a couple of free ends and firmly knotted them at the back of my neck. It worked!


The center knot on the inside takes away the bulk on this scarf on Brenda Kinsel website

What this scarf needs is a knot on the inside at the center.


I’m crazy about the drama of this scarf and even though it takes up half my chest area, I am wildly content. (Yup, I meant to put those two words together!)


Comfy and cozy in my shades of gray on Brenda Kinsel website

Enjoying my tamed scarf


It was another one of our cold and cloudy days in Sonoma (the heat is supposed to arrive this week) so I wore a column of black: black knit pants, slim; black long-sleeved T-shirt, pretty slim; black booties. I added a linen gray cropped-and-sort-of-messy cardigan and buttoned the top button. I loved the play on shades of gray and loved the structure of the scarf with the loose structure of the cardigan. It felt playful.

I didn’t do much with jewelry: the scarf was the jewelry. I just added a gray faceted earring and some gunmetal rings and went off to meet a client at Uber Optics. I was proud as a peacock. Thanks, Maggan!


shades of gray are A-okay on Brenda Kinsel website

Loving the drama of this scarf!


Are there scarf tricks you use a lot? Do share!


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  • Reply
    Lisa White
    May 17, 2016 at 6:17 am

    LOVE!!!! This scarf is incredible. I love a little body in a scarf and I am always looking for new ways to style them. This is fabulous and it frames your face so beautifully. I enjoy watching Eileen Fisher scarf tying videos and also have found a few new amazing ones from around the world. The knot trick is a great trick. When the material has too much body, I resort to using an elastic ponytail band to secure the bunch. It eliminated trying to tie heavier fabric and leaves less of a …well…knot…meaning it lays down flatter. However, for the piece you have, a thinner pleated fabric, the knot is ideal. You have styled your scarf brilliantly and I wish I had a friend like Maggan. What a hands-down, incredible gift. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy just looking at it.

    • Reply
      May 17, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      I wish everyone had a friend like Maggan! She was a fashion editor of a magazine so we’re always talking fashion and accessories! And sharing them too. Yes, I have used that ponytail band trick in the past and that was going to be my next resort if this didn’t work. I still may try it and see how it works. I was so happy with the interesting way this scarf arranged itself once I got the knot in there that I stopped my experimenting. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, Lisa!

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