Wardrobe planning #07: My scarf journey – from market stalls to Hermès

Over the past six weeks, I have written about how I select colours and clothes for my wardrobe, now that I have retired from work. As you have seen, because of my lifestyle, poor health and weight fluctuations, I tend to wear fairly simple, comfortable clothes which are pretty low cost. To dress them up and try to create my own style, I use accessories.

Because my clothes generally fit into set colours – navy, brown, purple, turquoise, coral and cream – I use scarves, jewellery, handbags and footwear to create interest and sometimes add more colour. Some of these items are quite expensive as I tell myself that scarves, jewellery and handbags will last me out, even if my clothes don’t! So, the next few Monday posts will talk about my accessories.

I really hate it when people on TV reality shows go on about their “journey”! Ah well, I’m not going to talk about my whole life to provoke sympathy. Instead, this post is about how I began buying scarves on market stalls for a few pounds (and still do sometimes) and ended up spending £££ at Hermès.

The first scarf I can remember buying was a blue, purple and gold silk one from a cheap shop. I was in my late teens and I wore it for years until it fell apart – see image below. During my 20s and 30s I bought several scarves which I wore tied around my neck with blouses and shirts for work, or around my waist. I bought wool, cotton and man-made fibres, but kept coming back to silk when I could afford it. I still have two gauzy scarves that I bought in Spain on holiday in the 1970s and a lovely red, gold, lilac, pink and blue scarf with an autumnal design from the 1980s that I still wear regularly. You can read a post from last week where I was wearing it! This last one was from Accessorize, I think.

The Librain at 18 wearing silk scarf

The Librain at 18 wearing a silk scarf. The pointy collar!!!

Silk scarf from Accessorize

Silk scarf from Accessorize, bought over thirty years ago and still going strong!

I stopped wearing scarves whilst my children were young and when I went back to work I was in too much of a hurry in the mornings to bother. I bought a few for special occasions, like a teal silk velvet stole from Marks and Spencer in the 1990s. In fact, I have quite a collection of velvet and devoré stoles, but I hardly ever wear them these days. Perhaps they are due for a revival next winter!

My love of scarves kicked back in as my sons grew older. My mother used to buy them for me and knitted me loads in jolly colours to wear with coats and jackets in cold weather. Then when my mother died in 2012, I took a few of her scarves home to have a reminder of her when I wore them and I got the rest of mine out and reorganised them in a couple of drawers.

Then the bug hit! The serendipity of the Internet got me in its clutches and took me on a long ride. By now I was already very ill and contemplating retirement, thinking about what I could wear to cheer myself up. One day I raided Accessorize again and came home with a pile of new scarves, but I wasn’t really satisfied this time. I wanted to tie scarves in interesting ways, but was not sure what to do.

Then one thing led to another – Kettlewell Colours had a catalogue with an image of a  MaiTai scarf ring and so I went to her wonderful site to have a look. Her rings and scarf ties inspired me and I tried using her rings with the scarves in my collection. I then bought some new silk scarves from traders on Etsy – these were a step up in both design and colour.

Scarves bought via Etsy

Scarves bought via Etsy

Scarf vendors on Etsy, clockwise from top left – top left, top right and bottom right from TeresaMare; bottom centre by SilkScarvesColorado; bottom left by MinkuLUL.

One of my long-running love affairs has been with Liberty of London’s Ianthe pattern – many years ago I made a Roman blind in this fabric for my first house. So, thinking of this I went to the Liberty website and saw the perfect scarf in Ianthe – but the price!  How could I spend this much money on a scarf?

Ianthe silk scarf by Liberty of London

Ianthe silk scarf by Liberty of London

Well, to cut this long story shorter, I couldn’t get this scarf out of my head and so I saved up and bought it and, later, a Hera patterned scarf too. These looked so brilliant with my MaiTai scarf rings and I kept watching her videos and trying new ties. As I looked at MaiTai’s images, I was in awe of the spectacular Hermès scarves she models.

And so it happened – the slippery slope beckoned and I started the slide to…

La Promenade de Platon…

Le Promenade de Platon by Hermès

La Promenade de Platon by Hermès

I kept looking at the Hermès website, then going away, then coming back again. I loved everything about this particular scarf: the pattern, the theme (Ancient Greece), the wonderful colours. So, I saved and saved and saved and then, with trembling fingers, clicked on “Buy” – eek!

When the parcel arrived and I opened the famous orange box, I couldn’t quite believe the beauty of the scarf inside. So, as they say on The Purse Forum, I fell down the silky, slippery slope…

Since that day, I have bought more from Hermès and also ventured to Ferragamo and some other designers too. But nothing beats that first “hit”. Every couple of weeks or so, I will be posting about the individual scarves, starting with my H ones, on a Friday. I hope anyone visiting enjoys these “Scarf of the moment” posts.

Next week: Choosing and buying designer scarves online – some tips.

About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
This entry was posted in Scarves, Wardrobe, Wardrobe planning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Wardrobe planning #07: My scarf journey – from market stalls to Hermès

  1. Fiona Crawford says:

    I remember that blind in your first house. It was gorgeous!


    • The Librain says:

      I really loved that material and would love to have it again, but I don’t think Liberty do it in this colourway any more. I saw it first in Christine’s sister’s house and the pattern appeared as wallpaper in that recent TV programme The Halcyon. They had it in all of the bedroom sets!


  2. Blighty says:

    A great account of your H slippery scarf slide, you write very well. I love Promenade de Platon and can’t believe I don’t own this design…yet. It is so lovely and sought after it attracts high prices on evil Bay.


    • The Librain says:

      Sorry, I have only just noticed this comment. Thank you for being so nice about my writing. I am posting about this scarf on Friday and hope it will be of interest.


  3. MetzFan says:

    I’m another librarian who owns this exact colorway of this scarf! I’m enjoying your blog posts, and I hope you continue with them.


    • The Librain says:

      Thank you very much for your kind comment. In fact, Friday’s Scarf of the Moment post will be about La Promenade de Platon. I am writing it at the moment 😊


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