How I Shop for Scarves

21 Sep

Last week, I talked at length about how to tie scarves, and today, I’m discussing what I look for when I’m shopping for scarves.

These are my personal rules for scarf-buying, of which I do lots:

  • Stick to the long, rectangular ones.
    I have tried those square ones, but I always feel like a flight attendant.
  • Spend less than $10.
    I always hit up the clearance racks and cheapie places like Forever 21 and Old Navy.
  • Buy in person or from a store with free shipping and/or a good return policy.
    I have to feel the scarves before I know if I will like them. Sometimes, a print is great, but then the fabric is clingy or too heavy or the fringe is obnoxious.
  • Scarves must be soft.
    For example, some Old Navy ones are fine, but some are as scratchy as burlap. No compromising on this one!
  • Always have a white scarf.
    It works for all seasons and brightens up my face.  I usually find one for $5, so I don’t feel bad replacing it every year.
  • Get patterned scarves that include colors I wear often.
    One of my favorite scarves has purple, teal, and pink in it, and I find myself wearing it all the time because it magically goes with everything.

The key for me is to know what sort of role a certain scarf will play in my collection. Will it fill a gap in my collection, like a pattern or a color I’m missing? Can I picture it with lots of items in my closet? Do I just love the scarf? Does it speak to my scarf-loving soul?

Deep questions, folks. I do not take scarves lightly, if that were not already clear.

Here are half a dozen scarves that I would totally buy, assuming that they meet my softness requirements:

Top row (Forever 21):

Bottom (Old Navy):

I think my very favorites are the Zigzag Stripe and the Ikat-Print. And wouldn’t the Diamond Pattern one be a pretty wrap for a wedding or a cocktail party?

One more tip: you can find giant, cheap scarves at the fabric store! Wendy, she of the awesome video, mentioned on her blog that she got a length of jersey cut at the store and just used that as a scarf. Jersey doesn’t fray, and it’s almost always on sale. That zebra print scarf I wore for the fall picture in my last post is really 2 yards of inexpensive jersey from the fabric store. I was looking for something recover 2 chairs when I found this burnout zebra print, and it was half off. A whopping $8 later, I had a giant piece of super soft fabric, and I wear it as a scarf all the time. It’s my favorite plane scarf (another prime location for me to be cold) because it doubles as a blanket.

I poked around fabric sites for cheap jersey, and I found a similar zebra print that is on sale now for just $4.78/yard. Plus, the width of the bolt is 56″, which is pretty dang big. If you ordered 2 yards, you’d end up with a piece of fabric that was 56 x 72″, and it would cost you $9.56, plus $3.95 for shipping (this site offers free shipping for orders over $35, but I’m not assuming that you will buy that much fabric). So, you pay $13.51 (before tax) for your fabric, and when it arrives, you cut it down the middle, lengthwise. There you go! You have 2 cute scarves that will work with almost any outfit at the grand total of $6.75 each. Wear one and give the other as a gift! Handmade and everything, people.

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8 Responses to “How I Shop for Scarves”

  1. Andrea September 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Loving the scarf posts. I want to be a scarf girl so bad, but only have the opportunity in the dead of winter since it’s usually too hot, even in fall and spring. But at least now I know how to wear the ones I have properly!

  2. CharlieSue September 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    OH MY GOD. BUY fabric and MAKE a SCARF of JERSEY. This is basically magic. I am so excited.

    I’ve LOVED these posts.

    • RA September 24, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      I had this post up my sleeve when you asked me about those American Apparel jersey scarves that are $17 each, so I had a little chuckle. Basically, compared with the fabric store, um, NO THANK YOU.

  3. Reading (and chickens) September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I just bought two scarves after reading this post. I think y’all need to be PAID.

  4. Jesabes September 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    I seriously just printed JoAnn coupons so I can go buy me a jersey scarf tomorrow. That is an awesome idea.

    • RA September 24, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      Woo! I hope you found some awesome, cheap fabric this weekend!!

  5. Danielle (elleinadspir) September 22, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    I have a Zara scarf that is huge and scratchy and I never wear it. So true that size and feel really matter. Kind of feeling like I need white this season!

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