The day she received her Hermès scarf bought in the Passage, a woman I'll call "Rose" e-mailed me with a diplomatically-phrased message of buyer's remorse.
She found her scarf gorgeous, but thought the volume overwhelmed her petite figure. For a sense of what she meant, here I'm wearing "Jungle Love" 'big'. I have petite friends who wear it just this way, but they are happy with that silk swath and Rose was not.
This was Rose's first carré; I thought maybe she didn't know how to literally take it in hand, so sent examples of tying the scarf 'down', posted on MaiTai's Picture Book. (To find these, search "MaiTai scarf knotting cards" plus "Vol I", "Vol II" and "Vol III" to see three different posts; the link does not appear on her blog.)
The elegant Mai Tai also has a few demos on her You Tube channel, MaiTai Collection (I especially like the "scarf as necklace"), or you could download Hermès' free app for iPhone and iPad.
Here's my favourite 'down' tie, a neat, much smaller effect:
I tried the waist bag, more flattering than I'd guessed; filled with coin purse and phone, it felt comfortable and secure.
I tested these bag directions:
I think the example above shows a large ("GM") shawl, not a 35-inch carré, which folds into a size that would tote essentials out to dinner. (If you knot for long handles on a 35-inch scarf, the body will be small; I found the proportions better as a handbag.) For a little shape I inserted the nylon triple pouch that I use to transfer my stuff between bags.
There are other bag options; one from Martha Stewart uses bangles as handles.
Exploring the book, I tried a head wrap. For fairly brief outings, I'd prefer it to a hat—it doesn't blow off and stows easily in a bag when not needed.
When you need a brim, you might use the scarf as a hatband, or tie it over the crown:
Rose replied with thanks. She said maybe she had been intimidated by her carré, and was experimenting with the ties.
These ties work for any 35-inch square made with good weight linen, cotton or silk, but silk drapes best; just look it in the eye and show it who's boss!