Scarves: Folding down a carré for petites or summer

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: 



Directions:





I tried the waist bag, more flattering than I'd guessed; filled with coin purse and phone, it felt comfortable and secure.


Directions:


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!



22 comments

une femme said...

"just look it in the eye and show it who's boss". LOL! That's definitely the ticket with the silk carrés. The twill especially are NOT delicate so twist, knot and fold away. I love the belt/pouch idea, haven't tried that one. I usually find that twisting is a great way to reduce volume (though you will lose some of the display of pattern). Now that my hair is longer I've been meaning to try the headscarf idea. Thanks for the inspiration, Duchesse!

Madame Là-bas said...

I never realized that there were so many possibilities.
I like the headband look on you. I am eager to go and practise when Monsieur wakes up. Merci.

LauraH said...

Thanks for taking the time to try out and model these options, it's so helpful. I have a silk scarf http://www.pinterest.com/pin/118923246384495740/, bought via Etsy as a gift, that I've found a bit overwhelming. I think your suggestions will help me find new ways to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

These are great ideas! I always thought I "couldn't" wear mine "big", but am happily finding that I can with certain coats and sweaters (taking baby steps out of the old comfort zone). Having said that am always watching for good folding down ideas. (I used to think my nice scarves were too good for twisting and squishing-but as Une Femme says, they really are not as delicate as they seem).
Cathy Wong

Cornelia said...

I agree that a lot of these voluminous scarves tend to overwhelm a petite frame. When I look at a photo on a blog, I assume that scarf wearer is the same height as I at 5'8. Then I continue reading and find out that she is only 5'4 and I immediately think: that's way too much going on there.

Anonymous said...

I have to be very careful with scarves now . I don't have a long neck & it isn't as well defined as it was - my niece says her mum & aunties have chinnecks now ! So I often opt out but admire them on others
Wendy

frugalscholar said...

Most of the scarves i'm seeing in Paris are the really big ones--perhaps 54 inches square. Voluminous seems to be in.

Duchesse said...

pseu; Even if they come off you wrinkled, mine settle back down to smooth overnight or so.

Mmm: Practically endless though I prefer the simpler ties.

LauraH: I was limited by space, there are many options and of course always tying it on a bag.

Cathy: Twill of that quality is very strong and I have never had 'stretch marks' (there :)) like you see in lower end silk scarves.

Cornelia: There are also many 'intermediate' folds like this one, that do not overwhelm a smaller figure: http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/lagarde-luvvies--how-christine-lagarde-charmed-the-world-7788803.html

Wendy: You might knot them lower, like this:http://www.maitaispicturebook.com/2011/09/waterfall-necklace-autumn-colours-two.html

My friend Sandy, who has a voluptuous chin, does this.

frugal: As in my city, there has always been a voluminous scarf crowd but if you have ever been in Paris in July you will see far less, as AC is less universal there. There is also a summer weight, the silk chiffons, light cottons and linens.

Duchesse said...

pseu; Even if they come off you wrinkled, mine settle back down to smooth overnight or so.

Mmm: Practically endless though I prefer the simpler ties.

LauraH: I was limited by space, there are many options and of course always tying it on a bag.

Cathy: Twill of that quality is very strong and I have never had 'stretch marks' (there :)) like you see in lower end silk scarves.

Cornelia: There are also many 'intermediate' folds like this one, that do not overwhelm a smaller figure: http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/lagarde-luvvies--how-christine-lagarde-charmed-the-world-7788803.html

Wendy: You might knot them lower, like this:http://www.maitaispicturebook.com/2011/09/waterfall-necklace-autumn-colours-two.html

My friend Sandy, who has a voluptuous chin, does this.

frugal: As in my city, there has always been a voluminous scarf crowd but if you have ever been in Paris in July you will see far less, as AC is less universal there. There is also a summer weight, the silk chiffons, light cottons and linens.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Great advice and you have certainly gone above and beyond helping Rose with her dilemma.
I love those Hermes scarf tying books...in have kept all of mine and have a set of scarf tying cards too which are fun.
You look great wearing it as a bandana.

Mardel said...

Great post and many great ideas, a few of which I will need to explore as I move through my wardrobe analysis and get to scarves and how to wear them. I do need to think about summer uses, as it is hot and humid outside, but interiors are almost universally over-chilled.

LPC said...

I will stand on the sidelines and admire:).

Duchesse said...

hostess: Have the books and cards but generally use only a few of the simplest ties. Many are too involved for me.

Mardel: I probably own more than necessary but do enjoy them and they always fit!

LPC: Ah, the sidelines, I know that locale well.

Duchesse said...

hostess: Have the books and cards but generally use only a few of the simplest ties. Many are too involved for me.

Mardel: I probably own more than necessary but do enjoy them and they always fit!

LPC: Ah, the sidelines, I know that locale well.

Duchesse said...

hostess: Have the books and cards but generally use only a few of the simplest ties. Many are too involved for me.

Mardel: I probably own more than necessary but do enjoy them and they always fit!

LPC: Ah, the sidelines, I know that locale well.

sisty said...

I'm sure Rose is much relieved and inspired, as I am, by this post.

So nice of you -- but that's you all over.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I do identify with Rose. My beautiful Hermes "Bal des Boules" scarf intimidates me; I tend to tuck it most of it away inside the collar of a coat or jacket, which seems a shame, but it's so big and slippery! My daughter the swan, on the other hand, takes a huge silk scarf and, in 3 seconds, has it draped, knotted, and looking fabulous. "Show it who's boss"--I'll remember that.

C.

Duchesse said...

sisty: I'm hoping she comments to say what she thinks.

C.: There are also a number of ties that sit up at the neck and therefore the scarf is not slippery at all. Maybe not for summer, but in fall, maybe you would like to try them.


And in summer, I just found this charming one:
http://www.maitaispicturebook.com/2011/08/collier-knot-cool-knot-for-high.html

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps "Rose" could do as the French women do - drape it over her shoulders - on the outside over a winter coat. Love the look and perhaps the proportion would work better that way.

Great post, as always. Thanks!

Duchesse said...

Anon@6:39: We have to train her up to that; it's precisely the effect she finds overwhelming ;)

That full shawl look shows the pattern fully and I often wear it over a v-neck sweater- but, I live in a cold climate.

Rita said...

That is a LOVELY scarf!

Duchesse said...

Rita: Thanks; here are two different Hermès scarves shown in the post, "Jungle Love" and "Les Truites".