Ode to Neck Scarves

You can tie ’em in a knot, you can tie ’em in a bow


Until four months ago, when I thought neck scarves, I thought three finite things.

#1. The Girl With The Red Ribbon. How the hell has it only recently occurred to me that the fact that my mother read me The Girl with The Red Ribbon nearly nightly for the duration of my tenure as a six-year-old was not in the least bit disquieting. When I think back, in fact, to the story that elicits a brand of nostalgia no scent has successfully been able to evince, I remember thinking, “Cool. I want a red ribbon.”

(For the uninitiated the anterior story trails the life of a girl who becomes a woman who wears a red ribbon around her neck. She never takes it off, not even to shower and during the penultimate scene of the story we learn why: because it cords her neck to her head. When she removes it, which she does during the finale, her heads rolls right off her neck and bam! That’s that.

#2. Isadora Duncan. The aforestated was an American dancer. She loved flowing scarves. Enough, in fact, to die for them. Which she did, tragically, at a tender 50 years old while driving through Nice in the South of France. Her neck scarf got wrapped around the wheels of the Amilcar in which she was a passenger thus breaking her neck and terminating her life.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

Still, here is #3: The movie Grease and more precisely, The Pink Ladies. Those women do nothing for me emotionally or stylistically and therefore, to bring this back to four months ago, have until now, rendered neck scarves a moot point.

The thing is, I noticed at some point last year that my friend Rosie, who has historically eschewed jewelry wearing based solely on the pretense that she is a master of losing things, was wearing bandanas around her neck.

I observed in equal parts admiration and confoundment while she would slip into a t-shirt, a suit and then to top herself off tie that red, or green, sometimes yellow archetypal bandana around her neck. Though she closed them in the front to create the illusion of an ascot, she explained to me that they were her answer to necklaces. I really liked that. Then last season during Fashion Week, there they were — festooning necks at Marc by Marc Jacobs, Creatures of the Wind, Prabal Gurung and so forth.

Considering the choker-trip I’ve been on since the 90s first surprised us with its renaissance, I thought maybe settling on a fabric one, a la Rosie, might work for me too. Encased here, you’ll find three different looks using yours truly to fashion three different scarves in what I really want to call a testament to soft jewelry.


Exhibit A features a Peter Pilotto scarf wrapped three times around my neck with my hair tucked into it. Along with the wooden clutch, it’s supposed to offset the highly casual nature of this quotidian outfit and make the mundane feel a bit more spectacula. I did not accidentally omit that “r.”  (Trench coat by Mina and Olya, t-shirt by Isabel Marant, skirt by Zara, sneakers by Golden Goose and clutch by Devi Kroell.)


Exhibit B is obviously all about pretending I am French, discernibly using the scarf as a choker to balance the striped shirt, which features a low neckline, and a pair of high waist white pants. I suppose as Amber never said, I could be a sailor in those clothes. (Scarf by Hermès, clutch by Edie Parker, t-shirt by Zara, pants by Étoile Isabel Marant.)


Finally, exhibit C seemingly became about resurrecting Katharine Hepburn. Of course, I could never do justice to the actress but a girl can try. So try, I shall. (Plaid shirt by Club Monaco, pants by McQ by Alexander McQueen, heels by Christian Louboutin, neck scarf by Dolce and Gabbana and sunglasses by Oliver Peoples.)

The most important question still remains: will you be test-driving this trend? Hmm? WILL YOU?

Get more Personal Style ?
  • Petra

    Who? Who doesn’t want to wear the ribbon?

  • Quinn Halman

    Hope it’s cool with you that I use neck scarves as headbands and other hair accessories, Beyonce style.

  • My mom would always do this. I am coming around to this weird point in my life where I realize that maybe my mom had it right the whole time, wearing neck scarves, menswear inspired shoes and jackets, plaid blazers, round sunglasses. I guess it’s true that we eventually just turn into our mothers. Not mad about it.

    • MC

      Your mom was just trying to be Annie Hall. Trust me, we all did it. And it carries through our fashion sense to our kids. So you haven’t turned into your mom. You e become Annie Hall. Thanks Woody.

  • I’m an opera singer. Scarves are my best friends 🙂

  • Chic Trends

    Hmmm, that’s a good question because, while they look great on you, on us girl with “shorter” necks this might not look as nice. Is it weird to say that we think you might have more of a neck (sounds weird but fine when you blurt it out) for these scarves.

    For the time being, we’ll leave the trend to you. xx http://chictrends.co.uk/

  • Nikki

    I love the hair tucked in! I’ve been raiding my mom’s scarf collection since I was a teen- I wore them as belts, headbands, bracelets, I recall a summer of ankle bracelets made from scarves…. and of course to keep my neck warm. I loathe a cold neck. Long live the silk scarf!

  • Benedetta Burchiellaro

    the most dangerous piece of fabric, in the end.

    ps. i love you

  • Maral Halliyeva

    I love neck scarves, but I never wear them. I think I’ve inherited at least 30 scarves from my grandmother, one of them being a beautiful Hermes scarf. I like to look at them, or display them as part of interior decoration, rather than wear them on myself. Probably a waste of a good scarf though …


  • Elise

    love it! but i feel a nod to Raf’s Spring 2013 and Pheobe’s Fall 2012 is required as well…

  • Jackie @ Kleiden drew

    Inspired by MJ’s show, I used a few vintage/new scarves for styling. Not as beautiful and perfect as your throat wrap Leandra. Dang. I gotta practice.


  • Josephine Baker

    Neck scarves are so feminine and girly! Can you ever go wrong?


  • Scarves are so chic, you are definitely French now! Love the leather skirt.

    Mafalda ❤

  • Loving the prints of the scarves and the styling. Fave: the choker.

    -Asia Monique

  • runway2street

    We’re big fans of scarves and love the way you’ve styled them. You have to check out the ones we carry!

  • Previously I associated silk neck scarves with my grandmother, but now I think of them as yet another way to incorporate print… I am a big fan of print on print, with a printed silk scarf. No such thing as too much print!

  • Arlette Contreras

    cant wait for spring!!

  • Emma

    YES! i used to wear neckerchiefs with gorgeously tailored yet mannish slimline trouser suits when i worked in a bank to introduce a bit of femininity and – more importantly than that – to render apparent to all who cared to notice my streak of rebellion and creativity. i wear them on the beach with bikinis. i wear them with jumpsuits. i wear them to add a bit of jauntiness to an otherwise too-chic-for-me outfit. i love neckscarves. ever since kevin rowland, my style icon always and forever. this is me wearing a neckerchief. not with a bikini. not actually sure that works. http://nomadthief.com/2013/07/eiffel-tower/ PS important to note is that i have a really long scrawny neck. neckscarves help me. xx from the nomad thief

  • CarlotaLMorais

    You look very french!! A chic parisien!! Love it! LOve the second look the most so simple but yet such a statement!

  • Curvily NYC

    I love scarves, but every time I try to wear one, I feel – rather inexplicably – like a fraud.

  • ElaineR

    Scarves are my thing. I wear them all the time! However, i never seem to look as AWESOME as you do in these posts. You gave me some srs scarfsperation.

  • Katie

    My friend and I partake in a “scarf week” where we wear as many scarves in as many ways we can think of. The scarf is probably my favorite accessory and I must say, the older the scarf… the better!
    But, Leandra, you’ve given me a new idea on how to wear a scarf and for that, I salute you.

  • Marcella Caroline

    love the scarf… <<33

  • Lily Asher

    All I want for Christmas every year is a Hermes scarf. (Many sacrifices are made to fulfill this desire). Have around 25 now, in all shapes and sizes and the most exotic designs and colours. I keep them in a big deep draw and whenever I need inspiration or cheering up it’s enough to just open that drawn and have all of those colours and designs – Tigers and sunflowers and all kinds of arcane symbols jump out at me – one is bright yellow with a pink map of the Jardin du Luxembourg and black silhouettes of great lovers from the Victorian era parading around arm in arm under umbrellas. Just gazing over some of these scarves takes me into another world. Sometimes I stick them up on the wall, other times throw them across my couch or drape them over lampshades – oh, and I wear them a lot too. The best look – simple jeans, t-shirt, blazer and a great scarf. Leandra – why don’t you invite everyone to send in their best scarf looks? – I love everything about you and your stuff but to be really honest these are not the most interesting ways to wear a scarf…way too contrived.

  • Chantelle

    I love scarves! You should see my collection! Especially love vintage ones!

  • dupras

    The second outfit is my favorite, those pants are killer! Loving the tucked in hair too, although I would feel strange re-adjusting and fixing my tuck throughout the day, ha.


  • I’m so glad that someone has finally decided to defend the awesomeness of scarves. Thanks for that! I’m in love with the one in exhibit A. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts!


  • Derosset Gordon

    i literally have the exact same thought process when it comes to the girl with the red ribbon story!

  • Cool outfits, great style! Love the neck scarves!

  • I seem to collect printed silk scarves but they always end up tied around my handbag or shoved into the glove compartment of our convertible rather than actually being worn. You’ve inspired me to try again! Although admittedly, choker styles don’t seem to suit me 🙁

  • the coattail effect

    I love the look! however every time I attempt the neckerchief, I end up looking like a cheesy flight attendant haha

  • Cat

    Great Post!

  • I just realized I didn’t include any neck wear in my gift ideas post for $10, $20 & $30.

    I definitely need to keep them in mind for next time. They’re so chic, pair it with a plain striped top and suddenly, you’re a Parisian–tres chic.


  • isabel

    echodesign.com always has great prints!

  • Susan Theotokatos Hatzopoulos

    you really rocked those looks, have always loved a good silk scarf glad to see them back!

  • Woa! I love how you styled the scarf in exhibit B where you’re pretending to be french. I love that neat look with no flowy ends. I must try this!


  • Andrea

    Love this look so much ! Definitely gonna try it.

  • Claire

    Leandra, digging the watch! What is the brand?

  • I’m all about the neck scarves! check out my designs on alexandradieck.com/shop!