published Monday, June 18th, 2012

Scarves a light, bright accessory for summer

Caroline Chipley Johnson wears scarves as year-round accessories.
Caroline Chipley Johnson wears scarves as year-round accessories.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

How to be adventurous with scarves

• Tie a colorful square scarf around the handle of a handbag to add a bold print or pop of color to your look.

• Wrap an oblong scarf around your head close to the face, carefully tucking in the ends so that they do not show. It's perfect for a bad hair day or to get the global traveler-chic look.

• Use an oversized rectangular scarf as a shawl for a summer evening when it suddenly gets cool inside a restaurant or theater. They also can double as a pareo over a swimsuit when wrapped neatly around the hips.

Source: Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising and fashion direction at Belk

Scarves are worn mainly for warmth in winter, but in summer they can take on added duties, from accentuating an outfit to hiding body flaws.

"Some women wear them to hide their necks, while some wear them like a belt to make the waist look smaller," said Joia Govan, assistant sales manager at Coldwater Creek on Gunbarrel Road.

"You can do more with a lightweight scarf than a heavier, bulkier one," she said. "That's why women wear them more in the summer."

Count Scarlett Smith, of Chattanooga, among those who look for light, bright summer scarves.

"I wear them different ways," she said. "I might put my hair up using one, especially if I'm going to be at the pool and don't want to mess with fixing my hair. I might wear one around my neck or as a belt or even just tied around my purse strap in case I need to dress my outfit up or down."

Registered nurse Edie Maynard Redish, of Chattanooga, said she wears scarves every day, "even with scrubs."

Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising and fashion direction at Belk, calls scarves "warm-weather wonders."

"Light and airy fabrications like gauze, linen, cotton and innovative blends are temperature-friendly and easy to wear," she said. "Fringed solids, florals and status prints can be wrapped several times around the neck close to the chin to frame the face or can be wrapped loosely once around the neck letting the ends hang at different lengths in front."

Caroline Chipley Johnson, of Chattanooga, said she likes how scarves can draw attention to her face, "especially the eyes."

"I like the long (6 feet or more) ones the best because I can loop them around in different ways," she said. "And the texture is important. I like them to be rather gauzy and rough-textured -- the colors look more interesting that way, and unlike really slick materials, the coarser ones won't slip out of the knot or other arrangement you've used to wrap them around your neck."

Both Smith and Johnson said scarves serve double duty when there's a chill in the air.

"I love wearing one to church, because the sanctuary can get a little chilly sometimes," Smith said.

Johnson said she has "a beautiful, enormous, rich blue scarf" that her sister gave her. "I wrap it around my shoulders and wear it instead of a jacket on chilly days."

Most scarves are cut as oblongs, squares and oversize rectangles, Goldstein said. The newer infinity loops "wrap easily in one or two over-the-head swoops," she said, "easy for anyone who feels a bit scarf-tying challenged."

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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