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October 2, 2010

Experts' Expert: Yoana Baraschi on tying the perfect scarf


This is more for you than me since I never wear a scarf.

Of course, there's a lot of things you do that I don't do... but I'm not going there — am I?

Here's Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan's interview from Thursday's Wall Street Journal with designer Yoana Baraschi (above) to help you achieve a great look.


Scarves have long been a staple of a chic look for European women, but many Americans still regard them as difficult to pull off.

Designer Yoana Baraschi believes that anyone can wear them. Indeed, they're best worn in an insouciant way—no complicated knotting needed.

A square silk scarf—Ms. Baraschi has collected vintage Hermès and Gucci—is great for dressing up a conservative suit. Ms. Baraschi, whose scarves and clothes are sold in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and other stores, chooses a patterned scarf with a color that picks up on the hue of her blouse. Then she folds it in half to form a large triangle, asymmetrically drapes it over one side of her jacket, and makes a small knot with the ends on the other side of the body.

"It should look natural," not stiff, she says, noting that the knot shouldn't look "meticulously tied."

Sometimes, she'll twist the folded triangle a few times and drape it around her neck before knotting it lightly to one side. "It shouldn't look very tight around your neck, or it'll look like you have a cold," says Ms. Baraschi, who leaves her collarbone exposed for a more "playful" look. The designer sometimes pairs a dress or a dress shirt and pants with a scarf tied in this way.

Ms. Baraschi generally likes square scarves that are 30 or 32 inches wide. With anything larger than that, there could be too much fabric billowing around the neck. If she is wearing a patterned top with her suit, she'll typically wear a plain scarf that picks up on a color.

"Long scarves are my favorite," Ms. Baraschi says, because of their versatility. She has several lightweight cashmere versions that she wears year-round. She favors a looser look with these scarves, sometimes folding one in half to make a loop, putting it around her neck and then pulling the ends through.

Often, she simply drapes a scarf around her shoulders, saying this gives dresses and pants a "fresh and modern look." This is a good way to wear a scarf with a shorter dress, which can get overwhelmed by long, dangling ends. With pants or jeans, she loosely loops her scarf once or twice around her neck and lets the ends hang down—preferably no farther than just past the waistline.

Ms. Baraschi avoids wearing necklaces with scarves that are wrapped around her neck, noting that the scarf is "the major statement" near the face. Earrings should be small—"nothing dangling," she says.

If her scarf is very colorful, Ms. Baraschi keeps her eye shadow to a minimum so she doesn't have two strong colors competing. And if her scarf bears red or pink, she makes sure that her lipstick color doesn't clash. But if the scarf is in a neutral color or a cooler shade like gray or blue, she'll make her lipstick color a little bolder. "You want to play with contrasting elements," says Ms. Baraschi.

While she likes patterns of all kinds on her scarves, she finds traditional paisleys can look "old-fashioned." She prefers paisleys that are "only on a part of the scarf" or "very tight and dense." For a modern look, she sometimes likes scarves that are made in a very light, see-through silk, which has an airy effect.

Otherwise, there are few rules for choosing a scarf. "Be creative, be courageous," she says. "Scarves are a way to express a more interesting and perhaps deeper side of you that's not always visible."

October 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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