08 Mar
One Can Never Have Too Many Scarves

My mother-in-law, at 97, still loves to buy a new scarf. One time when we were going through her closet we counted 88 scarves. She loves to give a few away, so we can shop for more. Trying on clothes is too difficult for her now, but she still has an eye for colour.

Scarves are to a wardrobe, what spices are to a meal. They add richness and excitement to the ordinary. They change the mood of wardrobe basics; the little black dress can become Bohemian or Paris at night. This is particularly handy when travelling. Although scarves don’t go out of style, each decade has a few tying trends. You Tube is a great resource for current scarf tying ideas. Click here for a sample. 

If scarves are made from good fabrics they hold their value and rarely wear out. You can collect them from vintage stores, closets of friends and family, and from countries you visit. Each scarf will evoke a memory of the day it became yours. They become compact keepsakes, recording parts of your life. I have a scarf of my late mother’s and wearing it is like receiving a hug from her.   

I bought a scarf from a gypsy in Lisbon. It was a windy, hot day and scarves blew out from her belt, her bag, her hat, and from around her neck. She was a walking boutique. I also have a scarf from a Russian market, woven so that the print is floral on one side and geometric on the other. I often travel with a white cotton scarf with cream embroidery on the ends. When I was travelling in Italy, I washed it every night, because, during our stay, it was hot and dusty, and I perspired profusely. I can still remember that clean white scarf blowing in the wind each evening as it dried just outside my window. 

I own a very special scarf purchased from the Custo shop on La Rambla in Barcelona. I am grateful to the saleswoman in the shop for teaching me what to consider when selecting a treasure from another country. Her name was Patsy, and she reminded me of a young Coco Chanel. She was tiny, glamorous, organized, and in love with Custo. She pointed to the video playing on the large-screen TV. She mentioned that the Dalmau brothers, David and Custo, were delighted to show their collection, for the first time, at New York’s fashion week. The Custo store, like the runway, exhibited a feast of colour and beautiful patterns. 

I tried on a few pieces of clothing and discovered that the Custo clothes are designed for taller, straighter figures than mine. I sat patiently on a chair to wait for a friend who was in the change room. The store was busy, and I enjoyed watching Patsy manage everything in her stride. Even though she was helping women in the change rooms, at the cash desk, and talking to others about sizes, she noticed me sitting rather than shopping.

Patsy suggested I look at scarves. She thought I would wish I had purchased a souvenir from Custo to remind me of my stay in Barcelona. Of course, that made sense to me. I was quickly drawn to a silk chiffon zebra-print. I felt Patsy watching me as I tied it around my neck, several ways. She looked up from folding the clothes as I headed to the cash desk. She told me, in the most dramatic Spanish accent, to consider the fact that every designer makes a zebra print. She was confident that if I thought about it for a minute, I would realize I should buy something truly Spanish. The Spanish are very proud of their original Custo prints, and, surely, I would want to own a piece of Spanish art. She handed me a scarf explaining it featured their exclusive kaleidoscope-print. I tried it on and loved it.

My kaleidoscope scarf measures four-foot square and is definitely a lot of scarf for a five-foot woman. It is the kind of scarf you can wear as a dress, a top, a long scarf, a short scarf, a beach cover-up, or as a shrug over a sleeveless dress. I have worn it all of these ways. I think of Spain and of Patsy every time I wear it. The good news is that I will be back on the same street in Spain sometime later this year. I expect to add to my collection of scarves by visiting the Custo-Barcelona store.

I invite you to share stories of your favourite scarves with me. If you want to read the story of our trip from Barcelona to Bergen, told from the perspective of my shoes, click HERE. I love hearing from you.  










Comments (6)

  • Marion Murawsky
    March 12, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Maureen, You and I have been on many a shopping excursion looking for scarves (as well as most other items) LOL. I too wear scarves often and have many that date back as far as university years. I love the more recent larger ones in all shapes! I am not as organized as you Maureen but I do have my favs on handy scarf hangers and others stored in drawers. I really should count them one of these days. I opened one of my drawers today and discovered a number of scarves I forgot about and now I have new ones to wear for the next week. LOL Great that Marj loves scarves and jewelry still. So amazing!

  • sakina madini
    March 9, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    I like your story about scarves. It is nice that your mother-in-law still likes to buy scarves. It's amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Boy
    March 8, 2017 at 02:30 pm

    Wow, you can certainly weave a great story....I loved it and as you know shopping for clothing is not my best suit! You'll never find a thread of evidence to disprove that statement because I clothe my fashion abilities and closet them away......except when I scarf down my supper but that's just my hang up. I better make an "A" line for the exit now because my wife will put the boots to me soon! Hee, hee, hee The Boy PS It was a great article!

  • Mitzi Gold
    March 8, 2017 at 01:00 pm

    Dear Maureen: I remember us checking into the Hotel in Barcelona on the Ramblas and discovering the Custco store was in our hotel. It was so much fun shopping with you and trying on all the clothes. It is one of my favorite clothing styles. As of a recent party I have worn all of the clothes I bought that day in 2015. I still love them and the wonderful memories of our trip on Viking's first ocean vessel all the way to Bergen, Norway. It was a fantastic cruise. I hope you enjoy your upcoming trip to Barcelona. What a warm and wonderful city it is! Best of wishes to you and Gord! Always thinking about the fun times we had! Aloha, Mitzi

  • Helen Davis
    March 8, 2017 at 10:15 am

    They say every picture tells a story...so it's good to see yours..and knowing that every scarf has a story as well. Thanks for sharing...beautiful!

  • Rhonda Sage
    March 8, 2017 at 09:33 am

    This combination of stories touched my heart deeply. Many aspects: "Trying on clothes is too difficult for her now, but she still has an eye for colour" -- the tribulations of aging, but staying in fashion and enjoying color. The wonderful boutique clerk -- who showed you her wonderful work ethic and her many talents in the world of fashion. I bought a scarf on Granville Island, intending it to be a gift. but I kept it and it always reminds me of my dear friend I was with when it was purchased. and the wonderful times we have spent together. Thanks Maureen for your awesome word-smithing, that elicits warm and happy memories. Rhonda

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