We love a floral silk scarf

US Vogue 1968, Etta Jettick advert (left) UK Vogue 1975, Susan Small advert (right)

Last week I went to hear the fashion forecaster WGSN’s Spring Summer 2012 trends presentation at the Pure (and Pure Spirit) fashion trade show. Although next summer is too far ahead to write about yet (although buyers are busy putting in orders for what we are going to wear), one trend did make my heart beat a little faster, the floral silk scarf is back. In fact both Francesca Muston and Lorna Hall, WGSN’s fashion trend experts told us that ‘if you’re going to buy anything for next spring, make it a floral scarf’.

This is exciting for grown up girls because it’s a trend that improves with age. Young girls tie a scarf around their heads and look like they are trying to be their mum, we can don one with a pair of sunglasses and have the gravitas to look like we are are elegantly trying to hide the effects of a wicked night out. Scarves on older women are glamourous and sexy (think Elizabeth Taylor rather than The Queen) if tied with style and a heap of attitude. Red lips and an illegal cigarette just ramp up the sex appeal but I appreciate this might not work for everyone.

Vogue UK 1976, Giovannozzi at Harrods (left) and Krizia (right)

WGSN showed the silk scarf tied under the chin, but there are many exciting ways to tie, as demonstrated by these vintage Vogue photos I found when rummaging through my magazine library for inspiration. I remember headscarves being everywhere when I was about 16, no fashion shoot was complete without an exotically tied one, usually around Jerry Hall or Marie Helvin’s heads. I used to wear my (Laura Ashley) one tied under my hair, Heidi style, but think I might practise a Grace Kelly ‘under-the chin and round the back of the neck look, or maybe Camila Batmanghelidjh style in a turban

Jackie Kennedy (left) Sophia Loren (top) vintage styling (bottom)

The floral silk scarf has a type of cinema-star glamour and it looks terrific when worn with colour blocked separates (still around for next summer it seems), balancing a beautiful botanical floral against a band of plain colour looks strong and surprisingly modern.

The best place to find a silk floral square is your nearest charity store, where you can rummage over the next few months in preparation for spring. Or you can be an early adopter and purchase now and practise looking fabulous. Our favourite scarves currently come from Hobbs and Anthropologie and you can find them in our Things We Love section over on the right. There’s also a lovely book on scarves by Nicky Albrechtsen & Fola Solanke in the book section.

Gucci (left) and Ferragamo (right) both featured in the Masters of Style exhibition, Somerset House 2011


  • steffi says:

    Yes, I love the fabulous 70’s trend of wearing them loose and big – look at how brilliantly Barbara (one’s mother) pulls it off whilst sat in Richmond Park. The glamour!

  • amanda says:

    Ooh Steffi that’s a cool pic, and absolutely personifies a glam mum too. Ax

  • Jude says:

    Wow, I’d forgotten just how beautiful Sophia Loren was, she looks amazing here. Thanks for this post, as I have a lovely silk square of my Mum’s (she wore it in the 60’s knotted under her chin and as a 6-yr old I always thought she looked like the queen!) but had no idea how to wear it. I am now inspired to try out a few different ways!

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