The Art of the Scarf: From Classic Knots and Chic Neckties, to Stylish Turbans, Makeshift Bags, and More

Image of The Art of the Scarf: From Classic Knots and Chic Neckties, to Stylish Turbans, Makeshift Bags, and More
Release Date: 
October 3, 2016
Hardie Grant
Reviewed by: 

To say that this book has niche appeal would be a gross understatement. There is no question that if prospective reader has no interest in wearing scarves or including a scarf as part of a signature style then this book is clearly unnecessary.

What puzzles this avid advocate of scarves is how a book like this can offer no details other than the how-to. Showing how to tie a scarf as a pareo/sarong or as a babushka without giving any clue as to an appropriate size requirement is sort of like saying a minute and a mile are the same since they both pertain to quantity. After all, one must assume that the reader is looking for guidance in learning a new skill, which means that you must offer proper instruction or guidance.

Another bothersome issue is that there is never an acknowledgement that so much of the information is not exactly groundbreaking news. Consider that Hermes has long offered information on how to tie a scarf as well as adding new styles to their timeless scarf collection. For example, the “twilly,” which was conceived as a wrist band or to be tied to the handle of one’s handbag; the difference is that Hermes specifically designed it with special measurements to accommodate its use. In more recent times they have even offered a larger size that might be used around the neck or as a headband.

As seems to be the wont in books of this type, there is this stretching of the imagination when it comes to so-called creative uses for an accessory. Cases in point are tying a scarf to create a handbag or wearing a scarf as an anklet. Once again when an author selects examples to bolster her point she needs to make sure that those selected are in fact associated with what they are writing about.  For example, Jane Birkin is not so much associated with wearing a scarf, if at all, as she is having a Hermes handbag named after her. And who could possibly be more synonymous with a scarf than Isadora Duncan? Another misleading moment occurs when using Erykah Badu as a scarf icon when in fact wearing a head wrap is part of her heritage and not solely a sartorial flourish.

All in all, this book might be a cool gift for a teenage or adolescent girl or for someone who has expressed their fascination with the versatility of a scarf and what it might do to enhance one’s personal style. The book serves more as a vehicle to accommodate the author’s illustrations and not really as an instructional work. It might be recognized as a vanity piece—but you didn’t hear that from me.