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Scarves add elegance to outfits in mere seconds. This simple accessory can take on a vast array of looks, too, to fit your mood and personality. However, every shirt or dress does not look good with a scarf -- wearing one with a ruffly blouse is usually overkill, as Mary Lou Andre says in her book "Ready to Wear." Don't wear a scarf with a turtleneck, either. The wrong scarf can clash with your look, too, so choose wisely.
Choose a color. Decide what outfit you want to wear the scarf with. Then, decide what color scarf would match your shirt. Don't forget your pants, though; your scarf has to complement the whole outfit. Don't choose a black scarf with a red print just 'cause it would match the shirt; if you're wearing white pants, that may not fly.
Choose a texture. Remember, scarfs come in many fabrics, including wool, silk, polyester and mesh, making for a huge variety of styles. Ask yourself if you want the scarf to add warmth -- or if a warm scarf would be way too warm. Consider knits and soft, woven fabrics for warmth, or a lighter, silky scarf on a summer day. Also keep in mind the texture of your shirt -- a light, silky scarf won't work with a bulky sweater. Choose a knit scarf instead, but not a really big one, since you don't want to add much more bulk. A lighter scarf or a knit could work with a more form-fitting sweater. Match a mesh scarf only with light shirt fabrics.
Decide on a print, or go with a solid. Ask yourself if your outfit would look too "busy" with a print scarf. Remember that if your shirt has a print, adding another is probably too much. If your shirt or pants have a small or subtle print, a scarf with a similar print in a different color might work. Never choose clashing prints -- no checks with flowers. Keep colors to a minimum, too. An orange scarf with a yellow shirt could work nicely, but if your shirt has three colors in it, your scarf probably shouldn't add more. In that case, choose a solid scarf in one of the colors of your shirt.
Decide how to tie or wrap your scarf. Figure out what look you want if you're not sure how to choose a wrapping style. Go with an elegant French twist for a sophisticated, scholarly look, knotted at the side with one end lying backward and the other forward. Wear this look with form-fitting blouses or blazers. Wear a Hollywood knot for a trim look that looks sort of like a tie, maybe with a blazer, or a Western neck wrap or buckaroo knot for a cowgirl look, maybe with a denim jacket. Wear a bow tie for a playful look, with a T or long-sleeve blouse. Wear your scarf as a shoulder wrap for a soft, sweet look, knotting it in the front, as the Texere Silk website says. This look works well with a simple, form-fitting blouse with long sleeves, or a blouse with short, flowing sleeves. Wrap a scarf loosely around your neck, letting the ends hang in the back, for an easy and soft look with a form-fitting sweater or simple scoop-neck blouse.