This cat wears a scarf better than I do. (Photo by Swanky via CC)

I don’t know how to wear a scarf. I know that scarves are supposed to epitomize effortlessness and should be easy to add to any ensemble. They’re supposed to look breezy–just draped over your shoulder, simply twisted around your neck–what could be easier?

Yet this is not the case. Just like “natural makeup” can take hours to apply and is certainly not the same thing as going “au naturale,” scarves are similarly deceptive. You have to possess serious skill in order to wear them with seeming ease.

When I try to wear a scarf, I either wrap it too tight so that it looks I’m fashioning my own noose or it’s too lackadaisical and loose that it unravels easily and loses its shape. I can’t seem to win.

Also, you can’t wear a scarf in a vacuum. When worn properly in the hipster precincts of major urban areas, it is usually paired with other accessories–long earrings, bracelets and a hairstyle as effortlessly haphazard as the scarf below it. Again, this exceeds my skill set.

I usually have patience for just one accessory per outfit–typically earrings since there is no wrong way to apply those. And you don’t have to think about wearing multiples as you would with necklaces and bracelets. You can only wear as many earrings as you have holes for them. Nowadays, that means just one pair (though in my college life, I could’ve adorned my ears with up to three pairs).

I don’t wear scarves for the same reason I didn’t participate in the tunic-no waisted dress fashion craze–I like my clothing to be structured. I don’t want to buy a dress that was barely sewn to fit my body, which will then force me to figure out which belt to pair it with. (Belts are a whole other sordid story). And I don’t want to figure out how to cover my neck with scarf. On some mornings, it’s difficult enough trying to find two socks that match. The fewer decisions I have to make about the rest of my outfit, the better.

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