Joy Magazine

Tying a Scarf Like a French Woman

The first time I went to Paris it was fall. I couldn't help but notice the tall, thin French women dotting the cobblestone streets with their luscious multi-colored scarves tied in intriguing ways around their long necks. Most were in intricate knots and swirls that looked very complicated and oh, so very French. It rained a lot while we were there and their dots and dashes of vivid color amid the ancient streets looked like a blurred Monet painting through the water-streaked café windows. How could you not love it?

Now I'm not tall, thin, nor do I have a swan-like neck, but oh, I wanted to wear one of those beautiful scarves. So my friend and I headed to the Parisian stores to find a scarf that would make us fit right in with the rest of the French female society. Or at least that's what we told ourselves.


And in most of the shops and stores, there they were — a plethora of beautiful scarves in all different colors. They had creamy cashmere, lambs wool, Alpaca, you name it — and with a starting price tag, even with the exchange rate, of nearly $100.

Now that kind of money can seriously cut into a girl's wine and pastry budget so we resigned ourselves to merely enjoying the beautiful scarves as they passed.

It's been five years since I visited the City of Lights and in a few days I'm heading back for a vacation. Every woman I know who has been asks me the same question, "Do you have your scarf?"

Yes, I was shocked to discover that just about every woman I know who has visited Paris noticed the beautiful scarves and the intricate way in which they were tied. I wasn't alone in my scarf envy!

So this time I got smart. I went to the local shopping mall in Medford and found a beautiful scarf in an aqua marine cashmere (on sale) and eagerly hurried home with my purchase. Then the frustration began — I've got the scarf, now how in the heck do they tie it to look like that? I called my friends who have been there and who understand my scarf obsession but none seemed to really have an idea how that "French" look was achieved. And then I turned to the mother of all knowledge — the Internet. Ah yes, there it was, so elegant yet so simple like so much of French fashion, the embarrassingly easy way to tie a scarf like a Parisian woman.

I shared the sacred knowledge with a few of my closest friends and female family members who then called or e-mailed to say, "I'm wearing my scarf today and looking very French."

It's a silly thing but most of the small things in life that give us a little pleasure usually are. So here's the mystery revealed. It just requires a longer scarf than some but it's so simple that anyone can do it. I'm anxious to try it out on the streets of Paris soon. I'm not tall or thin, but I have my scarf and I know how to tie it! And now, so do you. Bonne chance!


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