Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vintage Head Scarves ~ How to Tie & What to Buy (Square!) from Gail Carriger

I've been going a little crazy in the head scarf arena recently, Fashionable Reader.

Rosie the Riveter
I affixing the scarf just in front of the ears with (weirdly hard to find) Oval Metal Snap Clips (not the common triangular ones, you'll need something longer and stronger). The clip can be tucked under a fold of the scarf, so they aren't visible.I don't like bobby pins for this, I feel they don't hold well enough.

At first I thought that a 20" square scarf would be big enough (standard cowboy kerchief size) but it really isn't, that size only works as a neckerchief. I think one needs at least 23" to get that classic little bow at the front (and I have a pretty small head). I've discovered that about 35" square is ideal for any more complicated style or if you want one that wraps back about and ties back behind the neck, knotted for security.

First piece of advice? Find a square scarf between 25"-35" inches when possible.

Here is a great YouTube on 10 different ways to wear this size scarf on your head (from turban to headband style).

 This look is my personal favorite: it's started as you would for the Rosie look but instead of a knot, I twist the longer ends about each other so they are going back on themselves and tie behind my neck.

Here are some other ways I tie a scarf like this:

The scarf side pony, very flapper 1920s - 1930s

The mini mouse bow, very silly but I kinda love it.

This size scarf is also good as a regular neck scarf:

 And for the classic kerchief look to protect hair from wind:

Here's the other thing I do with these scarves, pack:

I'm leaning more and more towards hair scarves for events (particularly short one-off activities), because it's much cheaper in time and money than getting finger waves put in. Also my waves are pretty ruined by the end of a convention weekend so you'll start to see me in a scarf on those last few days sometimes too.

As a result, and banned from any other shopping while the Rack continues to mend, I went on a headscarf purchasing binge.

Here are my results...

Corciova Designer Silk-Like Square Women's Hair Scarves 35 X 35 ~ $10

There are two lines (here and here) with a total of 78 designs, so you can spend a lot of time looking.
I like the range of designs quite a bit on this line. I purchased 4 of them.

Both reds were pinker then they appeared on Amazon, the Crimson on the right was actually fuchsia and the Wine on the left was more of a purple color. I returned the Crimson as it didn't go with anything in my wardrobe and put the Wine in with my steampunk stuff.

Knowing the line leans pink, I ordered the grey (and yes, it has a pinkish tinge) and the leopard (which is exactly as you see it). The leopard has already got a lot of use. I've been feeling very leopard this summer.

Aside from the size, the silk-like feature is actually a plus: it has they nice sheen but doesn't wrinkle and isn't as warm as real silk. We shall see how they wash.

However, they are all patterned and what I really need for my wardrobe, because I wear a lot of pattern vintage is solid colored scarves. Also the silkiness means the knots work loose slowly throughout the day, so clips are needed.

Women's Solid Color Pure Silk Scarves Indian Accessory 39 X 39 ~ $10

These come in a range of sizes. I went with the 39 X 39 because I was afraid 30 X 30 would be too small. They are the opposite of the Corciova in that they are very plain indeed.

Because it's silk it does wrinkle a bit and it is a little thin but I really needed a cream one for my wardrobe and this was the only one I could find in the right color. It's too big as it turns out, I'd go with the 30 X 30 instead.

Square Satin Striped Scarf in Assorted Colors, 42" Square ~ $7

All the colors are true to screen and the red was exactly what I was looking for. Because I do a  triangle fold I don't have to worry about the stripe showing the messy hair underneath.

I also got this in bright white. I was thinking of investing in a few more of these, but they really are way too big. I'm on the hunt for a good solid colored scarf ina true red, as always it's the read that gives me stick.

Soft Satin Square Scarf Multiuse for $7.50

So I tried this one, which is a little over 23" X 23" AKA 60cm*60cm comes in 15 differed solid colors.

Soft Satin Square Scarf Head Neck Multiuse Fifteen Solid Colors Available 60cm*60cm

This is exactly long enough to tie about the head with the little ends dangling at the front, Rosie Riveter style. All the colors are pretty much exactly as pictured.

In addition to these new ones I already had the following:

Latrec scarves picked up at a museum in France years ago.  One has red in it, the other does not.

Vintage black and white cotton.

Right! That's enough with the head scarves. (Hope this helps, Suzanne.)

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.


  1. What do you think would be the perfect size? 35" square? I'm thinking of making some. Might even offer them for sale.

    1. Exactly? 33.5" That's the one I show myself wearing above (it's likely metric). But mine have a bit of stretch to them. Particularly across the grain. So 34-35" should be good.


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