How wonderful it is to be in the midst of the season for scarves (as if there’s only one season… but we’ll get to that)!
I recently made a major house move, so had to go through my closet to reorganize my clothes. I had a hard time making decisions on what to throw out, as I’m still working on losing those last 15 pounds of baby weight – (eek – baby is actually 18 months old)! As a result, I ended up bagging and boxing some items, and putting them in storage for when I do shed those last couple of inches around my middle.
Having said that, I’ve actually come to terms with my new curves and I’ve purchased a few new wares in my lovely, current, baby hip-holding size, and (luckily) a good portion of my tops fit me once again. Being a designer and a fashion lover, I have actually figured out a way for my new wares to stand up to the wardrobe I had pre-baby.
I’ve never been the person who buys a new wardrobe every year and donates last season’s garbs to charity. I’m actually someone who shops for items here and there, buying a garment when I fall in love with it, or when I have an occasion and need something new.
I tend to keep my clothes and wear them for years, restyling them as the seasons and the trends change. Some items I have had long enough to see them go out of style and then come back into fashion.
I’m also a huge advocate of layering – probably because I hail from New York, a place with a harsh winter and four full, glorious seasons.
Why toss that glittery, gold tank top from your college clubbing days away when you can layer it under a classy, fuzzy ivory cashmere sweater and get a peek of shimmer at the waist and at the shoulder straps?
But I digress, as this article is supposed to be about scarves, and I am just preparing you for the other topics in my series, so watch this space because there is a lot more to come.
So back to the scarves. As I embark on another autumn/winter with this new limited wardrobe at my disposal, I am faced with the eternal question… how do I liven up my closet without spending a fortune? Luckily for me, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of scarves in my time. Scarves are a true wardrobe workhorse. They’re the ultimate article of clothing that should stay put in your wardrobe.
They do not have to be replaced during pregnancy, and though the chillier months are known to be “scarf season,” they actually have such versatility that you can use them as a lifesaving accessory all year long.
Keep your hair up and out of your face in summer with a light silk scarf. Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and cover your head in the storms of spring. In colder autumn and winter days, you can wear them in the usual way, around your neck for warmth, but there are endless ways to wear a scarf that can liven up any outfit, any time of year. And you can wear them anywhere you please, as well! Use scarves as a necklace, as a hair band or tie. As a bracelet, a belt, a head cover, a shawl. Tie one around the hips to accentuate a skirt. Even when worn traditionally around your neck, there are countless methods of securing them. Their uses are endless, as are their abilities to transform an outfit. The scarf truly does take a drab, boring look and make it exciting. You can add a pop of color to an otherwise monochromatic look. Bring in a pattern to offset solids, or – if you’re daring enough – mix and match different patterns by adding a wild scarf. Wear a scarf up by donning a fine-fabric one with beaded embellishments, or wear it down by using a well-loved cotton voile paired with jeans.
What I’m trying to say is simply this: Move your scarves to the front of your closet. Mix and match them. Wear them in whatever way strikes your fancy. Expand the options that exist for you without shopping for whole new outfits. Get creative with your wardrobe, and have fun while doing it. I know I will! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dive into a big pile of scarves…
French Knot: my favorite.
This is a classy, beautiful and timeless look that never goes out of style.
1.Take a long scarf and fold it in half lengthwise
2.Drape it around your neck so loop and ends are at your front
3.Take one part of the loose end and put it through the loop, over one side and under the other.
4.Take the other loose end and put it through the loop in the other direction – under the one side and over the other, then adjust to desired tightness and length.
The Belted Scarf: a wonderful way to show off your favorite scarf.
I love it now, in my current post-baby state because some of my tops still fit a little snug, but not enough to retire, so wearing a scarf in this way hides some of those unwanted creases and bulges (no need for that shaper underwear here)!
1.Start with a long light to medium weight scarf that has a fringed edge
2.Drape over shoulders, and adjust length so both edges are even
3.Take a belt and secure at the natural waistline
4.Tug scarf to tighten beneath the belt
The V-Neck Front Knot: if a cowgirl went to Paris this is what she’d come away with.
A chic and fun way to wear a scarf that also keeps you warm.
1. Take a medium to large square silk scarf and fold in half diagonally, to form a triangle
2. Wrap it around your neck with the fold at your chin and the tip of the triangle pointing down
3. Take the other two corners around your neck and bring back around to your front
4. Tie the two corners in a double knot slightly to one side, then fluff for desired fullness
The Infinity Necklace: a flirty, fun and oh-so-easy look.
This may be the scarf combination I get the most compliments on. Simple, different and playful.
1. Take a medium to long rectangle scarf and tie the ends together
2. Put it over your head with the knot at the back of your neck
3. Loop the scarf around your neck again
4. Leaving the knot at the back of your neck, adjust one part to be tight, like a choker (but not too tight!) and the other part loose, like a long necklace
Stay tuned for more of Emily’s Fashion Hacks on GloTIME.tv
One of the most remarkable things that we experienced in the Netherlands was, in our entire time driving around the country, that the Dutch know how to drive. I don’t mean they know how to steer. I mean they understand the logical courtesy rules of the road. Maybe better than any other country we’ve visited (and that’s a lot!). In nearly a month, we only heard three people honk their horns, and all were deserved. We also only heard one group of motorcycles revving their overly loud engines, and it felt out of place (and was likely tourists, if I’m being honest). Drivers understood how to use lanes! This may seem like it’s no big deal, but it was huge. They would use the left lane for overtaking only, then return to the right lane to continue driving, leaving the passing lane empty. Traffic was never too congested, probably because of all the bicycles on the road. I’ve never seen such orderly roundabouts. I didn’t fear for my life in the car like I do in Bulgaria, London, Israel, Taiwan and even parts of America. I normally make my husband drive everywhere. Here, I was fine behind the wheel.
People, in general, are courteous in The Netherlands, yet rarely feel fake. Customer service is good, and of a high standard. I loved watching all the cyclists on their daily commutes, riding by with bemused smiles on their faces. I called it their “Mona Lisa” smiles. Especially on sunny days, which we experienced a lot. The entire country is manicured and well looked after, with gorgeous flowers, green grass and healthy, happy animals. I’ve never seen such happy cows grazing (or dozing!) on the sides of roads! The farm animals and zoo animals all had bright eyes, full of life. It was invigorating to see nature and man live in such harmony.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is common there, from their cycling to their food, and down to their desire to live with minimal environmental impact. Everyone recycled. It was not uncommon to see houses with solar panels on the rooftops, no matter what economic class the neighborhood was in.
Now, be aware of a few things you should know. The Dutch don’t use credit cards like a lot of other places do, especially America. In fact, outside of touristy areas, it was very difficult (nearly impossible) to find a place that would take a credit card, regardless of whether it was Visa, MasterCard or American Express. They take their Dutch bank issued debit cards, or cash. We even encountered some places that didn’t even take cash – only the local debit cards! So do beware of that. I suppose for the Dutch people, this is a good thing, as it means they are not swimming in debt like many others are. But for the traveler who wants to go off the beaten path, it does make for quite a challenge.
Also, be aware that the cyclists rule the road. I’m not sure who legally has the right of way, but the cyclists take it, over automobiles and pedestrians, both. That was a bit frustrating when pushing a toddler around, but we quickly got used to it and learned how to assert our pedestrian rights when necessary. Another thing to watch out for is that trams pull up quickly at their stops, often without any curbs or “shoulders” (and normally silently). For foreigners, it can be shocking. Some other European countries have a similar system, but this was the first that made me feel like I had to really be paying attention or risk getting hit. In fact, I think every American I know has almost gotten hit by a tram their first time in Amsterdam. I’m honestly surprised we don’t read about American tourist tram accidents more often. Watch for that.
On top of all this, as an American, my mind was blown more than once by the realization that so much of what we think of as American is actually Dutch. I think of America as having its roots more in England than anywhere else, and I didn’t really think of the fact that the Dutch were in the States first. I knew that New York was once New Amsterdam, but I didn’t realize that Harlem, Brooklyn, Bushwick, the Bronx, Bowery, Gramercy Park, Wall Street, and so many other places were named after places in The Netherlands (as well as the concept of sitting on a stoop, which is a New York staple!). It never occurred to me that our beloved Hollandaise sauce on delicious eggs benedict actually originated as a Dutch sauce (duh – HOLLAND-aise!). I had more than a few instances where I stopped in my tracks and said, “wait a minute – this came from here?!” A few examples: bowling, pancakes, cookies, ice skating, compact discs, cassette tapes, WiFi, Bluetooth, the atlas, telescopes, microscopes… and orange carrots. Yes. You read that last one right. In fact, they’re orange as a nod to King William III, aka William of Orange, who was a key player in getting the Netherlands their independence. I guess we should be glad he wasn’t William of Dark Brown With Weird Mustard Colored Spots.
All in all, we had a tremendous time visiting this under-appreciated gem. We can’t wait for our next visit.
The Netherlands really cares about green living, being eco-friendly, sustainability and conservation. Just think about how the windmill (and therefore wind power) is basically considered the unofficial mascot of the Dutch!
There are more zoos/wildlife parks here than I ever imagined, and all of them I visited are in superb condition. They all have some connection with wildlife conservation and education.
I was truly impressed with the habitats for the animals in each of the zoos we went to. My favorite was Burgers’ Zoo, south of the Hoge Veluwe National Park. I commented that it seemed like we were in the animal’s natural habitat with every site we visited.
It really feels as though you’re walking in different climate zones and just happened to come across the animals in the wild. They’ve done such a good job. The animals there are the happiest I’ve ever seen in captivity, and animals in “bad” zoos don’t have enough space to exercise (I hate seeing what I call “dead eyes” on animals in zoos), and Burgers solves both problems by giving them a lot of space to move in an environment that feels authentic, but without having to worry about survival. The combination makes for some very happy animals.
Another fantastic zoo, is the Apenhuel Primate Park, just to the east of the Hoge Veluwe. This was a wonderful experience, with capuchin monkeys greeting us upon arrival. And when I say greeting us, I mean crawling on my head, my husband’s arm and all over our pram Lemurs were also free roaming, and other primates had amazing enclosures/open air habitats.
It is set in a beautiful park that would be lovely to take a day and picnic, or ride a bike, have a romantic date and finish off at the restaurant. Speaking of food, if you want to eat while in the zoo, you need not worry about finding healthy fare. Most of the zoos in The Netherlands offered organic meals! In fact, Apenheul only offered organic ice cream! Quite a contrast to zoos in the United States, for instance, where you’re basically going to solely find the worst kind of fast foods, and inevitably leave feeling a little sick.
Exploring the National Park took us to Kootwijk, a small village that lies in the middle of the park, and is filled with farms that house gorgeous horses, ponies, sheep, goats, cows, llamas and even a few wallabies (which we spotted from our car as we zoomed by, then turned around to make sure we weren’t hallucinating). We hiked a bit, finding our way to the famous and beautiful sand dunes along the coast (who knew The Netherlands had sand dunes?!).
I can’t forget about our trip to Efteling, the oldest amusement park in Europe, which predates Disneyland by 3 years. You can see that Walt Disney got lots of inspiration from this park, which is far less commercialized than any Disney park… as well as less crowded, cheaper and way more magical. Despite not being able to do the big roller coasters (thanks to having our toddler with us), we still immensely enjoyed every moment of it – especially the Enchanted Forest and carousels.
Before our visit to the amusement park, we stayed in Tilburg, a small university city located just a stone’s throw from Efteling, as well as the Safari Park Beekse Bergen, which had African animals, as well as all sorts of ungulates, walking around. I recommend doing the drive-through section on a weekday, not at a peak time. We learned this the hard way, getting stuck in traffic, with no room to pull over at a whim to admire an animal for more than a few seconds. Our experience here was not ideal, but I imagine if you go when it’s not packed, it could be lovely. If you must go at peak time, opt for the walk-through or boat tour instead of the drive through safari.
We then traveled to Drachten and stayed onboard a yacht for a few nights. Odd as it sounds, this is Airbnb-able. It was great fun, and my daughter decided she wants to live on a boat after that experience. We even found fantastic food in the city center there, enjoying the best mustard soup (a Dutch favorite) of our entire trip.
Not too far away is the charming town of Giethoorn, which is inaccessible by car, so you need a boat and/or bicycle to get around. We rented a small boat and took a couple of hours sailing through the canals, admiring the beautiful thatched roof homes, perfectly manicured with fragrant flowers on the lawns and lily pads in the water. Giethoorn is a busy touristy town, but it’s easy to find your way into your own bubble, if you just exit the main area and venture off in your boat or bike or on foot for 20 minutes or so. Idyllic. In fact, I imagine that Giethoorn is where the word “quaint” originated. It should have been, anyway, because that’s what it feels like when you’re there. Quaint in the best way possible.
Driving west, we stopped to visit the Castle De Haar, a fantastical castle, complete with moat and drawbridge, perfectly manicured lawns, and the best kept castle I’ve ever seen. The Dutch do take pride in their country, maintaining their historic buildings and manicuring the landscape in ways that many countries don’t. Everything is taken care of and maintained so well. Even the neighborhoods we were told were lower income still looked beautiful, and were exceedingly well kept, including the roads, buildings and sidewalks. Visit this castle and be blown away by its grandeur.
Of course, we had to visit Gouda on our trip. We did, and we learned that Gouda is not only known for cheese, but also candles and ceramic pipes. I learned all about the Gouda cheese making process, and the different types, based on age. We had one of our best meals in the town, and left with a suitcase full of cheese, vacuum sealed and ready for our flight. You likely think I’m exaggerating. I am most certainly not.
Finally, we stayed in a farmhouse just twenty minutes drive from Schipol Airport, and our toddler enjoyed the chickens while we enjoyed the fresh eggs each morning.
We left The Netherlands after experiencing so much, yet feeling like we only skimmed the surface of what the country has to offer. We need to go back, especially during springtime to see the tulips, and also during winter to skate on the canals in Amsterdam when the water freezes over. It sounds like a dream – but in reality, it is already calling us back.