By Mary Jo
I'm not sure when I first fell in love with scarves and shawls, but I suspect it was related to long hours at a computer and not liking to have a cold neck. Besides being warming, scarves add color and a bit of dash to someone like me who is a pretty casual dresser.
I have a lot of scarves of different weights, sizes, and textures. On a cold day, I want something cozy and may even layer a couple of different scarves. In warmer weather, I wear something lighter. And when I'm traveling, I regularly succumb to the lure of buying new scarves which are not only lovely and enticing, but have the advantage of being easy to pack. Plus, when traveling you can add a bright scarf to basic black and have a new look every day.
So here are some favorites I've acquired when traveling, and naturally, they all have stories. The model is Snow Bear, who is the biggest fashionista among our stuffed companions, and she loves the chance to dress up!
1) Chinese silk from Melbourne.
When I was speaking at a Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne, which is Anne Gracie's home turf, she took me to a nearby neighborhood called The Lanes, which is also the setting for Kerry Greenwood's delicious Corinna Chapman books. It's full of lovely shops and shopping arcades, and in 'the silk shop,' I found this gorgeous shawl length scarf. It's shimmery and purple and orange, and the biggest problem was choosing the scarf I liked best!
I found this on a visit to Buenos Aires at the beginning of an Antarctic cruise, and the brilliant colors were riveting! There were other similarly brilliant scarves, and I bought two. If I'd realized how favorable the exchange rate was to the American dollar, I'd have bought several more!
3) Scottish delights:
The lovely silk scarf on the right is relatively short and light, and I found it in the shop attached to the Sheila Fleet jewelry shop and restaurant when we toured Orkney. It was probably made in India, as perhaps the Argentine scarves were. India creates amazing fabrics and scarves, and I have a number of them.
4) Irish textures:
This fabulous woolly shawl is from the Blarney Woollen Mills, which we visited on a tour of Ireland some years ago. The store is warehouse sized and has an amazing array of clothing and related products as well as a nice little cafe where we had lunch. I fell in love with the rich texture and colors of this shawl. Perfect for keeping a person warm as they sit by their peat fire sipping Irish cider!
5) Greek designs:
I found this lightweight scarf in a museum shop below the temple of Poseidon in Greece. The temple is legendarily the site where King Aegeus, ruler of Athens, jumped to his death when he saw that the sails on his son Theseus's returning ship were black and thought that meant that his son was dead. The sea is called the Aegean after him. The temple is on a dramatic and windswept cliff that we visited on last year's Adriatic cruise. I like the colors since I wear both black and navy blue, and the fabric is light enough to wear in spring and summer. The pattern has a lovely Greek feel.
6) The streets of Santorini:
This is perhaps my very favorite travel scarf. I was on a chick trip to Greece with my sister and sister-in-law, and we were staying in an apartment dug right into one of Santorini's volcanic cliffs. There were a number of street vendors, and one was a woman who took a piece of translucent white silk and dyed it in multiple colors as I watched. The colors were glorious and the silk was so lightweight that I understood how Indian silk saris would be so delicate that they could be drawn through a wedding ring. Certainly this scarf is that light, and the colors are mesmerizing.
Are you a lover of scarves and shawls? Do you have any with special stories you'd like to share? Please tell!
Mary Jo and Snow Bear, who welcomed the opportunity to dress up!