Warmth is hardly the only rationale for wearing scarves: They're an absolute godsend for those with neck issues, surrounding the problematic area with color and texture—and doing it with such verve that even basic clothes seem more sophisticated. Schwab swears that she never goes out without one, switching from thin wool and silk in winter to gauze and linen when summer comes. Her advice:
- Pick solids or understated prints in a muted palette; brights can be overwhelming near the face.
- Stick to low-bulk fabrics that can be wrapped or tied easily.
- Avoid tightly wound scarves or self-conscious arrangements: "They should look offhand, as if you just threw them on," Schwab says.
- A silk or chiffon neck square is an attractive ploy for filling in the neckline of a shirt or jacket; a gently draped oblong sets up a vertical line that makes the torso seem leaner.
Bargainista alert: Schwab likes to buy luxury yard goods from a fabric store and have them made up into scarves by a local seamstress (or do it yourself if you sew).