My fabulous friend Plumcake has many wonderful qualities, and among the best of them is the fact that she somehow contrived to get herself born on Bastille Day, thereby ensuring a lifetime of perfectly good reasons to be taken to a French restaurant at least once a year. How clever was that of her? And how clever am I, to have made friends with her and therefore to have the opportunity to take her to said French restaurant?
Of course, because I am a dedicated fashionista, I determined that Plumcake's birthday dinner at Chez Nous on Bastille Day was a very special occasion that required a wardrobe to match. An all-French wardrobe, to be precise. (Liberté! Égalité! Gaultier!) Okay, some of it is because I'm a fashionista, but mostly it's because I'm a silly, silly woman who happens to be a mad francophile. Also, lately, I've been very intrigued by the idea of wearing my Hermès scarves as halter tops, and I thought this was the time to do it. Seriously -- if I don't get to go to a bal des pompiers and hang out with the gorgeous Parisian firemen, the least I can do is eat crème brulée while swathed in Hermès, right?
Now, this is risky. Not because the halter idea is very daring -- when you're as small-busted as I am, overexposure is pretty much a non-issue. The risk comes because French food? Can be messy. All those yummy sauces? They drip. The butter. The cream. The crumbly bread. Fraught with messiness, and I am a notoriously careless eater, and the wine doesn't help with that. Also, I'm a gesticulator. It's difficult for me to make a point -- hell, it's difficult for me to form a sentence -- without an accompanying hand motion. So get me all worked up over one of my pet peeves (Crocs, say. Or Juicy Couture sweatpants.) while I've got a forkful of truite amandine and there's no telling what might happen. (Although it would be unconscionably cruel to bring up those subjects with me while I was enjoying French food. Whaddya wanna do, gimme the agita?) So I'll need to go slow and be careful. This is not a bad thing, it will help me to savor my meal.
I have two Hermès scarves, both acquired on my last trip to Paris. This is my Jardins d'Hiver
I'm sorry, this is a terrible photo, but trust me when I say it's a work of art. And this is my Jeu d'Omnibus:
But how best to do this?
First, I did some experimenting on my own.
This is very simple -- I tied two corners around my neck, and two corners around my waist, and voila! A top! It required some futzing, I rolled the tied ends at the neck a few times to create more of a cord effect and take up some of the extra fabric. I like this -- it's quite full on the front, but that makes it seem luxurious, with all that billowy fabric, and it does a good job of showing off the design of the scarf. Also, this method gives it the most length, which I prefer with the skirt I'm going to wear with it -- I want the scarf to come down over the waistband of the skirt a bit.
Next I tried the method recommended by Hermès:
This is also extremely simple, three knots instead of two. First, you tie a knot in the very center of the scarf on the reverse side to take up the slack in the fabric. And then you do what I did the first time -- two ends around the neck, two ends around the waist. This gives a much more fitted effect, which is nice, and shows off the bright blue border of the scarf, which is a color that does wonders for me. The downside is that it's shorter, you can't see the design as well, and you've got a big ol' knot pressed up against your sternum. (It's a knot of Hermès silk, of course, so it's not exactly torture.)
So these two methods are both great with the Jardins d'Hiver, but when I tried them with my Jeu d'Omnibus, I couldn't manage them. The blue scarf is a classic 90 x 90 cm size, but the pink scarf is a vintage style, which means it's smaller -- only 70 x 70 cm. That makes it too small to fit around my ribcage and knot in the back. Hmmmmmmm, what to do? So I did some surfing on the Series of Tubes and found (oh, I wish I could remember where) this:
Brilliant!!! Put on a fairly substantial necklace. Fold the scarf in half diagonally to make a triangle. Bring the points of the triangle up and tie them in a knot around the necklace, and the bottom points around your waist. This is genius, and I love the way it looks with this scarf, whose circular design really works well here. It fits very closely and feels very secure. I also tried this with the blue one:
Looks great, but it feels a little less secure because there's more fabric and so it's looser on the sides. Still -- pretty fab, non?
So I'm all set. I have also found a diagram for wearing the scarf as a one-shoulder sarong-kinda thing, but the geometry is more complicated and I've yet to master it. Saving that for a day when I've got a little more time and patience. And maybe someone to help, because a gal could pull a muscle trying to reach around herself to tie those knots.
And since we're speaking of birthdays, mine is coming up next month and I've decided that I want my birthday treat to myself to be this:
This pattern is called Jungle Love. Isn't that the most amazing thing? This isn't the colorway I'm after -- there's a red version that you can see here. Oh, it's just ravishing, I love it like a boyfriend. So I've set myself a goal. I'm socking away my pennies in my Luxury Tithe, and if I can go a month without buying any shoes, clothes or other fashion items, I'll treat myself to a new scarf for my birthday. It really shouldn't be that hard for me to stay on a No Buy for a month -- I've shopped my brains out over the last few months. In my defense, a lot of my wardrobe was no longer wearable due to my weight loss. Seriously -- even some of my shoes are now too big. But I've filled in the gaps pretty admirably and now I need to just work what I have and give the charge cards a breather. I know my friend Deja Pseu over at Une Femme d'un Certain Age is also on a No Buy -- so now you've got a No Buy Buddy, Deja! Anyone else who wants to join in, feel free to hop on the bandwagon!
Oh, and Joyeux Fête Nationale to all!!
Photos: Style Spy, Luxury-Scarves.com