Winter wardrobe staples scarves and stoles never go out of fashion. Since they can be adorned in several ways and are available in an array of colours and prints, they add style and colour to any outfit. “A statement stole can spruce up even the most sober outfit,” says designer Nidhi Munim.
Whatever the material — chiffon, silk, cashmere, pashmina or wool — stoles can be draped, doubled, folded and knotted in plenty of ways. Of late, snoods (tubular neck scarves that resemble a close-fitting hood worn over the back of the head) have become popular among stylists because of the warmth and comfort they offer. Knitted snoods also work as winter headgear.
Choose the Right Stole
Make sure you pick a multi-purpose stole. It should be long enough to be draped across your neck and broad enough to experiment with stylistic drapery.
“Avoid fancy patterns. Opt for classic square or rectangular ones with details like tassels or pom-poms,” says designer Aniket Satam. Invest in warmer fabrics like classic pashmina, cable knit wool and textured tweed for daily wear. For parties, stoles and scarves in frilled and textured fabrics like organza and perma-pleated work well. Choose a piece that has textural value in terms of surface enhancement and shine. It should match the colour palette of most of your ensembles and be muted, unless you want to dip your toes into colour blocking.
Choosing the right stole also has a lot to do with your persona. “If you love brights and bling, go for pieces in magenta, coral, orange or yellow. If you like sombre shades like blacks, greys and whites, opt for beige, nude, camel and peach colours,” says designer Shouger Merchant Doshi.
Prints vary from stripes, plaid, polka dots, floral and paisley. Stoles with smaller motifs, two-toned colours and plaid are on-trend. Avoid gaudy stoles with too many patterns; instead opt for classic patterns like checks and stripes.
Drape it Well
Plan your entire look and make sure the colour of the stole or scarf happily merges with the entire shade palette. If you are wearing it with a dress, wrap it around your neck or drape around your arms. “You can team stoles with full-sleeved tees and denims. Half-sleeve T-shirts are a big no–no because it appears like you’re wearing a suit without a shirt,” says designer Riyaz Gangji. If you are confused about how to drape a new stole that you bought because it matched your ensemble, tie it around the handbag.”
“For curvy women, wearing stoles with a dark base makes them look slimmer. If you are petite, avoid chunky knit stoles; opt for thin flowy ones,” says Munim.
Check the Label
Pashmina shawls are the best choice to keep warm during cold months. Since these shawls cost a bomb, be careful when shopping; you could be fooled into buying a duplicate. Make sure you purchase them from government-certified dealers or Kashmiri stores.
The Right Maintenance
Expensive varieties are an investment; maintain them well so that you can use them over a long period of time. “Woollen garments should be cautiously washed because the texture and balance of wool are sensitive,” says Gangji. If not taken care of, wool becomes elastic. Religiously abide by the instructions given on the label. Most woollen stoles need to be hand-washed in cold water; some need dry cleaning.