Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shopping Second Hand: Silky Scarves

I'm starting a new series about shopping second hand. I do not claim to be an expert on this subject by any means. I'm basically writing from my own personal experience. This series will primarily focus on things that I like to collect as well as things that I have good luck finding second hand.

The first objects of my second hand affection are silky scarves. I find that square scarves in a silky material are relatively easy to find. I love having a collection of such scarves on hand to add a pop of color to an otherwise bland outfit. These little beauties pop up in a variety of places. The ones below came from thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets, and estate sales. I don't think that I've paid more than a dollar or two for any of them regardless of brand or material.


What should you look for in a scarf? Obviously you should first look for colors and patterns that you are attracted to. If you don't love it, you won't wear it. For good quality scarves, look for those made of pure silk. Most places, especially thrift stores, don't distinguish between materials when it comes to price. This silk ones are the same price as the synthetics. The material is not always indicated, but with a little practice you should be able to identify silk by touch.

Another sign of quality is a name brand. High-end designers such as Hermes are know for their scarves, but I've never found one second hand. I have, however, found several scarves designed by Vera Neumann, a very popular and prolific 20th century textile designer. Her scarves are usually marked with her name "Vera". The three scarves on the bottom row are all marked Vera. You can clearly see her name on the middle scarf.

Flickr has several groups dedicated to the work of Vera Neumann. I would suggest perusing these groups to familiarize yourself with her work. She has a pretty distinctive, painterly style. Once you know what you are looking for, the scarves will be easier to spot.

Good luck and happy hunting. Next week, I'll have a new installment of Shopping Second Hand.

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