Visibly Voluminous

When you’re a Jet
You’re the top cat in town…

Although I’ve been flirting with color lately, I haven’t abandoned basic black as a wardrobe staple. Black divides the masses, but I will always be a fan. Lately I’ve been pairing black with lighter neutral accents to break it up a bit. Here I’ve added a leopard scarf and a taupe bag.

The scarf above is the “Animal Spirit” Pure Cashmere Stole from L’Affaire Cashmere. This scarf is SO light and soft! When it arrived I opened the box, put it on, wore for hours and didn’t want to take it off. And I’ve been wearing it frequently ever since. I’m very impressed with the quality. The print is beautiful (I love my leopard prints but am very picky about them) and seems to go with everything I own.

If you’ve been perusing style blogs or Pinterest lately, you may have noticed that the Big Voluminous Scarf™ has been A Thing™ for a few seasons now.

(Think her scarf is Louis Vuitton.)

I tend to shy away from a lot of volume generally, but think this works if I give the scarf center stage and keep the rest of the ensemble simple and close-fitting. The tie below is great if you don’t like a lot of bulk high up on the neck; this arrangement stays put and provides a lot of warmth on the neck and front of the torso. It will also work with a large square scarf. For those in cooler climates, I think it would be a great look peeking out from underneath a peacoat or bright overcoat.

1. Fold the scarf in half crosswise, and tie one set of ends in a double knot.
2. Drape around the neck, with knot in back.
3. Grab bottom of loop, turn once to make an 8, loop back over head.
4. Arrange and enjoy!

Next week I’ll show another easy tie for a large scarf that goes the opposite way and minimizes the volume.


Yes, the bag is new. It’s as close to a perfect workday tote as I’ve ever found. I saw this one last October in Vegas at one of the Chanel boutiques, fell in love, came home and immediately put five of my bags up for sale to finance the purchase. The quilted caviar finish is slightly distressed, and the shape is that perfect balance between structured and slouchy. The color is a fabulous year-round neutral. Inside is the kind of interior organization that makes me salivate. Pockets, compartments, a key fob even.

Jacket: Eileen Fisher, here.
Top (not visible): Eileen Fisher, here.
Pants: Eileen Fisher, here.
Boots: Purchased in Paris in 2008, similar here.
Scarf: L’affaire cashmere, here.

Linking up with Patti’s Visible Monday, at Not Dead Yet Style.

When it comes to black, where do you stand? Have you sworn off black, or are you a fellow noir-aholic? Do you have strategies to lighten it up, or do you embrace the dark side?

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  1. January 7, 2013 / 11:28 am

    Another black addict here but do like to break it up with either shoes or a lovely red handbag I’ve got. The colour of that bag is just gorgeous!

  2. January 7, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    I love your outfit and the whole look! I swore off black for a decade, then a change of countries and climate led me back to acquiring key black items last year so now I’m very happy. Agree about adding neutrals or a pop of colour to break it up. Your new bag is lovely, it looks like ‘washed’ caviar, if so I have same in the classic flap style and it’s one of my favourite bags – so smooshy to hold.

  3. sarah van Holland
    January 7, 2013 / 12:44 pm

    I love the scarf and the bag even though I don’t really like logo’s. I am also a black-lover,trying lately more dark colors as burgundy,chocolate brown and my all time favorite: navy blue, a bit softer than black especially next to the face.
    I enjoy reading your blog, thank you!

  4. January 7, 2013 / 1:33 pm

    I’ve been wearing big scarves myself–they minimize self-consciousness about a middle-aged stomach! The whole outfit is gorgeous–makes me realize that neutrals generally look best.

  5. January 7, 2013 / 2:18 pm

    All my really good basics are black, even though I’m more of a “soft summer/soft autumn”. So, yes, I wear black, but I really try to alleviate the starkness with neutrals and shades of color near my face.

    Your hair and your makeup look fabulous in these shots. Well, I guess it’s YOU who look that way!

  6. Anonymous
    January 7, 2013 / 2:47 pm

    Wow. What a great bag.

  7. January 7, 2013 / 3:02 pm

    I find that in my climate (Cape Cod) a substantial scarf can supply not only a welcome pop of color and pattern to a basic outfit but also gives you a bit of flexibility for changeable temperatures.

  8. January 7, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    Gorgeous scarf, and styling, Une Femme. As always, I am learning new scarf styles from you and I will try this one today. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday!

  9. January 7, 2013 / 3:22 pm

    Fellow big fan of black outfits here. While I have a dark brown bag at the moment, to simplify I’ve pretty much removed brown from my wardrobe. I do admire some brown booties so may add some as accents.

    Love your scarf too, and as Frugal Scholar says, a really big scarf is a great distraction from middle age spread!

  10. January 7, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    I like the look a lot. Goes well with your hair in particular.

    Funny, I’ve been wearing my Eric Bompard scarf similarly, under a coat, as an easy way to layer in San Francisco winter. But I needed you to tell me it’s actually stylish!

  11. January 7, 2013 / 4:08 pm

    Hi Pseu —

    I really like the contrast of sleek background + big ole showstealer here!

    Recovering blacktextile-a-holic here.

    I have very purposefully added color-color over the last several years but like your scarf the color has often been a print *with* black. Harm reduction at its best….

  12. January 7, 2013 / 4:20 pm

    You look great in that voluminous leopard print scarf!
    I am so envious of your bag…clever you to finance it by the sale of your other bags.
    It’s a keeper and in a neutral shade that will span all the seasons.

  13. tagatha
    January 7, 2013 / 5:09 pm

    For me, wearing a lot of black seemed to be tied to my depression. Though I’m feeling better now, I still shy away from all-black or even mostly black ensembles. It looks lovely on other people, like you, but I’m more comfortable with myself when I’m wearing colours.

  14. Marla Robinson
    January 7, 2013 / 11:03 am

    I love and sometimes live in black. I am a fan of all the neutral colors-camel, grey, black, brown. I could wear these everyday. Love that beautiful leopard scarf you are wearing with the all black outfit.

  15. January 7, 2013 / 7:47 pm

    I love black, even though it isn’t always the most flattering to my coloring. I wear it a lot, but use scarves and things near my face to provide softening or brightening. Also, I have rediscovered the value of beige/tan/taupe and black, which lets me wear a favorite (if somewhat silly) beige skirt with sprinkles of sparkly bugle beads that doesn’t seem to go with anything else. I think it’s correct that we need to wear the colors that make us feel good, even if they aren’t objectively “our” colors.

  16. Chicatanyage
    January 7, 2013 / 12:00 pm

    I have always loved black and find it so easy but must admit that it now longer loves me especially near my face. So like you I add scarves, jewellery etc to soften. Great scarf tie will try later. Envious of th bag.

  17. January 7, 2013 / 8:19 pm

    Gorgeous!! Love the scarf and I’m a huge leopard print fan.

  18. Tiffany
    January 7, 2013 / 8:24 pm

    Love black but it doesn’t love me back – at least, not close to my face. So scarves are a godsend. Love the Big Scarf look and have been wondering whether I could do it … You look fabulous – perfect outfit, great hair!

  19. Anonymous
    January 7, 2013 / 8:48 pm

    About a year or two ago, I had a visceral reaction to black. I wore a lot of it, and I have a complexion that works with black (camel, tan, or beige on the other hand makes me look consumptive). I realized that black was making me feel dumpy and dowdy and shrouded, instead of sharp and chic. I avoid it these days and make sure not to wear it head to toe — and I don’t even care if that breaks me up and makes me look shorter! Now, I gravitate towards greys, charcoals, and navy. I feel less heavy somehow.

  20. January 7, 2013 / 8:53 pm

    Black, so chic and so visually interesting with the your addition of the scarf and bag. A REAL Chanel bag. Beautiful. And those skinny pants and boots create a fantastic line.

  21. Pam @ over50feeling40
    January 7, 2013 / 1:22 pm

    I love everything about this look! I often wear huge scarf looks like this, but I have a friend who tells me it is too much. You just validated everything for me and I will continue wearing them for now. I love a big scarf. This is such a great look and I am drooling over the bag!!

  22. Anonymous
    January 7, 2013 / 10:18 pm

    I am a noir-aholic, but I tend to be timid about all-black. In my view, I think I need to be encouraged to do all-black more often! I am trying to use taupe and olive more often, too.

    Aunt Snow

  23. tammy Silverstyle
    January 7, 2013 / 2:23 pm

    Scarves are an important staple in my wardrobe. I have many and all sizes from small to huge! I haven’t tried this type of tie but will today.
    The purse is fabulous!
    Have a great week

  24. Kathy
    January 7, 2013 / 2:24 pm

    One of your best looks ever. I’ve rarely carried a black bag – just don’t find a real use for them, although I know it’s the favorite of most. I think a neutral, or off-color bag, like an olive green or burgundy is so much more versatile and interesting.

  25. January 7, 2013 / 10:37 pm

    If someone described me when it comes to fashion and clothing, the word would be “practical”. I just can’t justify clothing that can’t do quadruple duty. What does that mean? A lot of black. If it my best color? Probably not, but it is what it is. I go to a lot of receptions, conferences, dinners, etc. What to wear? One of my black dresses, that’s what. I have a number of them and scarves, necklaces, boots, tights, earrings, etc . It works for me. I don’t want to spend a grillion dollars on my wardrobe. I want to be appropriate. I don’t care if I am the best dressed or even noticeable. I just want to blend and look good.

    I don’t know that I can do the voluminous scarf. I have some that could be worn that way, but they would make me feel like an Amazon and conspicuous. This scarf idea looks great on Susan!

  26. Merry Wife
    January 7, 2013 / 3:30 pm

    Love the look! I hardly ever wear scarves, but always admire them on others. The animal print looks very dramatic against the black. Beautiful bag as well!

  27. January 7, 2013 / 11:32 pm

    I often find leopard print problematic, but your approach reminds me that taste makes all the difference. I love black and dark neutrals too, and always enjoy your interpretations as a sister petite. Thanks again for all the inspiration. Have a wonderful 2013!

  28. January 8, 2013 / 12:00 am

    Here in Montréal that scarf would be considered barely medium volume; I mean, you see both men and women in what looks like a baby blanket wrapped around the neck! You wear it very well and of course I too love leopard. And enjoy your new bag, that pinky beigey taupey colour is indeed a perfect neutral.

  29. mette
    January 7, 2013 / 4:27 pm

    I really like that Chanel bag carried by you ( matching your ring too ). I´m so happy that you managed to get it!

  30. January 8, 2013 / 12:52 am

    I love the color of the bag. It’s the perfect color for year around wear.

  31. January 8, 2013 / 1:56 am

    Great scarf! The bag is GORGEOUS!!!!! Sorry I’m screaming. 😉

  32. January 8, 2013 / 3:29 am

    That looks great! And I’m going off to look for the perfect scarf to try that with — thanks!

  33. Adrienne Shubin
    January 7, 2013 / 9:55 pm

    I just bought a leopard scarf similar to yours last month and I adore it! I will have to try tying it the way you’ve shown.
    Black and I have a long history – I wore it all the time in the 80s and 90s. I gave it up for a month and it was rather painful. I just love it!

  34. Val Sparkle
    January 8, 2013 / 1:57 am

    Love the boots, and the tip on how to style a big scarf. That looks cool!

  35. Lynne DeVenny
    January 8, 2013 / 2:30 am

    You look insanely gorgeous and vivacious in this outfit. For some reason, I’ve decided that scarf would complete me…lol.

  36. Amber of Butane Anvil
    January 8, 2013 / 2:32 am

    I do so love a great big scarf. You look fantastic, just superbly dramatic in this one, and thank you for the tying tips.

    As for black, I spent a lot of years wearing almost nothing but. I crave more colour these days, but black remains a solid old friend – we still see each other nearly every day. On the other hand, animal prints, though I absolutely adore them on others, have never much suited me.

    I’m glad to hear your bag has been SO perfect – wonderful after an immediate divesting of five others!

  37. josep-maria badia
    January 8, 2013 / 4:35 pm

    I love scarves, is my favorite supplement. This offer today is beautiful. I really like your outfit and your bag seems lovely.

  38. January 9, 2013 / 4:51 am

    Featuring this gorgeous scarf on a black background = elegant and chic. The tying tip is a good one; I have several large scarves that this will work well with.

    I’m impressed that you sold bags to finance the new beauty in your life. If only I could put that practice into action!

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