The Hermès scarf is the epitome of luxury. An object that’s free of outlandish logos and a loud look-at-me aesthetic, the scarf doesn’t let its wearer forget the absolute sense of lavishness and appreciation for craftsmanship.
I’ll never forget the first time I was spellbound by the orange silk of Hermès. I was 13, bored as hell in a small Arizona farm town. I spent hours flipping through the pages of glossy magazines—my mirror to the fanciful world of fashion—enamored by a beautiful photograph of a Hermès scarf effortlessly tied around a model’s long, slender neck. I was determined to own one.
Founded in 1837, Hermès started off making saddles and other equestrian equipment in Paris, but it wasn’t until a hundred years later that the ultraluxe French brand introduced scarves. Since then they’ve appeared on some of the best-dressed ladies in history: Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Queen Elizabeth II, to name a few. Like all things Hermès, the process of making the scarves is intensely detailed—engraving the printing screens takes 750 hours, while each scarf requires the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons.
Lightweight and eye-catching, the scarf is the ultimate status symbol—and the perfect fall wardrobe staple. Tie one around the neck to spruce up a basic tee-and-jeans ensemble or wrap it around the straps of your Birkin (if you’re lucky enough to own one, that is). You can wear it as a headband during those unruly bad-hair days or tie it around the waist like a belt. The options are endless.
Three ways to wear a scarf (in under a minute):
It wasn’t until I was a budding fashion writer visiting Paris that I finally made the leap and entered a Hermès store with the intention of purchasing a scarf. The romantic notion of buying my long-coveted item in Paris seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime dream. I figured I could use my food budget and charge the rest to my credit card. (“Fashion over food seems reasonable,” the 18-year-old me thought.)
The only requirement I set for myself was for the scarf to feature that divine pumpkin hue so famously associated with the brand. Like a bride in search of her perfect dress, I looked through shelves full of rainbow-hued, silky squares, perusing for “the one” that I could take home. And then finally, like the scene when Harry Potter receives his wand at Ollivanders, I found my scarf. The lights from the heavens opened and the voice of a 1,000 angels sang as the Hermès employee spread out the orange silk square featuring imagery of colored pencils.
I paid for it with my eyes closed, walked out of the store, and ripped it out of its perfectly sealed package to wrap it around my neck. I was totally smitten with what would be a lifelong wardrobe staple. Without enough money for a cab, I walked back to my hotel.
Since Paris, the scarf and I have been through it all: It became my good luck charm for those intense job interviews and even served as a hankie when a dude broke my heart. The scarf became my (albeit, expensive) security blanket. I’ve acquired multiple scarves since then, but this one remains my favorite. My husband had it framed inside a glass case so that it can forever be preserved in its pristine shape.
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