Do you consider yourself well-dressed? Are you a fashionista?

Some women over 60 were fashion icons in their earlier years and remain as such today. They know what looks best and wear what they are both comfortable in and what makes them look fabulous. Others follow the latest trends, chasing an image that may be more fantasy than reality.

Some people seem to come to fashion naturally. You know them, they always look good in a just-pulled-together sort of way. Nothing looks too studied or too perfect, but they always look great.

Perhaps they have studied, spending hours with Vogue and videos, personal shoppers and stylists, but the look remains effortless.

Then there are those of us who haven’t quite figured out the chic dressing code.

My Own Perception

I will be the first to admit that I am no fashionista. I often struggle with clothes, both in finding the right things and with putting outfits together. I have been one of those people with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.

If you have been in this situation, you know it is stressful. Not knowing what to wear can suck up your self-esteem and contribute to negative body image. It can make you late for appointments and events. Even worse – it can leave you feeling less than. Less than others. Less than beautiful. Less than your best self.

The Third Piece Rule

In an attempt to up my fashion game, I have been trying new things. I read somewhere that to be fashionable you need a third piece. In addition to pants or a skirt and top, this might be a jacket, a sweater or a kimono. It might also be an accessory such as a statement necklace, a wrap or a scarf.

I’ve found some success with the third piece rule. I like to wear a jacket or sweater, or in very warm weather, one of the new light and floaty kimonos. This has been my attempt to look more pulled together, but it doesn’t always work.

I tend to love basic, neutral, classic clothes. I have a closet full of black, gray and navy blue. For some brightness, I usually wear a white or light-colored top. The good news is that I often buy quality pieces. The bad news is that although everything goes together, it is all very boring.

The Power of the Scarf

Then I saw a woman wearing very basic, neutral clothing and a beautiful silk scarf. She looked stunning. I realized that I already owned similar pants, cardigan and blouse. It wasn’t the clothing that made the look, it was the scarf.

Perhaps this is very obvious to you and you have long ago discovered the power of a beautiful scarf, but it was a revelation to me.

I owned a couple of scarves, purchased or given to me years ago, but I never wore them. There had never been any intention; I had no idea about how I might wear them or how to use them to complete an outfit.

I decided to go shopping for a scarf similar to the one my new fashion icon had worn. I noted the colors and style and dragged a friend along with me to help. Fashion accessories are not my area of specialty, and I have never considered myself someone who accessorizes particularly well.

But I found a similar scarf and bought it. I wore it hesitantly a couple of times and it felt good. It brightened up my complexion and brought color to my otherwise neutral wardrobe. Several people complemented me. It was a fashion win.

Since then I have realized the power of a scarf to change my look and be the accessory that has upped my fashion game. I now own many scarves and wear them often.

A good scarf offers many opportunities for style. Let’s explore them together.

Scarves Add Color

If you own a closet full of neutrals, scarves will brighten things up. I love my neutrals, but my coloring has faded with age and I find that I look better with a little color near my face. Color also adds interest and personality to your outfit. If you love color, scarves can be your playground!

Scarves Offer the Opportunity to Go Wild with Print

If you can wear print head to toe, good for you. I love prints, especially florals, but don’t usually feel comfortable wearing them.

I’ve never felt I could pull off a flowered jacket, but a scarf gives me just enough print to please my sense of pattern. I even have a favorite leopard print scarf that adds pattern without overwhelming me.

Scarves Add Warmth

When temperatures dip, a scarf feels cozy against your neck. An added bonus is that it covers up parts of your neck that are starting to sag and wrinkle.

There are very light weight scarves that will work in warmer temperatures or in a chilly air- conditioned room. I just bought a summer weight scarf in a poppy print that I can’t wait to try.

Scarves Stretch Your Wardrobe Basics

How many times can you wear that black sweater? For me, the answer is, endlessly. It can look new and different when I pair it with different scarves. This is a way to maximize your investment in good basic pieces while keeping your look interesting.

Scarves Let You Show Your Creative Flair

Like many women, I have a creative side, though my wardrobe has not always reflected my creativity. I have tried wildly printed shirts or shoes in bright colors, but I could never made it work.

Adding scarves has been a game changer for me. I can tie them in different ways and add a necklace or bag to make the outfit better match my personality. The right scarf allows me to be myself in a way that feels comfortable.

What is your favorite accessory? Are you a scarf wearer? Where do you get your scarves? Have you always known the magic of scarves or is it something you have yet to explore? I’d love to know how you make scarves work for you.