Scarves are my favorite accessory of all time. And if you travel (or just want to keep your wardrobe simple), they are a saving grace on bad hair days, chillier-than-expected temps, and to cover grubby T-shirts. Scarves are generally made of silk or lightweight cotton and can be handwashed with a gentle soap (I use shampoo or Dr. Bronner's) in  a sink and left to hang and they'll still look great. 


I favor large vintage scarves that can be used as swim coverups or skirts, a bit of color at the neck, to block light in hotel windows when I'm on the go, or to make an elegant outfit really pop with color or pattern. They can also be used decoratively, to cover unpretty tables, or to make a party spread a bit more festive. And when you're waving goodbye, the scarf fluttering from your outstretched arm, you will definitely be remembered. 

The 1960s was the heyday for modern, graphically printed scarves, and this one, by Vera, is a perfect example. Available from Zaja on Ebay


This art deco scarf is hand-painted, and by the looks of it, dates from the '30s or '40s (though one can never be sure without some kind of archive to compare to, which don't exist for many companies). Via retromonde on Ebay. 

Lace is a huge trend for spring, and this pretty vintage lace on pink would soften an office ensemble or prettify a simple weekend dress. Via Witchery


This vintage Yves Saint Laurent scarf has giant graphic hearts and butterflies all over it; it would dress up even the most basic jeans and tee combo. Via Etsy seller Emily Jones


This gorgeous scarf is handpainted and handrolled, and is originally from Thailand. The incredibly striking peacock would look beautiful as a tablecloth (this scarf is also quite large), or worn any which way. Via Lakesidecottage on Etsy. 

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Vintage Fridays: Multitasking scarves
These fashion workhorses can disguise a bad hair day or add pop to an otherwise boring ensemble.