A return to femininity brings a renewed interest in neckwear. Scarves, jabots, stock ties, and laces are all part of the act that features a feminine flair this year. Paint them in a mix of patterns, run them through with silver and gold threads, drape them with a dramatic flourish, and you're off and running for fall. Autumn's options in neckware are multiple, allowing a range of changes for a single suit or jersey dress. It's a simple way to add versatility to the wardrobe.
The focus on body-sculptured attire brings with it no one particular shape or style of neckline. And this allows a wide-open field for the creative use of elegant scarves -- a kind of anything-goes approach.
Flowing scarves, as opposed to the recent menswear trend of bow ties, reinforces a softer, feminine look that's compatible with more creativity and versatility.
``Scarves will be the strongest neckline statement for fall,'' says Susan Glick, fashion director of Chicago's Apparel Center. And the possibilities are endless. You'll see them wrapped tightly like a collar piece and held in place by a magnificent pin (real or fake). They'll be worn in multiples around the neck, like jewelry, because scarves are a perfect way to add one or more patterns to an ensemble. Indian or African prints, batiks, and paisleys will all be good choices.
The oversized silk scarf, tied at the neck or over the head for a Grace Kelly look, will be seen in both authentic French silks and prints. Look for scarves to be furled into turbans or to define waistlines, too. They will be generally larger, more wrappable, but the entire gamut will be represented -- from small rectangles to huge shawls.
Part of this neckline excitement comes from pizazzy fabrics, some of which carry a definite feeling of rich baroque. Challis and lace are in the forefront. And don't be surprised to see traditional evening touches -- rhinestones and metallic threads shot through a pattern -- for classic daytime wear with pants and tailored suits. Metallic-shot lace, however, remains the province of evening wear.
Neckwear news comes, too, from the equestrian quarter. Stock ties and ascots replace preppy bow ties. Consistent with the equestrian and the dandy look are lace jabots. Long lace scarves -- worn straight or fashioned into jabots to fill in the neckline of a tapestry jacket -- evoke a mood of regal elegance.