Stoles serve as an accessory that can be used for fashion or function. They range from the short, fur variety, which are usually worn for formal outings like opening night at the Met, to pashminas and large, substantial scarves that are draped around the shoulders. The key to wearing a stole is to find one that easily works with your existing wardrobe. After that, tossing on a stole will seem second nature.
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Examine your existing wardrobe and decide what the stole will complement. Are you wearing it for formal events? Are you wearing it to keep warm? Thinking about how you'll wear your stole will help you take colour, fabric and details into account when shopping for the right one.
Find the right style. You know what you're wearing it with, so now begin shopping. If you don't have a store nearby that stocks stoles, hit online boutiques for a wide array. Vintage stoles in mint condition are on eBay, and etsy.com offers handmade and vintage stoles. If you plan to wear the stole for formal occasions, fur (real or faux) and tweed stoles are ideal. For more casual events, a pashmina wool stole adds chicness without bulk.
Find the right fit. While stoles are usually "one size fits all," a large stole can overwhelm a petite woman's appearance. You also want to avoid a large stole for formal events. A fur stole should just drape the shoulders, while pashmina stoles can be draped myriad ways (and will usually extend beyond the shoulders). If you're short, be sure you drape your pashmina stole so the bulk is around your neck, cutting down on length.
Wear a stole to a formal affair. A stole is appropriate with a dress that has a strapless neckline or spaghetti straps. Neutral shades like blush and champagne are flattering and add a warm glow to the face. Bold shades like canary yellow and cerulean blue make a statement over a simple sheath cocktail dress. Adorn yourself with jewels (fine or costume) and heels.
Wear a stole for a casual outing. A dinner date or walk in the city offer a chances to take a more casual spin on the fashion accessory. A pashmina stole works best for casual wear. If your closet contains primarily neutrals, throw a bright pashmina on your shoulders while wearing a slim-fitting top such as a boatneck or tank and sleek trousers or denim. You can leave the pashmina stole open or create an asymmetrical closure fastened with a brooch for a pulled-together look.
How to Wear a Stole
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