Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cheap and Chic

A couple of weeks ago, I received this great style challenge via email:
I would love to purchase items you show as I'm sure many other readers would like also, unfortunately our budgets do not run to such wonderful items. Is it possible that you could show us how to start to incorporate what you show but with cheaper accessories.
When I was in town last week, I went to investigate the scarf counter at the 'Galerie Lafayette'. The sales were still in full swing, and I was lucky to find something perfect to meet the challenge.

It was reduced from 29,90 to 14.95 EUR

and it is made of 100% silk

A very pretty scarf!

Cheap & Chic pieces
Clothes: Grey wool trousers by Caroll, black sweater by H&M (9.90 EUR)
Accessories: the bracelets were gifts from girlfriends, but similar ones can be found or made in pearl or arts and craft shops

How to work the scarf
Scarf ring: MT collection, black moyenne
Scarf tying method: Fold scarf in the basic bias fold, wrap once around your neck and slide ends through a scarf ring with the basic slide method.

Tip: Choosing the right scarf ring size does not only depend on the size of a scarf, but even more so on it's weight and thickness. Although this scarf is large (97 cm x 97 cm), I used a moyenne size scarf ring, as the silk is considerably thinner and more lightweight than the silk of H Carrés

I loved this challenge, as I believe that stylish looks can easily be achieved with modest or moderate budgets. Of course I adore my Hermès accessories, but it was fun to prove how an inexpensive scarf can elevate a simple outfit into a chic look. In my view, the effort is so much more the key than the cost. With time, I will try a few more knots with Ms Polka Dot, I hope you'll enjoy. Many thanks for the challenge, dear V.I. !


  1. So...the day has come! Previous week, I was in our local middle-range clothing shop (so to say). I bought a blue T-shirt on sale, which I do with easy heart and so often. Then, several white T-shirts of nice quality and decent price. I never come close to the fashion Bible says "accessories must be high quality (hm, expensive?)". Most of mine are Hermes. However, I saw, just by chance a nice scarf, nice colouring, nice design, nice silk and for a moment I had a feeling I am in a style heaven and had to buy it. However, somewhere deep in my heart I felt, anxious. Have I cheated? What would MaiTai say? So - thank you for the answer, lol. You look fab and chic and my eyes do not recognize the difference from the looks when you wear H, for the fact you are fabulous and the style comes from within and is much more than stacking expensive items. Thank you for your style lecture again. We are waiting for the book...Hugs, your dedicated reader (who at first decided to keep this secret for herself, far from this blog, but changed her mind)

  2. What a great idea, MT. Sometimes we get so caught up in a Hermes haze that we forget that the same looks can be achieved with cheaper accessories.

  3. My dear Lilian, thanks so much for sharing your recent shopping trip, so glad you did not keep it a secret. I completely agree with you, great finds can be made everywhere, and I am so happy to hear about your scarf. Many congratulations! Thank you for the lovely compliments, and hugs right back to you :)

    Many thanks, dear Tereza!

    So true, my dear booksnchocolate! A big thanks to V.I., who posted the challenge. Looking forward to more episodes of 'Cheap and Chic, and hoping you'll enjoy them too :) Bonne soirée!

  4. Fabulous! I find certain thicknesses of scarves make a difference in how they work with scarf rings too. This scarf is lovely.

  5. Really great to see something different and yet still equally stylish. May I ask a style challenge? PLEASE something for when it is really cold... I have worn to death my cowboy knot style over the polonecks plus the other great alternative you showed us a few weeks ago. Admittedly it really is a problem with the weather but I am hoping your German ancestry can help inspire an Australasian stuck in -6 minimum temperatures.... Please when you can and only if you feel like it Sx

  6. Many thanks, dear Stephanie, so happy you like the scarf and post :-)

  7. Might I suggest this scarf for demonstrating the already mentioned waterfall knot, as it is long enough and is not too thick, i.e. it would make a wonderful waterfall? :-)

  8. Dearest MaiTai

    Lilian is right when she says "style comes from within" and no matter which scarf you wear, I think you will always look stylish and chic.
    Thank you for being an inspiration for everyone here, showing us that it is possible to "play" with less expensive accessories.
    I also have a couple of scarves that are not Hermès. Warmest hugs, M.

  9. Once bitten by H silk it quickly becomes an addiction and I tend to forget that an elegant look can be achieved with far less expensive accessories. Thank you for another lesson in elegance and style dear MT.

  10. Well done with the Thrift and Frugality of this outfit!

    You'd look good in anything Maitai.

    But Hermes scarves are still the absolute Bomb x

  11. maiTai, I agree with the other ladies here, I bet you'd look stylish in a potato sack, you have such a way with clothes!

    Thanks for an inspirational post. If you hadn't said so, I would never have imagined such a beautiful look was achieved with such inexpensive clothes and accessories.

    You look gorgeous.


  12. I really like that scarf, I'd wear it in a heartbeat. Nice to see that you would too. Well done!

  13. Thank you for this post. While I love my two "H" scarves (and wear the "h" out them), two is about all my wallet allows me. I do, however, love scarves and own them in a variety of price points. Your style tips have been immensely helpful. Thanks for demonstrating that high style doesn't have to be high end. BTW, everyone's right: You always look fantastic.

  14. Dear MaiTai,
    What a lovely idea for a series.
    Like many others, I will probably, for numerous reasons, never own a Birkin or Kelly, but that is not to say that style is not something I can strive for. Your posts are an inspiration of style and I for one continue to gain confidence and ideas from your thoughtful and sensitive musings.
    Many thanks as always!

  15. Bravissima, my dearest MaiTai! And a very warm welcome to the delightful Ms. Polka Dot - what a fantastic find. Completely agree with the other ladies here - your amazing, beautiful, elegant style transcend each article. And you are absolutely right - it truly is about the creative process and how everything is put together, regardless of the cost or affordability. The color scheme of this chic outfit is fabulous - one of my favorites. And I love the combination of the two bracelets and how those warm round pearls and soft beads so nicely compliment Ms. PK. Thank you so much, dearest MaiTai, for another great lesson in style happiness. Much love to you and warmest hugs always, xx

  16. "Clothes make the man" (Shakespeare/Hamlet) Well dear MaiTai you have just shown us all that this is not necessarily achieved by solely wearing designer items!
    quality fabrics ,and a little panache as you demonstrate are really all that are needed to look stylish and chic!
    I love and appreciate my Hermes and other (expensive) pieces but often shy away from wearing them just because they are a little precious and I need to live a busy life without worrying about the fragility of my accessories ! Ms Polka Dot looks wonderful,and your styling of her inspirational, thank you for the reality check !!!

  17. Dear MaiTai,
    your outfits are always stylish and inspiring but i find this one very special!Thank you!

    p.s.I have two similar bracelets.I love them and wear them frequently..

    p.s.I love scarves too.I have a nice collection although i have yet to get my first Hermès..It's in my wishlist!

  18. Outdone yourself once again! Of course it is not about the price, but the style. And we all know, taste can't be bought! You've proven this statement with one single picture - exceeding all the expectations we lay in you already! <3, Macs

  19. Excellent dear MT. Love your creativity and choice of the scarf... The polka dot pattern is a cheery classic at any price. Thanks as well to V.I.

  20. So down to earth, that's part of your beauty and if course you look a million dollars in everything you wear

  21. Dear MaiTai, I love your blog because you include everybody. Hermes is exclusive, yet you go to a lot of trouble to let everyone feel part of this wonderful experience. Thank you for your gentilesse. xx Terese

  22. I love this new challenge! thank you dear MT, it's been beautifully solved! I like Caroll clothes, classic and well tailored. Thank you.

  23. Congratulations on your new style challenge, dear Maitai.
    It's -you're- the epitome of class, admirable taste and criterion, and sharp mind.
    Thanks for everything.
    All my love <3 :-) <3

  24. I so love your blog MaiTai, you are the best scarf styling expert ever! And you would look great even wearing a plastic bucket and a shower curtain! Not that you ever would of course..i might soon though, only a matter of time....think how easy to sponge down and great rain protection..xx

  25. Dear Mai'tai
    I really enjoyed your 'shoot'. thanks for showing that H is not a necessity...just a bonus if the H coin permits.


  26. HI MaiTai,
    I am actually wearing the Blighty combination of Plastic Bucket and Shower right now. What a co-incidence that Blighty and I have that I have the same outfit.
    My excuse is that we've just had Cyclone Yasi through our house, and the roof lost tiles. I very wet house inside.

  27. Thank you for the challenge, dear ssb, and sorry for this late reply. Basically, the more silk you gather around your neck, the warmer you will be. The knot featured in this post would be a good option, if done with a 90 Carré. Minus six degrees is VERY cold though, and perhaps you would want to consider something warmer than silk. Personally I'd reach for a scarf fur collar and be cosy in silk and fur, or find a shawl or scarf in cashmere or wool. Keep warm :)

    Oh Lilian, your persistence propelled me into action, and I will get the video out very soon. And Ms Polka is a great candidate indeed!

    Ms PD is excitedly waving to your non H scarves, my dear Manuela!

    And as far as I know, there is no vaccination against the H bug either, dear booksnchoclate!

    I always love the posts when you are mixing high and low, my dear FF, I'm honoured by your thumbs up!

    My dear Yenners, you are always so gracious, thank you :)

    Thank you, Someone!

    Many thanks, dear Kathy. It is wonderful to hear that you find inspiration for all types of scarves here, as this is how I intended this blog to be. Merci!

    Dear Rosekirk, I am happy you like the idea of making this into a possible new series, and it is so nice to hear that you find inspiration here. Thank you :)

    Aww, my dear Scarf Enthusiast, your wonderful descriptions blew me away, as always! The creative process is truly the essence, and as Hermeshermione puts it, the rest is an extra bonus. Ms PD had her second outing today, test driving the waterfall knot for Lilian’s request! A happy weekend and much love to you too x

    Thank you for sharing the quote, dear Ann, and the insights into your wardrobe style. I bet you look every bit as fabulous with your non designer items!

  28. Thank you, my dear marinaki, I am touched you find this post special, as it is to me too. Scarf greetings to you!

    My dear hair-mess, I completely agree, style and price have not necessarily a correlation..and one can come easily without the other.. in both ways ;-)

    Happy you like Ms PD, my dear SMR, mille merci! <3

    Of course I am down to earth, my dear Tabitha, I’m a Taurus after all! ;-)

    Your beautiful comment made me smile a happy smile, thank you, dear Terese.

    Merci Scarf Additct!

    My dear Birkinmary, I will be always grateful to you for bringing the first challenge on, happy you like this one! So nice to hear you like Caroll too x

    My dear cecilia, thank you for so bringing sunshine, hearts and so much more. All my love to you too <3

    Dear Blighty, yours is the best challenge yet! I am very tempted, and have a plastic bucket already, but no shower curtain.. Will definitely keep my eyes open! x

    Beautifully said, my dear Hermeshermione, and absolutely wonderful to see you here! x

    My dear Louise, I am so very very sorry to hear. I hope the roof could be fixed quickly, and that the inside of your house is all dry again and not too badly damaged. I very much admire you for not loosing your fantastic sense of humour in this, sending you big cyber ((hugs))

  29. Another lovely post MaiTai! It's always inspiring to see you 'H it up', even without the H! ;)

  30. lifeatmyfingertipsFebruary 9, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    I love how you put your own touch into every outfit. You always look fabulous (and you are still so humble too)!! =)

  31. Thank you, my dear lifeatmyfingertips, you are so sweet and kind <3