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How to find Beautiful Scarves In Charity Shops

Hello and welcome to Gloriously Vintage today.  Dear Reader, do you take pleasure in finding things in charity shops?  I do!  Over the years I have bought many things to wear, to use and enjoy.  This post is about finding beautiful scarves.  Scarves are another of my passions.  I collect silk scarves particularly, but love all scarves for how they can make an outfit original and memorable.


Wearing a satine scarf from Oxfam, with a cream square necked top and pearls

So, where do we start?  We start with the edge.

When looking at scarves always look at the edge first.  If it is hand rolled you have probably got your hands on a silk scarf of quality. A machine edged scarf can also be beautiful, but in a different way.  If it is a scarf that has caught your eye because of the colour and pattern or maybe the size, check the edge very carefully for areas that have come unstitched.  Even needing a little TLC, if you like it and know that you will be able to incorporate the scarf into your wardrobe for either S/S or A/W, seriously consider buying it.  Edges are not difficult to repair by hand.


This is a charity shop find.  The rolled edge just needed a few stitches.  It is one of my S/S scarves and makes a number of looks.  It was about £4 and has been a real success.


An assortment of machined edges.

A modern scarf with an unfinished , frayed edge, which is much more casual.  My “star” scarf is another S/S one that goes with a number of separates because of the colours.


If you familiarise yourself with the feel and look of silk you will always be able to recognise it in a charity shop, at a vintage fair or car boot sale.


Go with what you like and always think what it will go with, when can I wear it and how to wear it.

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You have found a lovely scarf with a hand rolled edge – does the scarf have a name?  Some great names to look for are Jacqmar, Richard Allan, Liberty, Jaeger, Hermes, Alexon, Viyella, Country Casuals, Beckford Silk and Cornelia James.

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An eyecatching Autumnal Scarf from Jacqmar of London

Consider the shape and size of the scarf.  You can do a lot with a square, achieve drama with a large rectangular long scarf and use them with both casual and formal looks.  For vintage outfits they are superb.


At this point I hope you are busy thinking about your own collection of scarves. Do you make a distinction between the vintage ones or the silk ones or are they simply scarves to you?


If you find a wonderful scarf – keep looking, because there is always a chance the same person will have donated more than one item.  That applies to other things too.  Once, I found an amazing coat that had a matching convertible handbag.  The bag could be used as a clutch or with a chain handle.  They were not displayed together in this charity shop and I had to search for the bag – but they made an amazing combination.  So keep searching just to see what you can find.

You will also know the areas around your home where you will find the best things in the charity shops.  Where I live , there are 2 or 3 locations I always go to if I am styling an outfit for a special occasion .

Once you have found your scarf, check it carefully for marks, snags and pulls.

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This unnamed silk square was bought last year in a charity shop for £1.20!  Imagine my absolute delight knowing it would work with this handbag –


I believe the key to making the most of wearing scarves is to experiment, experiment, experiment!

Set aside an evening and try out scarves with tops and jackets particularly.  Tying scarves is very personal.

In my next post I want to share with you how found my signature way of tying and wearing a scarf.  There is a lot of help out there on You Tube.  Amazon also sells books on how to tie a scarf.  However, it is all dependant on the type of scarf, the fabric and size, how it works best for you.

You know dear Reader that I love to buy items from Oxfam.  A few years ago I styled an outfit for an autumn wedding around an amazing scarf I liked on Oxfam.  It had lovely colours and pattern and I wanted to feature it.  I wore it around my neck for the Wedding Service and tied into my handbag at the Reception.  I matched my husband’s tie to the colours too.

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This small square was only £1 and looked like a rag when I bought it.  With a bit of TLC it now ties onto a handbag and tones with emerald green and blue enamelled earrings.


Never baulk at having a good rummage! Scarves are often displayed in suitcases or large bins at vintage fairs or are just thrown into a box in a charity shop.

You may be lucky enough to find a Richard Allan scarf that way.

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I did and it was a real bargain.  I bought it to add to the Richard Allan sub section of my scarf collection.  This A/W it has really come into its own as I have found a modern handbag, gloves and shoes to tone that I have worn at times.



Always look at what is displayed on the mannequins or eye catching display and never be afraid to ask to see a scarf from them.  It is only by feeling the scarf for weight, checking the edge and confirming it is silk, that you will be rewarded with a quality scarf that with care, will last for years.


I gently hand wash scarves in a very mild hand wash solution, air dry and then cool iron scarves.  Some very special silk scarves should be dry cleaned.  It is so gratifying to find a quality scarf for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one.

The other important point is to look carefully at the pattern.

An overall pattern cannot offer much variation in appearance.  Scarves with a pattern that allows you to see different colours and parts of the design depending on the fold give more versatility.  So dear Reader, look critically at the scarf before you buy.  Look at the edge, the condition, the size and how many colours you can work with folding.


I hope this post will help you in your hunting out treasures and finding amazing scarves. 

Do show me your best finds.  I would love to see them!

A big thank you to Glenn for taking these photographs for me.


About Gloriously Vintage

My name is Elizabeth. I am so thrilled to be learning how to write a blog about my adventures collecting vintage treasures. This new adventure is to mark my 60th Birthday this February in 2016 and to start this decade with something new. I have been collecting Powder compacts, 1950's costume jewellery, vintage handbags, silk scarves, vintage umbrellas and hats for over five years now. I try to wear and use as much of my collections as possible. This has added great enjoyment to my life! As a child my "best game " was always dressing up. I kept all my dressing up clothes in a large wooden banded trunk in the spare bedroom -the third bedroom. Creating outfits and characters, wearing jewellery always with a handbag and a powder compact I would play on my own for hours. Most of my treasures then came from jumble sales and bric a brac shops browsed with my parents on holiday. Life has a way of coming round full circle. In my fifties I found increasing joy in being able to just be myself and adopt the hairstyle I wanted and the vintage look that suited me. I source all my "top clothes" from Oxfam on line and charity shops Mixing new tops, shoes and sometimes handbags with my vintage accessories has given me a signature style that is unique. I have always tried to be an individual and not follow the crowd. I find most of my collections at vintage fairs, charity shops and going to Antiques for Everyone at the NEC has been a marvellous time for hunting out treasures and learning more about the things that have sparked real passion for me.

5 responses »

  1. Pingback: Vintage Treasures found In Stratford upon Avon | Gloriously Vintage

  2. Terrific advice! Your scarf collection is positively beautiful and has me going weak in the knees. It’s been harder and harder to find pre-1990s scarves (and really, pre-1990s anything) in thrift/charity shops around my Canadian small town parts in recent years, but that just makes hitting upon one all the more of a marvelous occasion (I featured one of my most recent, a pretty purple lilac print scarf, in my latest vintage outfit blog post). How splendid that you’re still hitting upon a fair number in your corner of the world. I hope that continues for you for ages to come.

    ♥ Jessica


    • Thank you Jessica for your interesting comment. I think it is always thrilling to search charity shops because you just never know what new items will be on display. A special find always has a special place in the collection. I am going to try wearing a scarf as a belt this S/S. The way you style yours looks lovely. Here’s to happy hunting – looking forward to seeing what you find, when you write about it on your blog. Best wishes, Elizabeth xx



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