Friday, January 27, 2006

From Chicago to Paris by way of Kathmandu

The Fashionable Kiffen certainly admires (and aspires to) Parisian style, but sometimes it's difficult to bring a little bit of that chicness to the Midwest. One of the easiest ways to do it? Get a fabulous scarf that can be worn a million different ways.

A gorgeous scarf is probably the most quintessential Parisian accessory; from silk squares to embroidered wraps, Parisiennes wear them all with that certain je ne sais quoi only French women have. One of the most fabulous styles that is perpetually popular in Paris is the plush cashmere shawl, worn as a shawl, scarf, or evening wrap. These shawls can come in every color of the rainbow, trimmed with embroidery and sparkling beads, or hand painted with exquisite patterns.

Worn knotted around the neck with a sleek wool coat, these luxurious scarves look stylish yet casual, worn around the shoulders with a little black dress, the look is movie star glamorous. A cashmere wrap can make huge difference in your wardrobe. It works with everything from jeans to black tie gowns, and it will keep you toasty warm while still looking absolutely chic; you'll want a different shawl for every day of the week!

Some of the best cashmere shawls can be found at Silk Road Importers, purveyor of exotic merchandise from, you guessed it, along the Silk Road. Their cashmere is comparable in quality to TSE and Lucien Pellen-Finat, and the prices are much more reasonable because they get the goods straight from the source in Nepal.

For a sturdy, everyday shawl or scarf, a blend of cashmere and silk (for instance, 70% cashmere and 30%) is actually much more durable than pure cashmere, but the piece should still be mostly cashmere for that buttery-soft feel. For those of you looking for something a little more out of the ordinary, Silk Road Importers also carries beaded jamowar shawls, jewelry, and fantastic silk wraps. They definitely get the Fashionable Kiffen's stamp of approval.

A beaded jamowar shawl like the one to the left is one of the best items a girl can have. They can dress up jeans and a tee, and they look equally fabulous with an evening dress. Really, how many of your accessories can you say that about? It's worth its weight in gold.

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