When I was growing up, scarf tops were a defining trend for cool kids. It was the early 2000s, an era when celebrities like Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera often sported bandanas and scarves as tops, baring a lot of skin and inspiring teens and young adults to do the same. I can still remember the first time I asked my mom if I could wear one when I saw a girl sporting a royal blue scarf top at the supermarket, to which she replied: “You’re too young for that.”
So, when the trend came back around this summer — now thanks to celebrities like Bella Hadid and Rihanna, as well as designers like Versace and Blumarine — I was excited to finally get to live out my Y2K fashion dream. But, while wearing a makeshift top badly tied around your chest seems like a great idea to a 9-year-old kid, putting it to practice as a 27-year-old professional is an entirely different game. Still, in the name of Britney, Christina, and Beyoncé — the holy trinity of my childhood — I was determined to try it.
I had a few big-enough scarves at my disposal to test the trend without having to actually invest in it. For the first look, I went for a scarf featuring a boob print from one of my favorite Puerto Rican designers Amanda Forastieri. I paired it with a classic black blazer, denim shorts, and low-heeled sandals for a work day (my current office is a coworking space, so dress codes are not an issue). While the outfit was comfortable at first, I quickly found myself pulling up the top throughout the day to avoid a mishap in public, and wondered many times why I hadn’t thought about using some body tape to make up for the slippery nature of the silky scarf. This made me realize that this trend has no place in my office-ready closet.
The next look involved a Marimekko silk scarf in earth tones for a casual dinner. I went for a coastal grandmother vibe by pairing it with white linen pants from Onia, a straw handbag, and gold hoop earrings. While I may have worn this one only for a few hours, I once again kicked myself for not investing in body tape as I continued to tug and pull on the top, this time in fear of a slip in the restaurant.
For my final look, I channeled Versace’s baroque-style prints, which have been highly popular over the past few years as the brand has tapped into its signature house code. I chose a black chiffon scarf with a floral print that I was gifted years ago, and paired it with wide-leg trousers and black sandals for a night out at a bar. To make the all-black outfit more summer-appropriate, I added a straw clutch. This one made me second guess my initial reservations about the scarf top. Not only did it feel like a grown-up version of the '00s look, but the chiffon fabric stayed on much better, making it a lot more comfortable to wear.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway I got from this experiment is that adopting old trends isn’t about going back in time, but rather modernizing them for your current lifestyle. Even though I know silk scarf tops may not be my cup of tea — they’re too uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time — I’m now a pro in the art of styling one as an adult.
I did my holy trinity — and my inner child — proud.
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