A simple scarf can elevate a look from ordinary to extraordinary, especially when the accessory is embellished with an eye-catching feature such as metallic threads, shiny sequins or rhinestones.
Even the garment considered a woman's most basic wardrobe essential can get a day-to-night glam-up with a sultry scarf.
"The little black dress doesn't have to stand on its own," said Emily Goodin, owner of Boutique Couture on Market Street.
"Choose a scarf with dressy accents such as sequins or metallic threading, drape the oversized scarf over your shoulders -- one side positioned as a cowl neck and the other hanging long. Throw on your favorite pump, possibly in a color from the scarf, and you'll be set for a night on the town."
From the largest department stores to the tiniest boutiques, most retailers that carry women's clothing also sell scarves. Embellished scarves are becoming more plentiful to give wearers a chance to add some holiday sparkle.
Local writer/educator Mary Ellen Ciganovich, of Chattanooga, said her favorite scarf is a "delicate black scarf embellished with gold threads."
"A great metallic scarf is great to dress up a plain dress," she said, explaining that the scarf can be worn with or without a necklace. "It is also terrific for hiding the neck area that so many of us have issues with as we age."
Ciganovich said the style in which she wears scarves depends on the outfit.
"Sometimes I put the middle of the scarf at my neck and wrap it around, allowing both ends to hang in the front," she said. "You can always tie a loose knot at each end, giving a bit more weight to the ends hanging down."
Chattanoogan Maddie Kertay, an embroidery designer and sewing teacher, said she likes the contrast of an "eye-catching scarf" worn with a simple black sweater and jeans.
"You could take a conservative or office dress outfit and add some real zing to it by adding the scarf and maybe some dangle earrings and snazzy lip color," Kertay said.
For those with sewing skills, it's easy to update a plain scarf with dressy trims.
"There are some fantastic beaded trims that can be simply hand sewn onto the end of scarves, creating a high-end look at a fraction of the cost," she said. "I made a fancy wrap a few years ago. I took an old but awesome velvet scarf and trimmed it in beading. It was stunning with my dress for the night -- well worth the cost of the trim."