The Useful Accessory

Lately, I’ve been buying more and more scarves, especially those wonderful pashminas made of fine goats’ wool. And it’s not just because, as Nora Ephron put it in the title of her popular book, I Feel Bad About My Neck.

No, scarves are great because they’re both beautiful and useful – more useful than many people realize. Consider all you can do, especially as a mom, with the humble pashmina:

•Keep Your Child Warm: You told her to bring a sweater. She forgot, again. Is it worth having her catch a cold and miss school to teach a lesson? I pass the pashmina.

•Cover a Tabletop: Scarves are great for hiding stained surfaces. Just wish I knew how to keep my husband from covering my pretty creation with his legal papers.

•Stretch Your Hamstrings: Nothing gets tighter faster than those long muscles that run down the back of the thighs. A scarf is so much nicer to stretch with than a theraband, which always feels like a rubber band that is about to snap.

•Get More Sleep: Eye masks keep the light out. But mine always end up under the bed. A pashmina covers your eyes and can’t hide nearly as well. Who moves these things anyway?

Entertain Little Kids: Skip the birthday clown and play pin the tail on the donkey, using a scarf as a blindfold. Kids are enthralled; most have never played before. Resist the temptation to tie up the party pooper. Instead, call the mom, say her darling looks queasy and suggest an early pickup. (Yes, I have done this.)

Give a Gift: Two pashminas are stored in my closet for . . . someone. Alas, many bought as presents have ended up on my neck. (Oh, Pike’s Market in Seattle – five gorgeous pashminas for $10 apiece. I kept them all.) Yet if you can bear to give them away, scarves make great gifts: one size fits all.

•Travel Light: On vacation, use the same scarf as a beach sarong, shawl, eye mask and neck wrap. Try these 18 ways to wear a pashmina. Master more styles by reading this fun scarves blog. I mainly just drape pashminas around my neck. But then, I’m still learning to blow-dry my hair.


What accessory can’t you live without? Share by commenting below!

If you haven’t read I Feel Bad About My Neck, it’s great fun. I miss you, Nora Ephron. Your writing remains an inspiration. Now that you are gone, we know life is too short to feel bad about any body part that works.

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

– Nora Ephron, 1996 Wellesley commencement speech.


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Pashminas Photo © Jennifer Hull

Nora Ephron Photo © David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly,, MS., Parenting, Real Simple,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.