Q&A: Three Simple Ways to Wear a Scarf

November 25th, 2008

Q: Since you mention scarves in a lot of your articles, I decided to buy three really cute scarves. But now I don’t know how to wear them. I mean, I can guess with what - but how exactly are scarves worn right now? Whenever I see celebrities wear scarves I wonder how they make it look so effortless.

by Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A: Scarves are a versatile, inexpensive accessory that can add color, pattern and dimension to any wardrobe.  Here’s three super simple ways to wear them:

The Fold and Loop

Diamond Gingham Scarf
Diamond Gingham Scarf | $22.75 (approx) at Topshop

My favorite way to wear a scarf it to take a long one, fold it in half, and wrap it around your neck.  Take the side with the ends and pull it through the loop created by the other side.  I love to wear a long scarf on a windy day and have the breeze catch it and make it flutter.
Best For: Lightweight pashmina-type scarves.

The Basic Neck Wrap
AE Multi Check Scarf
AE Multicheck Scarf | $19.50 at American Eagle

Simply wrap the scarf around your neck once and then just let the ends drop where they will.  I think this method is appropriate for indoor wear, as it adds color without overwhelming the wearer or the outfit.  Keep in mind though that it does look pretentious to wear a big cashmere scarf wrapped once or twice around the neck when one is inside.
Best For: Long, narrow scarves.

The Square Tie
Buckle Satin Scarf
Buckle Satin Scarf | $7.80 at Forever 21

With a square scarf, you can place one pointed side down in front of your neck, and then take the ends and wrap once around your neck ending with a little tie. 
Best For: Small to medium sized square scarves.

Bonus scarf looks?  Try wrapping a scarf around your head à la Jackie O.  Very 60s chic.  Or tie a short scarf around a ponytail for a refreshingly youthful look.

How do you wear your scarves? Share your style with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: How To,Q&A,Women,Women's,Women's

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nuria  |  November 25th, 2008 at 8:41 am

    The scarfs needed in colder places are much heavier than those shown. At the end of summer I noticed that very long scarfs with tassels and very “woolly” were a trend. Found one very lovely and now I wear it quite gladly but a bit overwhelmed by the quantity of wool over my shoulders.

  • 2. Nuria  |  November 25th, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Sorry! I should add that I wear it around the neck twice if the coat allows it, because the effect is great, appart from the wonderful warmth. If the coat is too thick, then a round-the-neck and a knot.

  • 3. Inna Simonova  |  November 25th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Well, I agree with Nuria, in my place it’s too cold for these scarves. Now I wear wool scarves as Nuria wrote – around the neck twice and a knot.
    And considering silk scaves, sometimes I like to wear them like a man tie.

  • 4. Mimi  |  November 25th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I love scarves and must have about 75 of them. There are so many ways to tie them, they can almost look like jewelry. My favorite way to tie either a long scarf or a neckerchief is to make a rosette;

    1. Fold scarf lengthwise to desired thickness.
    2. Place the middle of the scarf at the back of your neck so the ends are in front.
    3. Start twisting each end over the other until you create a tight ‘rope’ that is rolling on itself.
    4. Allow the scarf to create a small twist at the neck and wrap the ‘rope’ around itself to create the rosette.
    5. Tuck the ends behind and under the scarf around your neck to hold it in place.
    6. Allow the ends to fan out as an accent.

  • 5. Ann  |  November 25th, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for this piece! It answered a question that’s been on my mind, but I never knew who to ask.

    Great tips! And I do love your site..

  • 6. Trisha  |  November 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Great tips, Nuria, Inna, and Mimi! I’ve got to try Mimi’s rosette scarf folding trick :)

    Good point about the weight of the scarves – these really are more appropriate for warmer temperatures. Here’s a couple of cold weather scarves worth a look:

    Striped Scarf | $34.50 at Gap

    Striped Cable Knit Scarf | $29.50 at AE


  • 7. Gary  |  November 26th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Can men use any of these tieing methods, or some adaptation of them? I like wearing scarves with my outerwear, but I’m never quite sure how to wear/tie them. I usually just let them hang around my neck untied for fear that tieing them will look effeminate.

    Any suggestions?

  • 8. Trisha  |  November 27th, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Hi Gary,

    For guys, try the first two methods: the Fold and Loop and the Basic Neck Wrap. For a more relaxed, masculine look, leave the scarf more loosely tied.

    While some guys try the Square Tie, the look is very hipster-esque. I’d recommend steering clear of it.

    Hope that helps, Gary!

  • 9. needhelp!  |  December 11th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    is it possible to do the square tie with a long scarf??

  • 10. i think so  |  January 23rd, 2009 at 7:39 am

    i think so, i folded the scarf once, then i put the point as it said down under my neck after that, i took the end and just twisted them around the fabric by the back of my neck

  • 11. Barbara  |  February 7th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    My friends n I paint our own silk scarfs. When it’s cold we use them to keep our ears warm, they work great. Try wearing one under the heavy wool so you look n feel very good after taking the layers off.When it’s warmer they always look good.

  • 12. Jenna  |  June 11th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Hi I’ve got a big thick and long wooly scarf but I’m still trying to figure out how to do the style when its a big knot hanging slightly to the side without the ends/tassles hanging. Any clues?

  • 13. pria  |  November 21st, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    hi i have a beautiful leopard printed silk scarf..any suggestions on how to use it…appreciate advice :)

  • 14. Kuppu  |  October 3rd, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Is the square tie not a men’s ware? please lemme know.


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