How to Wear a Scarf

ladies scarf
Scarf Style Secrets

Wearing a scarf is a simple and affordable way to revamp any outfit, but knowing how to wear a scarf can sometime be tricky. Depending on the season or the outfit, you may want to opt for one style over another. Learn how to choose and wear the perfect scarf for any occasion.

Choosing the Right Scarf

Scarves come in a variety of fabrics and styles, so you want to make sure you choose the right scarf based on the weather and your wardrobe. Ask yourself three questions before donning a scarf:

  1. Do I need the scarf to serve a functional purpose? For instance, does it need to keep you warm or protect you from the sun?
  2. What do I plan to wear the scarf with? This is especially important because if you plan on wearing the scarf as an accessory to a suit, a warm winter scarf probably isn't the best option. Similarly, if you're wearing a scarf as a funky add-on to a laid back wardrobe, a silk scarf may be a little over the top.
  3. Do I need the scarf to be long enough or wide enough to tie and/or style? Some scarf fashions require longer scarves in order to tie them the correct way.

How to Wear a Scarf

Sarves are great accessories in any season. Your look will vary depending on the type of scarf and how it is worn.

Wearing a Scarf in Warm Weather

If you plan to wear a scarf during the warm days of Spring and Summer, choose a lightweight, gauzy scarf that won't weigh you down. While any color works, lighter or brighter scarves are a fun way to add a pop of color to your wardrobe.

  • To jazz up a shorts-and-tee outfit, simply hang a long scarf around your neck without twisting or tying it.
  • For a similarly cool look, wrap the long scarf around your neck once or twice, but pull the loop so it drapes in a wide circle, rather than sitting close to your neck. Wearing an infinity scarf also accomplishes this same look.

When the sun is really beating down or the wind begins to blow, you can wear a scarf to help protect your head, neck and face from the elements. If you're using a square scarf, fold it in half to create a triangle, then simply drape the scarf over your head with the long side of the triangle facing forward, the point facing backward. Tie the two ends of the long side of the triangle together at the nape of your neck for an instant hair-tamer. To achieve the same benefit while using a long scarf, drape the scarf over your head with both ends of the scarf hanging in front of your shoulders. Then wrap one end of the scarf all the way around your neck to help hold the headcovering in place.

Some very long or wide scarves may be used as summertime wraps or bandeau tops to coverup after a swim. Simply wrap the scarf around your body and tie it in place.

Wearing a Scarf in Cold Weather

thick scarf with sweater

When it's cold outside, scarves are a great way to stay warm. Choose a scarf made of a material like wool or fleece, then wrap the scarf close to your head and neck to prevent the wind and snow from getting in. You can fold a long winter scarf in half and wrap it around your neck. Bring the ends through the loop and pull the scarf taut to hold the style in place. You can also create an infinity-style scarf look by wrapping a scarf around your neck several times before tucking the ends into the loop. Wear the scarf as tight or as loose as you'd like.

Depending on your personal preference, you can wear the scarf tucked into your outerwear or hanging outside of your jacket or coat.

Wearing a Scarf as an Accessory

Generally when wearing a scarf in warm weather, you're going to be wearing it as an accessory; but, when you're wearing a scarf in cold weather, sometimes it's as an accessory, and sometimes it's just to help keep you warm.

  • Silk Scarf in a Pussycat Bow: If you're more concerned with looking chic and fabulous than staying warm, consider wearing a silk scarf tied in a pussycat bow. Wrap a scarf around your neck with the ends hanging in front of your shoulders. Tie a bow at the same point as the neckline of your blouse. Sandy Dumont, The Image Architect, suggests that women "wear pussycat bows the French way: make sure all four parts of the bow hang at the same length."
dressy black scarf
  • Square silk scarves: If you're attending a special event and want to present the most pulled-together, polished look possible, tie your square, silk scarf the "right" way by following this simple method.
  1. Start by folding a square scarf diagonally so that it forms a triangle.
  2. Fold the wide end (the long side of the triangle) over itself repeatedly until a slim band is formed.
  3. Lay the folded scarf over your neck so that one end is longer than the other.
  4. Bring the long end over the short end and pull it through the loop.
  5. Repeat this step.
  6. Pull taut and wear either at the side or center of the neck.

Other Scarf Ideas

Because scarves are so versatile, you may want to discover all the ways companies are suggesting their products be used. Some of the most ingenious ideas include:

  • Liscaro: These scarves come with an elasticized eye at one end to make styling them practically effortless. From hair and bandeau wraps to purse accessories, you can do almost anything with these scarves.
  • Diner Wear: The Diner Wear Cravaat is a genius scarf that helps protect garments from spills during eating. Rather than tuck a napkin into your blouse, simply wrap a chic, stain-resistant scarf around your neck. Your clothes will remain clean even if you're the type who always spills or drips. Plus, you'll look fabulous in the process.

Learning to Tie a Scarf

Some people learn by reading, while other people learn by seeing or doing. If you're not quite sure how to tie a scarf, ask a friend for help or look for videos that can walk you through the process. Scarves are so versatile that there's almost no "wrong" way to wear one, so have some fun experimenting with different looks and styles.

How to Wear a Scarf