How to Wear a Winter Scarf

Crystal Schwanke
woman wearing a colorful winter scarf

Are you wondering how to wear a winter scarf with style? You don't just have to drape it around your neck. Scarves are an accessory to play around with just like earring and necklace combinations. They can upgrade your look just like going from sneakers to heels with jeans can. Experiment with different styles for your winter scarf; there are endless variations when it comes to this versatile accessory.

Several Ways to Wear a Winter Scarf

layered winter scarf

Long Winter Scarves

You could be feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to wear a winter scarf that seems too long.

  • Easy Folded Loop: One of the easiest ways to wear it is to fold it in half first. Then, drape it around your neck.Take the two loose ends and push them through the loop of the folded end of the scarf. Tighten as necessary. You drastically cut down on the apparent length of the scarf, and this is also one of the warmest ways to wear the scarf.
  • Loose Wrap: Another way to wear an average-to-long scarf is to drape it around the front of your neck so that the ends dangle behind you, then criss-cross them in the back and pull them back around to the front. Make sure the scarf is centered.
  • Layered Knot: A longer winter scarf can also look chic in a layered knot. Wrap the scarf around your neck, cross in the back, and then pull the ends to the front and knot. Loosen the wrapped portion of the scarf as needed to be comfoortable, and smooth the ends of the scarf so they are hanging down in front, with one end slightly covering the other. The resulting look is a dual layer around your neck that is both warm and stylish.

Dress It Up

short purple wrapped scarf

You can alo make your scarf look more interesting by tying it in front, flattening out the knot and the ends, and scrunching the top of the scarf around the neck as if it were a turtleneck. Stylist Amy Salinger shows you how in one of her YouTube's How to Tie a Winter Scarf videos. For those who prefer a dressier way to wear a cold-weather scarf, this is it.

Loose, Cute and Casual

A cute casual way to wear your scarf that is anything but boring shows up in that same video. Put the scarf over your neck, keeping the left side slightly longer. Pull the right side through as if you were tying a knot, but don't pull the scarf completely through; leave it in a half knot instead. This creates a cute loop that is similar to a bow. Puff out the loop slightly and straighten the ends of the scarf. This look works best with non-woven scarves; the loop will be too large and dense with a thicker woven scarf.

Pashminas as Winter Scarves

Woman wrapped in a pashmina

Don't forget about pashminas used as winter scarves. It's not just a boring shawl. You can wrap one end around your neck and throw one end over your shoulder. If you feel like adding even more color to your attire, wear two at once for a layered look and a lot of warmth. You can also find embellished pashminas to wear with your evening wear.

Sleek and Slimming

Colder weather requires bulkier clothing, but you can use your scarf to create a slimming look by tying it in a loose false knot look just above the waist. Start with the scarf at equal lengths on either side of the neck, then tie a loose knot on only one side of the scarf about halfway down. Pull the other side of the scarf into the side of the knot, tighten slightly, and then center just above the waist. This look creates a narrower focal point at the knot, and a sleek vertical line, both of which work to give a sleek and slimming illusion. For a pictorial version of this scarf style, Scarves.com step-by-step False Knot. You can also slide the knot up or down depending on where you want it to fall to change the look. On a warmer day, you may want the knot further down; colder days may inspire you to push the knot up closer to your neck for extra warmth.

Additional Scarf Pairings

knotted winter scaf
  • For a casual look, you can pair a matching beanie with your scarf. Do you want something a bit more sophisticated? Try a matching beret instead. If you know how to knit or crochet, you can make your own from matching yarn lots. If not, you can find matching sets almost anywhere you can find scarves.
  • When you wear a coat with your scarf, you have the option to leave the ends free or tuck them in. Tuck them in so that just the turtleneck illusion peeks out of the top or show off the whole length of a beautiful scarf by leaving them free. Allowing the ends to stay inside the coat may give you a bit more warmth due to the closer fit.
  • As for attire, you can wear a scarf with almost anything. Choose a nice knit scarf in non-scratchy wool to wear with your casual clothes. This is the time to play up patterns and colors. For dressier clothes or work clothes, play up the texture of a scarf more than patterns or colors.

A Versatile Staple

Next time you're wondering how to wear a winter scarf, remember that scarves are incredibly versatile and can be tied or tossed over your shoulders in everything from laid back to business-inspired looks. Keep the colors and patterns to the casual looks and opt for textured, solid-color scarves for the dressier looks to be safe. Fringe can work well for either type of look. No matter how you decide to wear one, a winter scarf can be the focal point of your ensemble and can take an otherwise dull look to an entirely different level.

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How to Wear a Winter Scarf