A scarf is one of the most historical and staple accessories. Since their ancient Egyptian origins, people have worn scarves and styled them countless times, providing a versatile and unique way to keep warm, decorate and accessorise outfits throughout history. Today, scarves are still a great way to stay warm in winter and add a pop of colour or texture to your ensemble. Discover 21 ways to style a scarf, from practical styles to stylish knots that take inspiration from classic and historical fashion in this style guide.
Of course, the quality and success of your knot will depend on the thickness and length of your scarf. For example, shorter, thicker scarves are better for neckties and standard drapes, whereas longer, thinner scarves are better for more complicated knots. Follow our step-by-step guides and experiment with knots on different scarves to get the perfect look.
Table of contents
- How to style a scarf
- Ways to style a cashmere scarf
- Ways to style a silk scarf
How to style a scarf
Here are some classic ways you can tie and style a scarf. These can work well with silk scarves or thicker knitted scarves.
1. The Classic Loop
The Classic Loop is an easy and no-nonsense way to tie a scarf. Simply fold the scarf in half to get a loop at one end and two loose ends at the other. Take the scarf behind your neck and wrap it around. Pull the two loose ends through the loop and tighten until you're comfortable.
The Classic Loop knot works effortlessly with woollen or silk scarves and looks good over any outfit, irrespective of the season.
2. The Casual Drape
The Casual Drape is the easiest way to wear a scarf. First, wrap your scarf around your neck and drape it so the ends hang evenly over your front. The draping effect creates a casual look over any outfit. This style can be practical in the spring when it's beginning to warm up, but there is still a chill in the air. Use this style with any scarf material as a decorative accessory.
3. The Shawl
One of the simplest ways to wear a scarf, use your scarf to cover your shoulders and drape over your back, with the two ends draping over your arms. Use this method to keep your shoulders warm when it gets chilly or as a lightweight accessory for a formal ball. Use this simple look with any scarf material, from silk to pashmina to thicker woolly scarves, although your scarf will have to be a certain length to drape effectively.
4. Knotted Shawl
For a shawl look that is a bit more secure, take the Shawl style from style #3, and instead of leaving the loose ends to hang, tie them behind your back.
5. The Wrap-around
Another classic and everyday style that works with any scarf, the Wrap-around effortlessly wraps around your neck once, and the two loose ends hang down your front. This style provides a non-bulky way to keep your neck warm and allows you to tuck the loose ends under a coat or jacket.
6. The Snood
The Snood is a great way to keep your neck warm without the untidy loose ends. Again, use different scarf thicknesses to alter the thickness of your snood. Wrap your scarf around your neck twice, then tuck the two loose ends underneath the wrapped section. If you have a scarf with fringe, prise the fringe bits to hang out at the bottom. This style will complement any outfit on a breezy day.
7. The Triangle Wrap
The Triangle Wrap has an infinity snood feel while remaining loose and relaxed in warmer weather. Fold your scarf in half diagonally, then tie a small knot at the ends to make a circle. Put the scarf over your neck, twist the front to make a loop, and put that over your head again. Then turn the circular scarf so the big end is at the front and fluff to create your perfect look.
8. Hidden Knot
The Hidden Knot style creates a seamless neck accessory that is also secure. Loop your scarf around your neck once. Then tie the two loose ends together, pull the knot close to your neck, and let the loose ends hang down. Then pull the neck section of the scarf down over the knot to create a seamless finish.
Ways to style a cashmere scarf
You can style a cashmere scarf in any of the styles above, but because it's thicker, you can do other warming techniques too.
8. The Waterfall
Wrap your cashmere scarf around your neck once. Make the ends uneven and the neck loop loose. Pull through a corner of the longer end, underneath the neck loop, to about halfway and let it drape in front. The Waterfall will create a textured look different to the more common styles.
9. The Fling
Of course, you can drape your cashmere scarf over your shoulders or neck and fling one side over your shoulder, but this might keep falling down and get annoying unless you use a brooch to pin it together. Alternatively, you drape the scarf like a shawl, like in style #3, then twist one side and fling it over your shoulder for a varied look.
Ways to style a silk scarf
A silk scarf is thinner, so you can tie more elaborate knots and create more styles.
10. The Braid
This style will give you a decorative braid to add interest and texture to your favourite scarf. Fold your scarf in half, making a loop on one end and two loose ends on the other, then wrap it around your neck. Thread the two loose ends through the loop, like style #1. However, with this style, don't pull too tight. Then twist the loop and thread the loose ends through again. Continue to twist the loop and thread the ends until you run out of the scarf.
11. The Necklace
The Necklace is a stunning way to embellish your outfit with a thin silk scarf. Drape your scarf around your neck and tie a loose knot in the middle of each end, approximately underneath your collarbone. Then, tie the two loose ends together and turn the scarf around so the middle knot is behind your neck.
12. The French knot
Again, this style adds texture and layers for something different when you wear your favourite scarf. Fold your scarf in half to create the loop and two loose ends like in style #1, and put it around your neck. But, instead of threading both loose ends through the loop, take one end and pull it over and under the scarf loop. Then, take the second end and thread it under and over the scarf loop. You will then get a weave effect.
13. The Simple Neck Knot
Inspired by vintage photos of Audrey Hepburn, the Simple Neck Knot looks as classy and elegant today as it did in the 1950s. Wrap a silk scarf around your neck, twice if necessary, and tie the ends together either at the front or the side of your neck.
14. The Men's Tie
The Men's Tie is a great way to add femininity to a masculine knot and still look sophisticated and professional. These look great in professional or work settings and look fabulous under blazers or jackets. Wrap the scarf around your neck so the two loose ends drape evenly down your front. Then cross the left side over the right and bring it all completely around so it's almost on the opposite side. Now loop this under and over, pulling the end through the hole between your neck and the knot. Thread the loose end through the knot and adjust the tie to your preferred tightness.
15. The Bow
Wrap the scarf around your neck and tie a knot with the two ends so the scarf is tight but comfortable around your neck. Now you can make one or two loops to create a regular or one-sided bow. Either way, this style looks divine. For a one sided-bow, make one loop and tie the loop and loose end together as if you were tying a shoelace. Two loops will look like a regular bow.
Embrace your creative side when styling your scarf.
Don't limit yourself to only styling your scarf around your neck. Embrace the 60s and 70s fashion trends and use your silk scarves in innovative and creative ways.
Fold your scarf lengthways so it's long and thin, then wrap it around your head and tie it underneath your hair to create a stylish hairband to keep your hair back. Position the knot to the side by your shoulder for a quirky, casual look.
Fold the silk scarf in the same way as in #16, but instead, tie it to the back of your head to create a hippy-style bandanna look.
If you're riding in a soft top car or it's windy outside, and you've just had your hair done, take a tip out of Audrey Hepburn's fashion book and use your silk scarf to protect your hair-do. Fold your scarf diagonally, place it over your head and tie the two loose ends under your chin or behind your neck for a fabulous vintage look.
You can even use a silk scarf to enhance a plait. Tie your hair in a ponytail and thread the silk scarf through the hair band. Incorporate the scarf into the hair as your plait.
Add a pop of colour to your jeans, or jazz up a pantsuit using a scarf as a belt.
21. Embellish your handbag or hat
Add a silk scarf to the handle of your handbag or around your hat brim to express your creative flourish.
Luxurious scarves at Tilley & Grace
There you have it, 21 ways to style a scarf, from modern styles to vintage influences. From luxurious cashmere to super soft 100% pure silk scarves, we have dozens of scarves to warm your neck and compliment your outfits. Shop our scarves at Tilley & Grace to find pops of colour bright, bold bloc colours or unique patterns and prints.