Not sure how to wear a scarf stylishly? Let a stylist help

Ally Head
·6-min read
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

One plus side of spending most of 2020 locked down - (thanks, coronavirus) - has been the clear outs. We can't be the only ones who have been reacquainted with old wardrobe staples that we'd kind of forgotten existed, or else, just not worn in yonks.

Plus, with ample time to spare and not an awful lot to do, getting creative and finding inventive new ways to style your old clothes is in.

Like? A good old scarf. Not just a woolly winter warmer, but actually a winter wardrobe staple with a myriad of uses. We asked stylist Laura Friedman, author of 50 Ways To Wear A Scarf, (£8.40, amazon.co.uk) to share everything you need to know about how to wear a scarf.

It's worth noting here: there are a whole host of important motivations for women to wear scarves, particularly on their heads. From cultural to religious reasons, scarves are often far more than just a fashion statement.

Hijabs, niqabs and burkas are head and face coverings worn by Muslim women, with the practice of head covering a central part of their religion for thousands of years.

Similarly, headwraps have been worn by many African cultures for years. Where, when and how they are styled or worn stereotypically can symbolise their wealth or marital status.

For the purpose of this article, we're simply covering the fashionable ways of mixing up how you wear a scarf. Keep reading for a stylist's top tips, plus some serious celebrity inspo from the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kate Moss and Mary-Kate Olsen.

How to wear a scarf: your complete guide

The Hourglass

Photo credit: Kirstin Sinclair - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kirstin Sinclair - Getty Images

Olivia Palermo knows how to rock a belted scarf like no other. Follow her lead.

How to wear

  1. Pick a long rectangular scarf and a belt that go well together.

  2. Drape the scarf around the back of your neck so the ends hang evenly in front.

  3. With the ends of the scarf lying flat down your front, buckle the belt on top of the scarf. Ensure that you place it at the smallest part of your waist, just below your rib cage.

The Half-Bow

Photo credit: NCP/Star Max - Getty Images
Photo credit: NCP/Star Max - Getty Images

If you want to experiment with a more complicated scarf technique, look to Adele and the half-bow.

How to wear

  1. Drape an oblong scarf around the back of your neck so that the ends hang evenly in front.

  2. Make a loose knot on one side, about halfway between your neck and the end.

  3. Pinching the other side of the scarf in the middle, pull it partially through the knot to form half of a bow.

  4. Finally tighten your original knot and adjust the bow as you see fit.

The Wrap

Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

As simple as it sounds: wrap this scarf once around your neck to look stylish sans fuss.

How to wear

  1. Drape a long scarf around your neck

  2. Make sure the ends hang evenly in the front.

The Babuskha

View this post on Instagram

This is 40!

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Oct 26, 2020 at 7:39am PDT

Make like Kim Kardashian and channel your most classic self with an old-school head cover. Can be tied under the chin or at the back of the head.

How to wear

  1. Fold a small square scarf in half diagonally to form a triangle.

  2. Bring the scarf over your head with the long folded edge of the scarf on your forehead at the hairline and the rest of the scarf draped over your head.

  3. Finish by knotting the folded corners securely underneath your chin.

The Tie

Photo credit: Bruno Vincent - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bruno Vincent - Getty Images

Kate Moss is probably the best when it comes to wearing scarves and always making them look cool and interesting. Here's how to do one of her faves.

How to wear

  1. Drape a long scarf around the back of your neck, letting one end hang longer than the other.

  2. Bring the long end over the short end and wrap the long end under the short end.

  3. Bring the long end forward once more, wrapping over the short end.

  4. Pull the long end behind the short end and then up through the loops around your neck.

  5. Tuck the long end through the front of the knot you create and adjust the length, tightening all the way up to your throat for a more formal look, or leaving it lower for a relaxed vibe.

The Easy-Breezey

Photo credit: Getty - Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty - Getty Images

The ultimate in simple scarf techniques and one of the coolest, as championed by Mary-Kate Olsen.

How to wear

  1. Drape a large scarf, wrap or pashmina around the back of your neck, spreading the scarf over your shoulders.

  2. Toss one end over the opposite shoulder to finish.

The Knot

Photo credit: GVK/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: GVK/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

Another scarf trick for gals looking for a challenge, this particular knot is loved by Keira Knightley.

How to wear

  1. Fold a long rectangular scarf in half widthwise.

  2. Bring the scarf around the back of your neck so that the folded side is in one hand and the two ends are in your other hand.

  3. Through the fold, grab one end of the scarf.

  4. Bring that end through the fold.

  5. Bring the remaining loose end over the top of the folded side of the scarf and then pull through the fold. This end will come out of the fold on the opposite side to create the 'knot' effect.

The Drape

Photo credit: Ignat/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ignat/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

This rock star style is seriously simple and will forever be effortlessly chic.

How to wear

  1. Pop the collar of your blazer and drape a long scarf around the back of your neck so the ends hang evenly in front.

  2. Finish by folding the lapels of the blazer back down over the scarf, adjusting the scarf so it hangs how you desire.

The Scullery Maid

Photo credit: Vera Anderson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Vera Anderson - Getty Images

Scarves aren't just for your neck. Make yours work harder by turning it into a pretty hair accessory.

How to wear

  1. Use a small oblong scarf, or fold a small square scarf diagonally into one long length.

  2. Place the scarf at the back of your head at your hairline and bring the ends forward.

  3. Knot the ends together in the front at a jaunty angle to finish.

The Face Mask

Photo credit: Gotham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gotham - Getty Images

And, in the most 2020 addition of them all... the face mask. NB here: wearing fashion scarves as face coverings may not be as safe as wearing the medical masks that come with an inbuilt filter. Read our complete guide to face masks if you're still unsure about how or when to wear yours.

How to wear

  1. Fold your scarf in half, or in four, depending on how big it is.

  2. Tightly tie both ends around the back of your head, making sure your nose and mouth are covered but that you have enough room to breathe.

The latest issue of Cosmopolitan UK is out now and you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

You Might Also Like