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Scarves for Women: How to Wear and Tie a Scarf

Updated on August 30, 2018
Sparrowlet profile image

Katharine enjoys experimenting with fashion accessories and has taught herself to knit scarves of several types.

Colorful Scarves
Colorful Scarves | Source

Always in Fashion

All seasons are appropriate for the wearing of scarves, depending on the material they are made of. Filmy, silk or lacy scarves are just right for a spring and summer accessory, while knitted or cashmere scarves accent a fall or winter outfit nicely. Whatever the season, there are a number of ways to wear scarves. The neck is the most common place to see a woman wearing a scarf in America, but read on for more fashion ideas using scarves!

Scarves As Shawls and Drapes
Scarves As Shawls and Drapes | Source

Scarves World-Wide

Scarves have been worn in a wide variety of forms and styles for as long as human beings have worn clothing. It is an accessory that cuts across all cultures and time periods in history. Sometimes the scarf has been central to a culture, such as the Muslim tradition of head scarves or the scarf worn as a turban or head wrap in many African societies.

But even in western countries, the scarf has a long and varied history. Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance eras wore elaborate scarves as head dresses, for example, often fashioned into a kind of hood. They have been used as shawls and drapes for centuries. And, of course, people the world over have worn scarves around the neck for warmth for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

The appeal of the scarf hasn't faded. As described in the handy book 101 Ways to Tie a Scarf by S Denise Hoyle, "Creatively used, the scarf can provide many changes of look for your wardrobe and can even be used to flatter your figure or draw attention away from any figure faults you may have."

How to Tie a Head Scarf

A Year Round Accessory

Since women's scarves come in all sorts of materials, they are the perfect year-round accent to both casual and dressy outfits. A soft cashmere scarf is a delight to wear in the colder months, or buy a cashmere blend if pure cashmere is beyond your budget.

Hand-made scarves are in fashion as well, knitted or crocheted in a bulky Irish knit or a lacy, loose stitch. In recent years, the skinny scarf has been popular, especially among the younger crowd. The long ends of these scarves make them very versatile in terms of draping and wrapping styles. It is surprisingly easy to knit or crochet your own scarf, even if you have no hand-crafting experience (the book above gives ideas for easy ones, or try youtube for simple instructions).

For warmer months, a silk scarf, chiffon or semi-shear synthetic material works well to create a filmy, soft look.

Lots of Different Ways to Tie a Scarf

Experiment with Tying Styles

A nice scarf can be a beautiful accent to a winter coat or jacket. Wrap it around like a cowl, or let the ends dangle, tucked inside or outside of the jacket.

At work, a scarf is a great career wear accessory. Tie a silk scarf in a bow-tie fashion around the neck or wrap and scrunch a cotton blend scarf with fringes, European style, with the ends tucked in. There are endless ways to tie a neck scarf. You may even devise a style of your own.

Be sure to keep a collection of scarves in different materials and shapes and sizes, from the square to the oblong to the extra-large rectangle scarf. Buy these in a variety of colors and patterns and you'll have a fabulous means of accenting any outfit, be it casual, business or dressy. You can often find very inexpensive scarves at thrift stores or consignment shops to save your budget.

As for storing your collection of scarves, you can either keep them folded in a pile on a shelf or in a stack-able bin, or you can use a scarf hanger, which is the same as a tie hanger with a u-shaped holder that will accommodate up to a dozen or more scarves, depending on their thickness. The scarf hanger has the advantage of not leaving fold lines in the scarf.

Uses for Different Scarf Sizes and Shapes

Other Fun Fashion Uses

Scarf Draped Down the Back
Scarf Draped Down the Back | Source

Don't limit your scarf use to just around your neck, though! Scarves can be worn on the head, like a turban or in a multitude of wrap styles as well as folded softly over the head with the ends flowing over the shoulders, as in the Muslim tradition.

Try using a pretty scarf as a hair tie, either to hold a ponytail or to wrap around a bun or up-do.

Scarves can even be worn as belts! Try draping a long scarf with fringes around the hip area, slung low over a pair of skinny jeans or yoga pants. It can be a very slimming look!

You can wear a large, rectangle scarf as a shawl or cape. Large scarves, sometimes called sarongs, can also be worn as halter tops, dresses, or on the beach or pool side as swim suit covers.

The Versatile Large Scarf or Sarong

Are You A Scarf Person?

How do you feel about wearing scarves?

See results

Why Not Start A Collection?

So start your scarf collection, if you don't already have one, and add to it regularly until you have a wide variety of colors, materials and sizes. Hit those consignment shops or create your own at home. Then come back to this article and experiment with the different uses and methods of tying scarves in the videos. You'll boost your fashion repertoire and have fun doing it!

© 2014 Katharine L Sparrow

Comments Welcome!

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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Lots of great suggestions for an assortment of ways to be fashionable.

    • techygran profile image


      4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      This is a very well-presented hub on a topic I'm interested in, but never quite delve into. I have worn scarves for a long time but very carelessly, tres casually. I think I shall take a week and just study up this hub until I actually GET the scarf tricks that seem to make a difference between looking like a dowdy dudy and a really sharp woman. Voted up and shared!

    • Sparrowlet profile imageAUTHOR

      Katharine L Sparrow 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thanks, Mel, I'm glad it was helpful to you! Scarves can be so much fun!

    • Melinda Longoria profile image

      Melinda Longoria, MSM 

      4 years ago from Garland, Texas

      Great hub on the different ways to wear scarves. I recently was given a bunch of really cute scarves and was wondering how to wear them fashionably. That second video is awesome! Thanks for sharing this one. ;-) Sincerely, Mel

    • Sparrowlet profile imageAUTHOR

      Katharine L Sparrow 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      You have some great ideas for scarf use, Catherine! They really are versatile and can be great with any outfit, casual or dressy. Using to cover a stain! That's a great idea! LOL

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Today, I wore a top that was a little too low cut for daytime where. I took a square scarf, folded into a l, draped it around my neck, tied the two ends together, turned it so the knot was at the back of my neck, and I had a cowl type neckline which hid what I didn't want to show. It would also be good, if I discovered a stain or snag and didn't have time to change.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I had a long scarf the kind with ruffles. I felt like my tope fit a little too tight, but I used the draping to cover the bosom area.

    • Sparrowlet profile imageAUTHOR

      Katharine L Sparrow 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Let me know how your scarf experiment goes!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Your hubs are always so impressive. I never know what to do with a scarf but let it hang. I'm going out tonight and I will try one of your ides.


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