Over 25 Attractive Ways to Tie a Scarf Including Options for a Short Neck
The biggest request I receive for styling accessories is ways to tie a scarf. I have decided to combine in this one post a couple of requests I’ve received recently with all of the experience we have acquired over the years . BEWARE, it’s a long one!
The best thing you can do is pin the photos and then refer back to this post occasionally.
Quote of the day: “Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window or break down a door.” Brooke Shields
This quote may not be directed to scarves exactly, but you know I’m going to tie it to them!! How?? Because the only way to be happy with scarves and finding ways to tie a scarf is to practice. Don’t waste a minute…just do it.
Please don’t feel bad about feeling overwhelmed or at a loss with scarves. That’s how I felt. But with the ideas I’m giving you, along with the inside tips, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Many of you say that you have wonderful scarves, but when you style them, it doesn’t come out quite right. Or maybe you don’t like feeling like they bunch up around your neck. Let’s look at the facts.
1-Not all scarves are created equal. There are many different sizes, materials and weights, so you need to start with what you want to do with it, and then pick a scarf for the job.
Insider tip: Don’t be scared of ANY scarf. It’s just a piece of material that needs a little rolling, folding, tying or taming!!!
2-You need to have a variety of shapes of scarves in your collection so you can wear them multiple ways. If you only have long rectangle ones, you’re missing out.
3-Scarves can be inexpensive. Check your thrift store or even online at thredUp (using my link gives you $10 to spend, and I get $10 too).
4-If you think they don’t look right on you, it’s probably because you’re not used to seeing them on you. Once you start wearing them more and more, they will seem more “you.” BTW, scarves don’t have to be perfect and stay in one place on you. In fact, they are meant to flow and move. That’s part of the magic about scarves!
5-Try to style a scarf EVERY day for a week!! That will make you think about it and have fun.
6-You won’t style what you don’t see. I suggest having your scarves easy to see and access.
Insider tip: There are many scarf organizers. This is my method.
Ways to Tie a Scarf
I’m showcasing over 25 ways to tie a scarf and they are all directed at the idea to be sleek and attractive. What I mean is they aren’t all bunched up and hiding your neck.
I’ll give you the insights around each style and how to make it work for you.
1. The 50’s Look
Lesley called this the 50’s look and I’ve been a huge fan of this style over the last couple of years.
The Scarf: You want a smaller, thinner scarf with this style. Silk ones are great. But cotton works too.
How to Tie it: This is easy and straightforward. Just tie a knot where you want it to hang, and tada!! It does not have to be tight around your neck.
Tips: You can roll up your scarf to make it thinner. The tighter you roll it, the thinner it will be.
Why: This adds wonderful color to your face which can be helpful if you’re not wearing a color top that is complexion brightening. Even if you have a short neck, this helps distinguish that you do have a neck. Basically like how a belt can actually make you look like you have a waist.
Insider tip: You can sometimes steal your husband’s pocket squares for this trick.
2 & 3. The Wrap
I consider this a classic way to wear a scarf with a solid colored top. If you roll it before you start tying it, there won’t be as much bulk in the front.
The Scarf: A longer rectangular scarf works best for this option. You can use either a silky one or a non silky one.
Insider tip: Silky scarves can slip and slide more. If this bothers you, you might try fashion tape or scarf clips. There are tons of different varieties of scarf clips, and I have been known to use a man’s tie clip too.
How to Tie it: Start with the middle part of the scarf in front of your chin with both ends behind you. Then grab each opposite end and bring them to the front. Pull the front down to where it feels comfortable.
Tips: You can also twist the ends in and around the loop so they don’t fly all over.
Why: Think of this as a statement necklace that can help to create interest.
4, 5 & 6. Use a Charm/Barrette/Pendant
For another post about this idea see:
Using Scarf Charms and Rings and Other Shiny Things
The Scarf: You can use any scarf with these items. The limiting factor is your pendant size.
How to Tie it: Use your pendant or clip to add weight to the scarf and keep it away from your neck.
Tips: There are pendants made for scarves like in the 1st photo above. In the second photo, I’m using a flexclip from Lilla Rose. it’s hard to see in the third photo, but I used a brooch to hold the ends of my scarf together. (You can see it in much better detail in the original post, here)
Why: These accessories can help keep your scarf away from your neck without the bulk of a knot.
Insider tip: I have a YouTube video showcasing many of these charms you can use.
7 & 8. Braid it Long or Short
The Scarf: You need a long, thinner scarf for this option.
How to Tie it: There are 2 different ways to make your scarf “braided” like this. I explore both options in a YouTube video.
Insider tip: For both ways to tie a scarf by braiding it, you can also use clear elastic bands to hold the ends together. But don’t fret. I bet you have something in your house that would work too!
Tips: My mom’s example is the same scarf but held together in the back with a barrette to shorten it. This enables you to make it the length that works best for you.
Why: This takes a long scarf that can be overwhelming and makes it look like a necklace. It’s tamed and not hiding your neck.
9 & 10. Knotting The Scarf
The Scarf: You can use all of your thinner scarves for this method of ways to tie a scarf. Even the 50’s look scarf would work if you don’t want long ends down the front of your top.
How to Tie it: The two versions here depend on how thick you want the knot to be. Lesley’s example is actually an infinity scarf where she knotted the ends (You can see a short video of how I did this in the past). Of course you can do this with the ends of a rectangular scarf also.
My example is where I knot ONLY one end of the scarf and then pull the other end through that knot. Then there is only the one thickness of material for the knot.
Tips: There are many types of knots, so maybe you know a better one?
Why: These are other ways to keep the scarf from swallowing up your neck.
11. The Infinity
The Scarf: You aren’t limited to an infinity scarf for this option. You can always take a rectangle scarf and tie the ends together to create an infinity scarf.
How to Tie it: Then you just wrap it around your neck to a comfortable position.
Tips: It can help to wear a collared top with it. This helps limit how close to your neck the scarf will lay.
Why: This is a perfect way to create a statement closest to your face.
12. Place it to the Side
The Scarf: Use your square, rectangle or even small scarves and position the knot to the side.
How to Tie it: Use any of the knotted techniques to tie the ends together and then move it to the side.
Tips: Most scarves will need some kind of clip/magnet to hold it in place for this option. My friend MK had a cameo appearance on my blog showcasing a fabulous magnet that works for this idea. If you’re wearing a jacket, you would clip the scarf to it. Or you could use the magnet to keep the knot in front of your shoulder.
Why: If you want to create some space in the front of your outfit, this puts the scarf focus somewhere else.
13. Lady Bib
The Scarf: This is an easy way to wear your square scarves.
Insider tip: Many of your long, rectangle scarves can be opened up, folded in half and then folded into a triangle to create a square scarf.
How to Tie it: Just fold then in half as a triangle and tie the ends behind your neck.
Tips: If you feel like it’s too much material in the front of your body, then you can always roll up the long end of the triangle before tying it.
Why: This showcases your scarf when it’s a beautiful print.
14 & 15. Let it Hang Knotted or Not
The Scarf: A thin, rectangle scarf works the best for this option.
How to Tie it: Can you say SUPER easy?? Just hang the scarf around your neck and you’re good to go.
Tips: If the scarf seems too long, then knot the ends.
Why: This works wonderfully when you leave a blouse/jacket open to create another vertical line.
16 & 17. Throw it Over 1 or 2 Shoulders
The Scarf: This works with Pashminas, rectangle and square scarves.
How to Tie it: Lesley is the queen of just throwing it over her shoulder.
Tips: Obviously this creates a very flexible styling option. Put it on, take it off with a flick of the wrist. If you want to keep it in place, you will have to secure it with the options in #4, 5, & 6.
Why: This is perfect for needing a little coverage for a chill in the air.
18 & 19. Belt 2 Ends or One
The Scarf: Your long rectangle scarf wins for this method.
How to Tie it: Use a belt to secure the scarf.
Tips: You can fold the scarf or not because I think that either way works. For the one shoulder only, you can have both ends under the belt OR one end atop the belt.
Why: Talk about adding a vertical element to an outfit and keeping the scarf in place.
20, 21 & 22. Scarves Elsewhere
We styled scarves for our first outing when we moved here to Arizona in the summer and I thought it’d be fun to explore the possibility of wearing them other places than just around your neck.
Here is the entire post about the outing and you can link to these exact outfits:
How to Style a Scarf in the Summer
The Scarf: The smaller scarves tend to work better for these options, but don’t discount any others. Many of your somewhat larger ones can work too.
How to Tie it: A-Around your waist. You can do this with jeans also.
B. Hanging on your purse. C. Tie it around the brim of your hat.
Tips: Try it, you’ll like it.
Why: Color and fun should be everywhere and anywhere especially when it’s too hot to wear your scarves the “normal” way.
I had a request to showcase head scarves. I was using a couple of these options when we couldn’t get haircuts during the lockdown. You can see my short video on Instagram here. However, I am not an expert with these, so I will sent you to this Guide that isn’t mine.
BTW, some of these styles may seem retro, but don’t let that scare you away. I think we should strive to be a little more original and have fun with our style. Even if your friends aren’t wearing scarves this way.
24, 25 & 26. As a Top
This summer I had a request for ways to tie a scarf as a top. This started when Lesley wore her scarf as a kimono.
The Scarf: This is when you will need a bigger scarf. Square or rectangular shaped will work, but it needs to cover much of your body.
How to Tie it: A. Lesley showcased 2 different ways to wear her scarf as a sarong. B. I got creative by using a couple of claps with my scarf, almost like a kimono. C. Charlotte used some sewing tricks and created a poncho.
Tips: Lesley shows a how to for one of these ways in a short Instagram video here.
Why: This is another great way to get use out of your scarves even in the hotter weather.
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