How to Wear a Scarf

It’s a Scarf — Not a Puzzle

Keep it simple!

How to wear a scarf - 3 ways, Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie wears a scarf 3 ways

The most versatile fashion accessory: the neck scarf.  You see them looking fabulous — on the models in fashion magazines, in displays in your favorite boutique, or on the chic-looking woman you see on the street.  You envy the scarf-wearing skill it seems everyone has but you.  Guess what?  It’s not that hard. Really, it’s not! This valuable fashion tool need not elude you any more.  Here are do’s & don’ts to help you pull off your own scarf-savvy style in uber confident form.


  • How not to wear a scarf

    Scarf tying, ala 1983

    Use a scarf to complete an outfit.  Accessories add “finish” and suggest attention to detail and style savvy in a way an otherwise ordinary outfit won’t.  Scarves do this while injecting color, texture, and personality.

  • Avoid overly-fussy or complicated tying styles. Current fashion calls for a more-relaxed sophistication.  If it looks like it took ten minutes to tie the scarf, your  look runs the risk of appearing contrived.  Awesome style shouldn’t be hard.
  • Think of a scarf’s flexibility when shopping.  Look for one to wear around the neck, waist, inside a jacket, or as a shoulder wrap. (A size in the 28 x 80” range is a versatile option.)

    How to wear a scarf - Winter-weight fabrics

    Winter-weight fabric match (

  • How to wear a scarf - Lightweight fabrics

    Lightweight fabric match (

    Create visual harmony by matching the fabric of your scarf to your clothes.  Wear feather-weight and sheer scarves with lightweight clothing.  Heavier-weight and more- textured scarves pair well with bulkier clothes like winter tweeds and lofty sweaters.


  • Shy away from patterns and prints. It’s fashionable now to mix patterns. When
    How to wear a scarf - mixing prints

    Eva Mendes mixing patterns (source:

    doing so, be sure your prints vary in scale and that one of your two fabrics are a subtle patterned print.

  • Store your scarves jumbled in a box or drawer. Instead, gently fold them over a padded hanger in your closet to keep “wear-ready.”  Read this post for more on how to keep your scarves in top form when storing.
  • Wear a neck scarf in a formal business environment. It’ll appear dated, reminiscent of 1970’s style. (Think: flight attendant uniform.)   An exception in a formal office setting might be an oblong scarf worn loosely wrapped, or untied around a jacket lapel. Good news, however, if you work in professional casual or “business casual” environment: lots of opportunity to accessorize, and scarves may be your new BFF (best fashion friend).  Find more here about maintaining your professional work image.
How to wear a scarf - scarf personalities

Scarf Personalities: My mom and I, May 2014

With the “where and when” logic in place, you’re ready to choose your favorite wrap or tying styles and run with them.  Keep in mind, you don’t need to learn every possible scarf-wrapping technique.  Choose two or three that express your own personality and stick with those for a simple style strategy.  (You’ll find countless articles and tutorials online to guide you, but here’s a good video to start with. It’s my fave — the most conclusive I’ve seen.) Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all.  You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.


Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit or contact Patty.

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This entry was posted in Accessories, Business Professional Image, Personal Image, Professional Image, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion. Bookmark the permalink.

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