Everybody loves a good scarf, but you may never have realized just how many uses your favorite scarf has. From dresses to headgear to bracelets and more, check out these 20 stylish ways to wear a scarf!
1. Classic Neck Scarf
Number one way to wear a scarf? Around your neck! There are hundreds of ways to wear a scarf around your neck. You can go as simple as draping it around your neck, or choose a fabulous knot that would make even your Girl Scout troop leader dizzy. No matter how you tie, knot, or drape yours, scarves are the ultimate accessory for the chilly months.
Headwraps have been a part of Black culture for ages. Even a cursory Pinterest search will show you hundreds of Black stylists’ tips and tricks for rocking a variety of headwrap styles. Turn any bad hair day around with any of these beautiful ways of wearing a scarf as a headwrap!
If you’re not Black, you might need to do some research on the exact hair wrapping style you’re planning on wearing to avoid cultural appropriation. Before Black women reclaimed the head wrap as a defiant expression of the beauty of Black bodies and Black culture, the head wrap was something enslaved Black women were forced to wear to denote their enslaved status. Given that history, it would be inappropriate for a non-Black woman to wrap her hair in a style historically belonging to the Black community. That’s not to say non-Black women can never wear scarves on their heads─one style that’s super trendy and totally acceptable for non-Black women is using a scarf to tie a ponytail, bun, or half-ponytail!
3. Pirate Hair Scarf
Speaking of stylish ways to wear a scarf on your head, one of the biggest trends this year is, believe it or not, a style I like to call “the pirate wrap.” If you’re having a bad hair day, just tie a printed scarf over your forehead and hair, creating a lightweight cap that’s perfect for the summer heat.
If yours keeps falling off, or you want to keep your hair out of your face, bandanas are also super trendy right now. Just tie your scarf under your hair instead of over it for a different look that’s just as cute!
4. Audrey Hepburn
Classic and classy, you just can’t go wrong with the Audrey Hepburn look. Tie your scarf under your chin, letting the wide part of the scarf cover your hair. This look works equally well with an overcoat in the winter or a swimsuit in the summer, and will never fail to make you look and feel glamorous. Make sure to complete the look with your favorite sunglasses, and you’re good to go!
For all our hijabi Muslim readers out there, it goes without saying that scarves are a staple. Whether you wear a hijab, niqab, al-amira, or shayla, veiling presents a unique opportunity for personal self expression that goes hand-in-hand with religious devotion.
There are thousands of Muslim fashionistas out there redefining the world of hijabi fashion with scarves in every color and print, wrapped and pinned in every stylish way you could dream. Whether you go for something simple and classic, or quirky and cutting-edge, there are as many ways to veil as there are hijabi women in the world.
The hijab is, unfortunately, still subject to a lot of stigma in the United States, which makes the decision to veil all the more brave and admirable. We, at Society 19, want to voice our support for all our Muslim readers, hijabi or otherwise, and your choice to be yourself without compromise.
If your scarf is long enough, you can tie it into a cute dress! Whether you wear your scarf dress with heels on the street, or as a swimsuit cover-up on the beach, it’s a great way to up-cycle your scarves and expand your summer wardrobe!
Again, when you’re looking up DIY dress and skirt ideas, be conscious of cultural appropriation. Sarongs and lungis are awesome, but unless you have Southeast Asian ancestry, it’s not cool to wear one blindly without any knowledge of or connection to the culture that created them.
Everyone needs a good coverup for the beach. There’s no need to go out and buy an expensive new cover-up when you can easily fashion one out of your favorite lightweight scarf!
To turn your scarf into a skirt, just tie two corners around your waist, putting the knot at the hip. To make a quick halter dress cover-up, follow the instructions below!
8. Crop Top
The latest summer trend is to wear scarves as tops! Tie your scarf in the back and let the corner hang down in front, or tie it in the front for more of a tube top look. There are so many different ways to wear the scarf crop top─check out a few of them here! Be sure to tie it tight enough that you don’t have to worry about it slipping, especially if your scarf is made of silk!
If crop tops aren’t your speed, there are other ways to wear your favorite scarf as a shirt without showing so much skin. It’s easy to transform your scarf into a wrap top or a halter top (see instructions for the latter below). Tuck the ends into high-waisted jeans or shorts, and voila! A cute, sleeveless shirt for any hot summer day.
10. Bra Top
If you are comfortable showing some more skin or want to layer your favorite shirt with a cute bralette, you can wear a scarf as a bra top! Tying your scarf around your neck will provide more security against slipping than the tube top style, even as you rock the minimalist summer look.
Tie your scarf around your waist as a cute and colorful belt! Thread a scarf through the belt loops in your pants or shorts and let the ends hang, or tie it around your waist as the colorful seam in a shirt-and-skirt combo! Spice up a dress by belting at the waist with a vibrant scarf, tucking the ends in for a look that’s chic and natural.
Heads up to our male readers: scarves as belts are an up-and-coming look in menswear as well!
12. Belted Shawl
If you don’t want to wear your scarf as a belt, there’s also some stylish ways to wear a scarf with a belt. Throw a big scarf over your shoulders like a shawl, and buckle a waist-belt over the whole ensemble. This look creates a silhouette that’s both stylishly bulky and flatteringly trim!
You can also try this look with a thinner, longer scarf. Wrap your scarf around your neck and let the ends hang down, and buckle your belt at the waist over both the scarf and your top. This is a good option for days when it’s a bit too hot for a chunky scarf, or for those who want a look that’s slim and trim from head to toe.
13. Over-The-Shoulder Belted
A cool riff on the belted-scarf trend is to wear your scarf over just one shoulder before buckling up and heading out for the day. It’s a super cute style that’s creative, chic, and unique, perfect for officewear and street clothes alike.
A scarf’s number one place is around the neck, and it can live there in more ways than one. Try tying or plaiting your favorite scarf into a tight band you can wear as a necklace! Find instructions for one scarf-necklace style here, or look around on Pinterest for other ways to DIY!
15. Face Mask
Disclaimer: it is definitely recommended that you get a real mask, for the sake of protecting your own health and the health of those around you. That said, if you don’t have a mask and need a temporary substitute, you can make do with a scarf in a pinch.
Choose a scarf with a high thread count and tie it around your nose and mouth. Knot it securely around the back of your head to keep it from slipping. Either let the scarf hang down low enough to cover all the way to your chest, like a bandit, or pull the bottom up under your chin and tie it behind your head as well.
Make sure to practice social distancing, even while wearing a mask!
16. Neck Kerchief
Ascots aren’t just for flight attendants anymore! Rock the latest neck kerchief trend with a cute silk scarf tied around your neck this summer!
P.S. This style is big in menswear, too! Be sure to try it with a bandana this summer, fellas!
17. Advanced Neck Kerchief Knots
While the simple knot featured in #16 is a classic style and great for summer, there are almost unlimited ways to tie a neck kerchief. If you’re good with knots and want to get creative, check out Pinterest for videos from stylists who’ve thought up dozens of lovely and innovative ways of tying a neck kerchief. These out-of-the-box knots will add a unique, eye-catching touch to any outfit!
18. Blanket Scarf
Blanket scarves are chunky, cozy, and cute─the perfect accessory for autumn and winter! These big, thick scarves are typically worn facing front, covering part or all of the shirt. This makes them a great way to save an outfit that’s been stained or dirtied if you don’t have time to change─a fashion hack as cute as it is easy!
A blanket scarf can also double as a super cute shawl. One of the great perks of a shawl is that you can wear it indoors if you’re prone to getting chilly inside. So leave your coat at the door and turn the blanket scarf around your neck into an adorable shawl simply by draping it over your shoulders!
If you don’t want to have to worry about your scarf shawl falling off, try wearing an infinity scarf. Put your arms through the hole as if you’re putting on a backpack, fan out the part of the scarf that lays over your shoulders, and let the bottom “strap” keep your shawl secure behind your back! If you don’t have an infinity scarf, you can easily tie the ends of an ordinary scarf together to improvise one.
20. The Bracelet
If you have a silk scarf handy and want to accessorize your outfit in a new and unique way, try tying your scarf around your wrist for a stylish bracelet or wrist cuff! If it’s too cumbersome on your wrist, you can wear the scarf as an ankle cuff just as easily, a style that looks great with flats and ankle pants.
Which of these stylish scarf styles do you want to try? Let us know in the comments below!
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A. A. Ford is a writer from St. Louis, Missouri. She is currently a student majoring in English and Theology at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to her articles for Society 19, Ford is known for her poetry and fiction, which can be found at https://aafordstories.wordpress.com/. In her free time, she loves directing stage theater, spending time with her friends and family, and trying her best to glorify God by her life.