The silk scarf is a classic accessory that can enhance your style, and there are so many ways to style one!
Small silk and cotton scarves are undoubtedly something you’ve seen before. Whether you noticed it on an Instagram it-girl or in old photos of style icon and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, this iconic accessory is not just a passing trend, so it’s worthwhile to know how to style it. But with an accessory like this one, it’s a bit intimidating. What material to use? What print should it have? How in the world do I tie it?
And that’s exactly where we come in. If you feel a bit intimidated by how you’re supposed to wear your scarf, we have all the different ways you can try tying it until you find something that works well for you, that you feel confident in. Trying out something new can be a little scary, but if you’re armed with the tools of how to style it, we hope that process can be fun instead!
Since most silk scarves or cotton bandanas have prints, keep in mind that it’s typically best to pair them with outfits that are neutral in color. Print mixing is tricky, and definitely not for the faint of heart. But using print as a pop of color is easy as pie, and we hope you’ll give it a try this summer in the form of a silk scarf.
If you need a little help figuring out exactly how to tie it, Gloria Gao has made a video showing how to tie your scarf to create lots of different styles. We have 10 of our personal favorite ways to tie it below.
1. The Headband
This is one super fun way to wear your scarf that’s a bit more modern and a safer place to start if some of the retro styles are a little too far outside your comfort zone. Plus it’s bound to be much more comfortable than an actual headband since the scarf won’t pinch so tightly, while still giving you a similar effect.
My favorite two ways of styling this are simple. Both start with folding the scarf along the diagonal, so you're left with a triangle. Then start rolling the point of the triangle toward the long side so you now have a rolled-up scarf with the end tucked inside. Then you can simply wrap it around your head and tie the ends underneath your hair.
Or, you can wrap it around your hair the opposite way with the ends coming up toward the top of your head. Tie the ends in a pretty knot and tuck the loose ends under the scarf. Secure with bobby pins.
2. The Retro Starlet
I like to call this style the “retro starlet tie” because it's very reminiscent of vintage style icons like Audrey Hepburn. Perfect for riding in the car with the windows down (whether you happen to be filming that latest TikTok trend or not). And also just a good choice if you aren’t having the best hair day, which was actually a little trick of Jackie Kennedy’s. But shhh, don’t tell anyone. You’ll look so chic that they won’t suspect a thing.
If you’re interested in really adding a vintage touch to your look, make sure to couple your silk scarf with some retro curls and vintage sunglasses like Anastasia. You can do a basic hairstyle and a scarf will make it look more special, but really taking the time to do your hair will make it especially elegant.
3. Around Your Bun
This is another more modern take on the silk scarf. And we’re totally for it. Take just a minute or two to put your hair into a pony or a bun, but then give your look a little something extra by using a scarf as your hair accessory. It has that je ne sais quoi that scrunchies (though super cute, don’t get me wrong) just don’t possess. It will add maturity and a touch of style to your look.
4. Bandana Style
This might be the most 2021 way to wear the silk scarf of all these options, but we’re totally on board with this trend (especially since the scarf itself will always be in style no matter which way you choose to style it). If you want it to be especially casual, go for an actual bandana, but for a more elegant look try a silk scarf instead.
5. Around Your Ponytail
If you want to quickly add a pop of color to your outfit, tying a silk scarf around your ponytail should do the trick. Bonus points if you add a fun pair of colorful sunglasses like Julia did. I personally love the way it hangs down, but if you have shorter hair or just don’t like the way that looks, you can also wrap it so it’s like a beautiful hair tie instead.
6. As a Neck Tie
For a super easy and chic way to style your scarf that doesn’t involve tying it around your head in some fashion, we’re fans of tying it around your neck. Forget a necklace, this is a more unique way to draw attention to your neckline.
7. Tie It in a Bow
For a more playful approach to the headband style, leave the ends out instead of tucking them in. This is a bit more casual and offers a change of pace if you tire of the more traditional option. And if you have little girls, it’s also a super cute way to style their hair.
8. Try a Loose Triangle
This is a really stylish take on the silk scarf that’s super classy. You just have to tie it so that it’s loosely draped with that one corner forming a subtle triangle shape. It lets the scarf take center stage, so pick a print you absolutely adore and leave the rest of your outfit very simple.
9. Drape It
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to wear a scarf if you’re running low on time, just fold it so that it’s thin and drape it over your shoulders to look extra elegant with little time to spare.
10. Go Traditional
This one might seem basic, but trust me, a little detail like this added to an otherwise simple outfit can make all the difference. Bonus points if you coordinate a color in the print or background with a color you have on.
At the end of the day, wearing scarves in the summer should be all about having fun with your wardrobe. So if you keep that spirit in mind, you really can’t go wrong.
Whether you go for a silk scarf or the more affordable cotton bandana, a summer scarf is one of the most versatile accessories you can own. No matter which way you wear it, it can help to change up your outfit when you’re feeling a bit bored. Plus, easy ways to look more elegant is something we’re always in the market for.