How to Accessorize your Wardrobe with Designer Scarves

By learning a few basic scarf folding techniques, you’ll be ready to update your professional or casual wardrobe!

What did Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, and Audrey Hepburn have in common? They accessorized with fashionable scarves! Modern-day mavens don’t leave home without their Hermes silk scarf, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to look fashion savvy, start with the basics.

The Scarf

The standard fashion scarf measures 36 inches square. The basic rule of thumb is, the heavier the silk, the better quality it is. An expensive Hermes silk scarf weighs 20mm, while most silk scarves weigh 4 mm to 16mm. Most scarves made in Italy or France are good quality, but China and Japan produce beautiful silks, too.

Perhaps your first scarf will be a handmade item you created yourself. Now you’re ready to start accessorizing!

How do I do a basic fold?

You can fold a square scarf into an oblong shape, by wrapping it in half, then quarter it.

How do I tie a basic square knot?

The essential knot to learn is the square knot, also known as the reef or brownie knot. Fold and place any size scarf around your neck, keeping one panel longer about 1-3 inches. Cross the long panel over the short one and feed up through the neck, creating a single knot. Retake the long panel, over the short panel and feed it through the opening from behind. Pull panels horizontally to desired tightness.

How do I create the famous Chanel look?

Place an oblong scarf at the front of the neck, crisscross the panels at the back and bring them to the front. Tie a single knot. Let the panels fall softly.

A variation of the Chanel:

Fold a large square scarf in half and continue to fold to a 4-inch width. Place around the neck, tie a single knot and place one panel on top of the other. Tre Chic!

How do I make a notched collar effect?

Fold a large square scarf into a triangle. Place the folded edge around your neck keeping the panels even. Tie a slip-knot with one panel. Pleat the folded edge of the other panel and feed the pleats up through the slip-knot. Pull the end of the slipknot down to tighten. Fan the pleats.

How about a mandarin collar?

Start by folding a large square scarf into a triangle. Place the folded edge next to your neck and tie a single knot. Twist the panels together. Wrap the twisted panels around itself and tuck the ends into the center, creating a rosette. Wear it off to the side or at the center of a collar.

  • Create a sporty look to go with a sweater: Fold your scarf into a bias. Twist the scarf and wrap around the neck. Tie a square knot. (You can use this with a bandana).
  • A variation of the sporty look is to start with a longer scarf and tie it around the neck twice.
  • Dress up a crew neck sweater or basic t-shirt! Fold a large square scarf into a bias. Place it around your neck. Tie a loose square knot. Bring the panels to the back of the neck and tie a second square knot. Tuck in the ends.
  • Variation: For a casual look, leave the ends hanging in the front.
  • Dress up a polo shirt! Start by tying a single loose knot about 6 inches from one end. Work with the long panel by forming a loop near the knot and feed it through the knot. Continue making circles to create a chain, leaving about 6 inches for finishing. Take this end and send it through the last loop and tighten to secure the chain. The length of your scarf will determine the number of circuits you can make. You can also use this as a headband, or a snazzy waist belt!
  • Try a GQ oblong style! Fold a textured oblong scarf in half and place it around your neck. Feed one panel behind and then through the loop. Feed the other panel through the circuit from the top. Finish the design by adjusting the panels. (Looks great over a jacket!)

Make a bow tie!

Tying a bow tie is like tying your shoelace – only it’s around your neck. Stand in the front of a mirror while you practice. Follow these eight simple steps:

  1. Place a tie or scarf around your neck.
  2. Keep on panel longer and cross the long panel over the top of the short panel and tie a single knot.
  3. Form a small half bow with the shorter panel.
  4. Hold in place with your thumb and forefinger.
  5. Let the longer panel fall over the half bow.
  6. Pinch the long panel just below the half bow and feed it in behind to form the second half of the bow.
  7. Balance the loops and ends together at the same time to even out the size of the traditional bow tie.
  8. Tighten the scarf by pulling the loops horizontally and spreading the bows.

Try using scarves to create illusions.

  • If you have a short neck, you need the illusion of length. An oblong scarf, worn open around your shoulders will draw the eyes down. Short hair, simple jewelry and a scarf well placed will elongate the neck and face. Wear v-neck sweaters or blouses with low collars.
  • If you have a long neck, try shoulder length hairstyles, (curls and waves work great), and a soft scarf worn across the neck and shoulders, to create the desired look.

Experiment with a scarf clip!

Whether it’s real diamonds or cubic zirconias, silver or platinum, there are many beautiful scarf clips available today. Here are some tidbits about scarf clips:

  • The sizes and fabrics of your scarves will determine your scarf clip selection.
  • There are three basic sizes of loops on the scarf clip.
  1. A small loop is suitable for narrow and lightweight scarves.
  2. Medium is suitable for most types of scarves.
  3. A large loop is ideal for heavier fabrics and larger scarves.

The operation of the scarf clip is the same regardless of the size of the loop.

  1. Open the scarf clip.
  2. Hold it with your thumb on the back of the face, the hinge at the top of your thumb and your index finger on the front.
  3. Tilt the loop of the clip towards your body, while looking in a mirror for guidance.
  4. Feed the fabric down through the loop of the scarf clip.
  5. Close the scarf clip.

Before you know it, you’ll be wearing a scarf every day, and people recognize you like a full-on fashionista! Whether it’s a Gucci, Hermes, Armani or something you made yourself, you’ll look fabulous!

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