Scarves are one of my favorite ways to bring some extra color and warmth to my wardrobe. There’s a scarf for any occasion; a silk scarf is light enough to complete a summer look, whereas a cashmere scarf will help to keep you warm in cold weather.
I used to always wear my scarves in a “European Loop” which isn’t a bad way to wear a scarf! Just look at all these fab celebrities sporting the European Loop thingie! I mean if it’s good enough for Jennifer Aniston, it’s good enough for me. :-)
But there are so many other great options!
Here, I’m going to explore scarves in a little more detail, including:
- A quick history of the scarf
- Who looks good in a scarf?
- Some great ways to tie, tuck, and drape your scarves
Where Do Scarves Come From?
The origins of the scarf go back as far as Ancient Egypt, where it’s said that Queen Nefertiti wore an elegant headscarf as part of her glamorous wardrobe.
Although Nefertiti has become an icon of feminine power and beauty, it’s not just women who have historically worn scarves. Scarves, neckties, and bandanas have also been used by male soldiers to differentiate rank, and pilots relied on them to stay warm in the days where open cockpits were standard.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that scarves became a fashion statement. In the UK, Queen Victoria had beautiful silk scarves made to accompany her royal wardrobe, and soon after, they became a fashionable status symbol across Europe and America.
Who Looks Good in a Scarf?
While we tend to think of scarves as being a staple item for a woman’s wardrobe, their military history means they’re a great accessory for a man’s outfit too.
Whether the man in your life is more likely to wear a blazer, a smart pea coat, or a well-worn leather jacket, there’s a scarf to match. It’s not uncommon to see George Clooney, Brad Pitt, or David Beckham wearing a scarf – and who wouldn’t look good following in their fashion footsteps?!
Of course, scarves have been popular in mainstream women’s fashion for decades too. From Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to Jenifer Aniston and Charlize Theron, some of the world’s most famous faces are often pictured wearing scarves. Again, summer or winter, smart or casual; there’s a scarf to suit virtually any look.
Scarf Tying Methods
One of the main reasons why people avoid wearing scarves is simply because they don’t know the best way to tie one.
There are plenty of simple ways to tie a scarf, and they all look fantastic! Allow me to explain a few:
The European Loop
The European loop is also referred to as the Casual Sleek knot or Parisian knot, and it’s the simplest way to tie a scarf.
A European loop can work in any climate; a light silk scarf can keep the sun off the back of your neck and chest, whereas a heavier knitted scarf will keep you comfortable when the temperature drops.
A long rectangular scarf is ideal for making this loop, but if you’re using a large square scarf, you’ll need to fold it diagonally first.
Hold both ends of your scarf with one hand, creating a hoop where the scarf folds.
Place the scarf around your neck, with the hoop side over one shoulder and the ends over the opposite shoulder.
Keeping the hoop open with one hand, use your other hand to feed the ends of the scarf through the hoop.
Pull the ends through the hoop, creating an even knot that sits on your chest or under your chin. In cold weather, you might want to tighten the scarf to keep you warm.
That’s it! It’s probably the easiest way to tie a scarf, and it creates a timeless, elegant look! You can leave the loose ends outside your outer layer, or tuck them in for a little extra warmth.
The Jillee European Loop
With a little experimenting, I’ve created a variation of the European loop that I think looks even more stylish. Give it a try and see if you agree!
Again, hold both ends of your scarf together to create a hoop at the other end.
Drape the scarf around your neck, letting the hoop end of the scarf drop over your chest.
Keep the hoop open with one hand, then pass ONE of the loose ends OVER one side of the hoop and UNDER the other side.
Now take the other loose end and do the same thing, but in REVERSE. Weave the end UNDER one side of the hoop and then OVER the other side.
When you cinch the scarf up, you’ll get a beautiful knot that looks sophisticated enough to wear for business or with formal party wear.
5 Ways to Wear a Scarf Without Knots
Scarf knots aren’t for everyone; like turtlenecks, they can sometimes feel a little claustrophobic tucked against your neck. Don’t worry if you prefer to keep a scarf a little looser, there are some equally stylish ways to add a scarf without tying it!
The Simple Drape
The drape, the easiest way to wear a scarf by far, just involves letting the scarf fall around your neck and down your front. It’s probably not going to add any warmth to your outfit, but it’s a fantastic way of adding an eye-catching color or pattern.
The simple drape works best with a shorter scarf. But be warned, since there’s no knot or looping, lightweight scarves can take off on a windy day!
The Belted Drape
The belted drape is a great way to add plenty of color to your look or add a little warmth to a top with a lower neckline. It’s a quick way to transform what you’re wearing!
Drape the scarf evenly around your neck and shoulders and let it hang down the front of your outfit.
Add a skinny belt over the top of the scarf around your waist. As well as looking fantastic, the belt draws the outfit in around your waist, creating a flattering silhouette.
The toss is the ultimate in casual sophistication! You’ll need a longer scarf for this one, but the classy carefree look that it creates works just as well with a t-shirt as it does with a ballgown!
Let the scarf drape evenly around your neck.
Simply toss one end of the scarf over the opposite shoulder, and you’re done! This one’s great under a jacket on a windy day.
The Reverse Drape
Like the toss, the reverse drape is great under a jacket on a windy day, and the ends of the scarf are hidden behind you, so it’s quite a minimal look too.
Drape the scarf around your neck, with both ends hanging to the front.
Toss one end of the scarf over the opposite shoulder, then toss the other end of the scarf over the other shoulder. This one looks best under an outer layer and is a great way of staying warm if you live in a colder climate!
The Basic Loop
The basic loop is a great blend of simplicity and style, and the uneven finish means it doesn’t look too formal if you’re keeping your outfit casual.
Drape the scarf unevenly around your shoulders. Let the short end fall around your chest, with the longer end falling beneath your waist.
Take the longer end and loop it once around your neck, letting it fall naturally towards your waist. It might take a couple of tries to get the look that’s right for you, but practice makes perfect!
The Infinity Scarf
Strictly speaking, the infinity scarf is a little different from the other scarves you might already have, but they’re a great addition for a slightly different look.
An infinity scarf is a loop of fabric, usually big enough to wrap around your neck at least twice. They’re not quite as versatile as a traditional scarf, but they’re zero-fuss, and you don’t have to worry about any loose ends!
Adding a Scarf to Your Wardrobe
For me, scarves are the ultimate accessory! They’re a fantastic way of adding some color, a little texture, or a pattern to what you’re wearing.
Try a few of the loops and knots I’ve suggested and see what you feel comfortable with. Some people like a double knot that ties snugly around the neck, and other people prefer something a little looser.
Grab a scarf and give it a try. You might even decide that a scarf is a perfect gift for the man in your life; after all, channeling the style of David Beckham or Brad Pitt never hurts!