How to wear a scarf - plus the best ones to shop now

Master how to wear a scarf and this simple styling hack will transform any outfit

How to wear a scarf: Street style
(Image credit: Getty)

The humble scarf has the ability to elevate any outfit, so if you’re feeling stuck on how to wear a scarf, we’re here to help you master one of the oldest styling tricks in the fashion book.

Scarves may conjure up images of thick, itchy, wooly threads which don’t sound entirely spring-friendly or very glamorous, but in fact, there are many different styles that are incredibly chic and can be worn all year round. 

From silky fabrics to colorful prints, scarves come in many guises making it easier to get on board the trend and find one to suit you and your outfit, whether that's your best jeans or dresses with pockets.

How to wear a scarf

When it comes to how to wear a scarf, you’re spoilt for choice here too. Of course, traditionally, most people opt for wearing one around their neck, but there are many different ways to style it - from a simple drape to a nifty knot to a cozy wrap-around. The possibilities are endless!

That’s not all - you can also tie a small scarf around your wrist, or your ponytail for a cute hair accessory, or around your bag handle to give it extra oomph. The 90s even saw us wearing scarves as tops, but we’re not sure we’re quite ready to brace that one again.

“A scarf can freshen up every day classics in one stylish swoop,” says Paula Moore, Fashion Director at woman&home.

“I love wrapping a small colorful scarf around my beloved black designer bag to give it a new lease of life. A vibrant print can transform your winter bag into something more spring-ready, no effort required! I like to swap my scarf daily, depending on what mood I'm in and what outfit I'm wearing”

If you're wondering what to wear to a wedding, a luxurious cashmere scarf is an elegant cover-up that can be draped over your shoulders without spoiling your outfit—a great option for when it gets chilly in the evening.

How to tie a scarf

From the necktie to the tucked-in, to the loop, the list goes on when it comes to how to wear a scarf around your neck.

Depending on the type and size of scarf you go for, some knots will look better than others so it's always worth experimenting and finding out which one works for you. An oversize cashmere scarf, for example, looks elegant draped casually over your shoulders, whereas a smaller square scarf is best as a delicate necktie or tied round an accessory. During the colder months, you may want a thicker scarf tied neatly around the neck to beat the chill.

Influencer Wendy Nguyen has managed to conjure up a massive 25 different ways to tie your scarf. Here they are:

  1. The Modern One Loop
  2. The Classic Drape
  3. The Bunny Ear
  4. The Double Rainbow
  5. The Turtleneck
  6. The Infinity
  7. The Toss
  8. The European Loop
  9. The Basic Loop
  10. The Wrap
  11. The Mira
  12. The Celebrity
  13. The Waterfall
  14. The Boa
  15. The Magic Trick
  16. The Fake Knot
  17. The X
  18. The Key Tie
  19. The Braid
  20. The Twist and Pull
  21. The Hidden Knot
  22. The Men's Tie
  23. The DIY Infinity
  24. The Decoration
  25. The Shell Roll

So now you’re clued up on how to wear a scarf, we’ve rounded up the best spring scarves you can add to your capsule wardrobe now. Warning, you will want them all.

The best scarves to shop now

Ted Baker Radina Rococo Long Tie Scarf

(Image credit: Ted Baker)

1. Ted Baker Radina Rococo Long Tie Scarf


RRP: $135/£79

Add some luxury to your style every day with this super sleek scarf. Crafted from 100% silk for a fancy feel, the pop of green will lift any look in an instant. It’s just the right size to tie delicately around the neck or around your hair for a chic finish.

Free People Blooming Mandala Print Bandana

(Image credit: Free People)

2. Free People Blooming Mandala Print Bandana


RRP: $28/£24

The yellow and green hues on this beauty make it instantly spring-ready. It’s lightweight and a decent size perfect for wearing around your neck or as a headscarf. Keep the rest of your outfit pared-back when wearing a bold scarf, and let it stand out against a fine knit and your fave jeans combo.

Zara Silk Scarf With Initial

(Image credit: Zara)

3. Zara Silk Scarf With Initial


RRP: $35.90/£19.99

Affordable but with a fancy aesthetic, we adore this square scarf. Crafted from 100% silk for that plush touch, you can snap it up in an array of different colorways, prints, and initials for that extra personal touch. It would make a stunning gift or a treat for yourself.

Mango Polka-dot Print Scarf

(Image credit: Mango)

4. Mango Polka-dot Print Scarf


RRP: $19.99/£12.99

You can’t get more classic than polka dots in a chic monochrome color palette, and this scarf will add some Parisian flair to your look. Wear as a neckerchief with a plain tee or jumper to help lift your off-duty look. As an added bonus, it’s crafted from recycled polyester too.

Aspinal Botanical 'A' Silk Scarf

(Image credit: Aspinal)

5. Aspinal of London Botanical 'A' Silk Scarf


RRP: $175/£125


Ideal for finishing off a summer outfit, this silk scarf from Aspinal of London features a gorgeous botanical print that was inspired by the South Downs countryside. We love the pretty little blue butterflies on the design and the distinctive 'A' logo that sits in the background of the floral decoration. And if you'd prefer other colors there are a bunch of other lovely options available.

H&M Jacquard-Weave Satin Scarf

(Image credit: H&M)

6. H&M Jacquard-Weave Satin Scarf


RRP: $12.99/£9.99

If you’re after a more minimalist number, then this simple sage green scarf is a winner. Tap into the utility trend and wear with a cream boilersuit, keeping the color palette neutral for a stylish get-up. It's also available in black and cream and is a total style steal that you’ll get plenty of wear out of.

Boden Print Scarf, Ivory, Exoctic Escape

(Image credit: Boden)

7. Boden Print Scarf, Ivory, Exoctic Escape


RRP: $70/£45

Add a pop of color to a plain white tee with this blooming beautiful scarf. It’s oversized, making it easy to wear however you like it - as a wrap or tie it up. An easy way to add more bang to your basics the material is super soft on the skin too. Minimal effort with maximum impact, you’ll love styling this one.

J Crew Oversized Cashmere Wrap

(Image credit: J Crew)

8. J Crew Oversized Cashmere Wrap


RRP: $198/£221

A cashmere scarf may feel indulgent, but you won’t regret splashing the cash on this beauty. Timeless, chic, and oh-so-soft, this camel wrap will become a style staple and last for years. Elegant enough for special occasions such as weddings, it’s the perfect accessory for chilly summer evenings. 

Liberty London Peacock Garden Silk Twill Scarf

(Image credit: Liberty)

9. Liberty London Peacock Garden Silk Twill Scarf


RRP: $240/£165

It wouldn’t be a scarf roundup without an iconic Liberty number, and this peacock embellished beauty is at the top of our wish list. Made from 100% silk, it’s pure luxury and will be treasured for years to come. We love the vibrant hues - perfect for updating your best winter coat for an added dose of opulence.

Acne Studios Cassiar Checked Logo Wool Scarf

(Image credit: Selfridges)

10. Acne Studios Cassiar Checked Logo Wool Scarf


RRP: $177/£150

Everyone’s accessory collection needs a checked scarf, and we love this vibrant number. It’s 100% wool, so it will keep you toasty, whilst the pink and green colorway adds a pop of color that will work through the seasons. Wear with a camel coat or leather jacket for a cooler finish.

Kate Thornton x Bibi Bijoux ‘In Girls We Trust’ Black Swallow Scarf

(Image credit: Bibi Bijoux)

11. Kate Thornton x Bibi Bijoux ‘In Girls We Trust’ Black Swallow Scarf


RRP: $48.56/£34.99

This lightweight scarf, infused with a dose of girl power, takes inspiration from nautical tattoos with its swallow and heart print. It’s big enough to be worn numerous ways - as a shawl or tied around your neck.

Reiss Aimee Oversized Textured Scarf

(Image credit: Reiss)

12. Reiss Aimee Oversized Textured Scarf


RRP: $160/£85

For something a bit chunkier that’ll keep you warm, too, this oversized cream scarf is a front-runner. The textured detail adds interest and the frayed trim gives it an unfinished edge. Drape it across your shoulders for an elegant evening shawl, or wrap it around your neck to beat the chill.

Bella Singleton Maxi Twilly 04 Scarf

(Image credit: Bella Singleton)

13. Bella Singleton Maxi Twilly 04 Scarf


RRP: $135/£95

This skinny scarf from celeb fave Bella Singleton is incredibly versatile, and the bold Art Nouveau-inspired print is bound to turn your outfit up a notch. For added opulence, it’s crafted from 100% Silk Crepe De Chine, and double backed for an ultra-luxurious weight.

Charlie Bell

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.

She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.

With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.