Stay Warm Without Looking Sloppy

Little kid too bundled up with winter gear

If you’re anything like me, you have approximately one bazillion beautiful, soft, winter scarves stashed away in a closet somewhere, going unused because every attempt to wear one ends up looking like the little brother in The Christmas Story.

There are, apparently, hundreds of ways to wear a scarf with your winter coat without looking like a mummy. In fact, a brief Google search for “How to Tie a Scarf” can lead you down an internet wormhole for days. So, to save you from that utter time-suck, I’ve collated six simple-but-stylish ways to wear scarves that anyone is capable of wearing. Yes, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bundle up in style. 

Classic Styles


Loop Through Scarf KnotOne of the easiest ways to wear a scarf requires folding it in half and then draping it around the back of your neck. Simply pull the two loose ends through the loop of the folded end of the scarf, and tighten as necessary. Voila! Warm and functional. This style is also great for those scarves that are just a tad too long, as it reduces the length that hangs down significantly. Pro tip: you can choose to either leave the ends out on top of your coat, or you can tuck them in for that classy “is this a scarf or a fancy cravat” look. Just don’t leave ends that are longer than your outerwear tucked underneath… ends hanging out of the bottom of a coat can make for an awkward look.

Loose Wrap

Loose Wrap scarf knot

Perhaps the most classic way to wear a scarf, the loose wrap is when you drape it around the front of your neck so that the ends dangle behind you, criss-cross them in the back, and then pull the ends around to the front. Your mom probably did this when she was dressing you for school (maybe a tad aggressively, now that you mention it.)


Layered Knot

Layered scarf knotThe layered knot sounds complicated, but as you can see in the image, it’s really easy to do. Simply wrap the scarf around your neck, cross in the back, and then pull the ends to the front and knot them. Loosen the wrapped portion of the scarf as needed (so you don’t feel as if you’re choking) and then smooth the ends so they hang down in front, with one end slightly covering the other.


Step It Up 

The next few styles aren’t difficult to master by any means, but a bit more thinking. Give one or two a try this winter to spice things up a bit.

The Pretzel

Pretzel Knot How-ToThis knot would look great with a classic peacoat or other dressy outerwear. Fold the scarf in half lengthwise to create a loop and then place that around your neck. Take one of the tails and pull it through, but unlike the Loop-n-Through, take the second end and pull it across the loop on top and pull it through from the opposite side. This creates a kind of double-knot situation that will make people think you really know what you’re doing. 

The Neckerchief

Neckerchief scarfThis one can either look super chic or if done badly, a bit like a baby’s bib. Do it right and you’ll be warm and trendy. Halve the scarf twice, so that it’s a rectangle. Then, fold the square diagonally for a triangle shape. Then, take the two ends located on the longest side of the triangle and tie it around your neck. Fan out the triangle points in front a bit to avoid the bib look, and cock it off to the side to add a jaunty flair.  It’s even better if you’re wearing a coat with a collar to hide the tied knots in the back. (For a quick .gif tutorial, check out InStyle’s guide to scarf tying here.)

Note: This style only works with pashmina-style scarves. 

The Bow

Bow KnotOk, I’ll admit it. I perhaps chortled when I saw this suggested on a fashion blogger’s site, but the more I looked, the more I realized that this was a growing trend amongst a lot of the Gen Z influencers. So, if you are the type of person who jumped on the neon hair craze of the last year, maybe this look is for you. And it’s exactly what you think it is: you tie your scarf like you would tie your shoes, and then fluff out the bow to make it pretty. That’s it. But if you need more info, the ladies at Three Bird Nest (a popular fashion blog) made a helpful video tutorial that can be found here.

And there you have it. We tried to stick to styles that lend themselves to the typical upstate New Yorker’s scarf collection (you know, that pile in the back of the coat closet that we mentioned earlier?) Many of these knots are also a wonderful way to wear that scarf your friend made you. You know, the one who took up knitting as a pandemic hobby? These styles can hide a lot of imperfections is all we’re saying.

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