How to Wear a Silk Scarf

Silk scarves are the wallflowers of fashion. They’re the forgotten accessory, the bottom-shelf stowaway, and the occupiers of space in your jewelry box. On average, most people opt out of a decorative handkerchief, as it’s usually an added fuss when it comes to everyday styling. 

With that being said, wearing one distinguishes you as the Instagram trendsetter. Like a swirl of icing on a cake, the silk scarf is a simple way to add color and visual texture to your final look. 

Like jewelry, kerchiefs are a highly collectible item. Heart Evangelista, the darling of the Philippines, owns hundreds of Hermes scarves. Aside from framing them in her own house, she chooses to fashion them as head wraps and neck cravats. 

Considering that they retail for over $500 apiece, I think it’s safe to say that Evangelista’s selection is reserved for hardcore collectors only. Nonetheless, it’s an inspiring anecdote that can push you to stock up scarves, minus the expense, of course. 

So, with that in mind, you’re probably wondering how to wear a silk scarf. Fortunately, we developed a nifty guide for trendsetters to reference. From sunglasses to skirts, we’ll feature 10 outfit ideas that are definitely worth considering. By the end of this article, you’ll understand:

  • How to wear a silk scarf on your head 
  • How to wear a silk scarf in your hair 
  • How to wear a silk scarf with a dress 
  • How to tie a silk scarf 

What is a Silk Scarf?

Before we jump into this ‘how to wear a silk scarf’ guide, we thought it best to imbue you with some specifics first. This accessory, typically cut in a square or rectangle, is used as a finishing piece for an outfit. 

They’re often decorated with intricate patterns, accents, and colors. Silk scarves are quite thin in construction, which makes them an ideal headwrap or neckerchief. If it’s big enough, some trendsetters prefer to wear it as a top. 

When to Wear a Silk Scarf

Silk scarves are a seasonless accessory. Depending on how you wear them, they can last from winter to summer. While they’re commonly known as decoration only, most trendsetters forget that they can be functional as well. 

Take, for instance, Audrey Hepburn, who used the classic silk scarf and sunglasses combo as a subtle disguise in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It also makes for a great driving ensemble, as the wrap prevents your hair from being tangled in the wind. This only applies if you own a convertible, of course. 

While silk scarves are synonymous with casual dressing, they can easily be adopted into formal wear. From button-up shirts to evening dresses, the luxurious kerchief can add a touch of retro flair to any look. We’ll be sure to cover both aesthetics in the outfits to come. 

How to Wear a Silk Scarf

As mentioned above, the silk scarf can be worn as a headwrap, neckerchief, hair tie, and top. Considering its versatility, remind me again why we chose to leave them out of the styling conversation? They definitely bring an element of spice and flair to an outfit that jewelry can never provide, which is why we decided to highlight this decorative accessory in this guide. 

If you’re stuck in a styling rut, we’ll show you how to wear a silk scarf using 10 outfit ideas. Don’t worry; we’ve got fits for all genders to enjoy. 

5 Outfit Ideas with a Silk Scarf for Women

Unkempt hair is a fuss to deal with. Dry, oily, flaccid, and oddly voluminous, our daily do’ constantly reminds us that it’s a living paradox. If you can’t be bothered to hop in the shower, this styling idea conceals bad hair days without using a hat. It features a silk scarf wrapped around a low bun. 

Tightly knotted with loose ends, it’s a fashionable look that requires the least amount of effort. We suggest topping the outfit off with a simple sleeveless turtleneck and a creme accordion pleat skirt. This is how to wear a silk head scarf if you’re on no-wash day 3. 

Your closet is full of potential. With that being said, you often complain that there’s nothing to wear. To avoid the inevitable pile of tees, blouses, and tank-tops that might accumulate on your bedroom floor, we suggest this DIY outfit. 

Composed of a silk scarf tied around the bust, it’s a simple summer look that requires no hand sewing. The wrap is further complemented with white jeans, hoop earrings, and a black visor. If you’re wondering how to wear a long silk scarf, this is the outfit to opt for. 

How can we forget Audrey Hepburn’s iconic look? While she wasn’t the first to invent the sunglasses and scarf trend, she is responsible for popularizing it. Composed of a Fendi hair wrap, tortoise sunglasses, and a beige trenchcoat, this classy ensemble keeps things subtle but mysterious if you prefer the ‘incognito’ approach to fashion. 

In terms of accessories, we recommend a pair of leather gloves and a designer purse to really imbue that ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ vibe. If you’re going to cop any of our outfits in this ‘how to wear a silk scarf’ guide, we highly recommend choosing this ensemble. 

Most trendsetters gag at the idea of thin mufflers. It was popular during the early 2000s, but it soon died down in the wave of infinity scarves.

This doesn’t bode well for people who’ve accumulated a large collection of willowy cottons, myself included. Instead of ditching it for donation, we suggest unwrapping your scarf and letting it hang on your neck instead. 

This runway look reinvents how we usually wear this accessory, as it features it draped around the shoulders and tucked under a belt. 

Flowy in silhouette, the cravat is slightly asymmetrical to help add some visual interest. If you’re wondering how to wear a silk scarf, it’s important to consider a bright pattern, as it accentuates the final look. 

The best way to answer the ‘how to wear a silk scarf’ question is to opt for the simple necktie. Effortlessly stylish, this accessory can turn any mundane outfit into an Instagrammable moment. Of course, you’ll need to be careful about knotting it. 

In some cases, you’ll end up with a jutted side, so it’s important to consider how the fabric lays flat. For outfit ideas, we recommend basing the ensemble around the colors of your scarf. This OOTD is a love letter to lavender purple, as it features a matching blazer and trousers set. 

5 Outfit Ideas with a Silk Scarf for Men

Considered a more daring take in our “how to wear a silk scarf’ lineup, this bold ensemble pairs a silver-toned muffler with a sharp blazer. It’s a great alternative for those who hate stiff bows and ties, as this accessory requires no cinching or complicated knotting.

 Slightly asymmetrical when draped, this runway-ready look is perfect for fashion week and extravagant cocktail parties. We recommend topping things off with a matching pair of trousers and white sneakers. 

Slightly retro in aesthetic, this outfit offers a subtle approach to the silk scarf trend. It doesn’t feature the same vibrant prints and colors presented in past examples but instead showcases a pattern of dots and shapes in muted hues. 

The rest of the OOTD plays off the simplicity of the scarf, as it comes with an off-white sweater and navy blue trousers. It’s an excellent look to consider if you prefer to stay out of the limelight but still covet that fashionable touch. 

This outfit gives me soft, cottage-core realness. Composed of a beige teddy coat, white trousers, and a pastel headscarf, it’s a delicate approach to fashion if you hate bold colors and harsh lines. 

I can imagine someone running through a field of flowers in this ensemble or enjoying a quaint afternoon tea in a charming cobblestone town. Romantic in silhouette, we suggest topping the look off with a tote bag and a pair of espresso-stained Oxford shoes. 

Honestly, I’ve never seen an outfit that emanates “I attended prep school in Europe’ than this OOTD. Comprising a creme, double-breasted blazer, a deep-v sweater, khakis, and a decorative neckerchief, it’s the ‘my daddy pays for my tuition’ look of the year. 

If you’re wondering how to wear a square silk scarf, this is how to do it. Given that most versions aren’t long in cut, opting for the neck-tie method is probably your only alternative. To really drive home that collegiate boy aesthetic, we recommend a brown leather satchel and matching Italian shoes. 

Can’t figure out how to wear a silk scarf? If you love the 90s scene, we suggest fashioning your bandana like a sweatband. Intrinsic to workout culture, this outfit reinvents this cheesy aesthetic into a fashion statement. It features an olive green muscle tee, mid-wash jeans, Converse kicks, and a pearl necklace for a touch of bling. 

Sweet but edgy in aesthetic, it’s the perfect marriage between auto shop boy and summer romance that we thought we never needed. This, ladies and gents, is how to wear a silk scarf if you want to stand out amongst the crowd. 

What Type of Silk Scarves Can You Get?

Silk scarves dominate every department store, thrifting outlet, and flea market. While it’s common for retailers to mass-produce them, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something one-of-kind. For instance, our top 10 list consisted of no repeats, as it’s rare to find outfits that share the same design. 

If you’re wondering what type of silk scarf to get, we’ll feature some common styles to consider:

  • The long scarf: This type of accessory usually extends the 40-inch mark. They aren’t recommended as headwraps or neckerchiefs due to the length. Instead, we suggest wearing them as bandeau tops or a skirt if it’s big enough. 
  • The short scarf: Ideal as neckerchiefs, head wraps, and hair ties, this itty bitty accessory offers a small touch of flair to any outfit. 
  • Monochrome designs: If you prefer solid colors over patterns, monochrome is definitely the way forward. Plus, it makes outfit coordination ten times easier. 
  • Patterned designs: Most scarves feature vibrant prints, motifs, and colors. Trust me, it’s easier to find an intricate pattern over a monochrome muffler. 

How to Choose The Best Silk Scarf

Depending on the brand, the price range for silk scarves is around $15 to $500. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you opt for Urban Outfitters or Versace, as quality control is an important asset to look for. 

As a responsible shopper, you should assess clothing based on three criteria: price, material, and wearability. For those in need of in-depth specifics, we’ll be sure to discuss the deets in the following segments. 

Let’s talk about materials first. Silk scarves are obviously made out of silk, but some brands try to include a mix of polyester and cotton. It’s worth noting that these types of blends are relatively cheap since both fabrics are inexpensive to make. 

Obviously, opting for 100% silk will result in a higher price. Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you should settle for a $200 scarf. Shoppers can easily find a decently-made piece for around $30 to $60

Wearability is a crucial point to consider. Like any type of clothing, you should think of how often you’ll use it. In most cases, it’s probably best to opt for solid-color designs rather than heavily printed scarves. They’re easier to style, and you don’t have to worry about outfit clashing. 

I like to justify my purchases by days. For instance, if I want to buy a $100 garment, I automatically think, “Would I wear this one hundred times?” If not, I put it back. 

How to Style a Silk Scarf

You can’t wear a silk scarf with a white tee and a pair of jeans and call it a day. Kerchiefs, whether it’s worn around the neck, bust, or head, require a degree of fashion know-how.

Once you’ve figured out how to wear a silk scarf, it’s time to do a bit of styling. Here are some ways to spice up your final fit. 

  • Sunglasses: This refers to the classic silk scarf and sunnies combo. It’s an easy way to look retro without the added effort. Plus, it helps conceal bad hair days and eye bags. 
  • Statement earrings: If you prefer patterns over solid colors, we suggest wearing statement jewelry to help blend the rest of the outfit together. This includes tassels or studded diamonds. 
  • Barrettes: Despite how tightly you knot your headscarf, there’s always a chance of it rolling off. To prevent this from happening, we suggest securing it with decorative hair clips. 
  • Opt for the ‘substitution’ method: The silk scarf is one of the most versatile accessories out there. It can easily be transformed into a headwrap, neckerchief, waist belt, hair tie, or bandeau top. 
  • The bag accessory: Not a fan of stark black carry-ons? If so, we suggest wrapping a small silk scarf to the handle of your purse. 

Fashion Tips to Avoid With a Silk Scarf

Despite its versatility, there are a few styling no-nos to consider with the silk scarf. There’s nothing more embarrassing (or humbling) than silently deleting your cringy Instagram pics.

For those who want to prevent snickering smirks, unwarranted ogling, and distasteful stares, here are some fashion tips to avoid with a silk scarf. 

  • The complicated blouse: There are hundreds of great tutorials that show you how to wear a silk scarf as a top. Unfortunately, not all of them are winners. If it entails lots of twisting, knotting, and maneuvering, chances are that it won’t be comfortable or practical to wear. 
  • The skinny scarf: We’re not talking about materials here. Instead, we’re referring to silhouette. Basically, you don’t want to wear a super short scarf as a bandeau if it just barely knots together. 
  • Loungewear: The exquisite nature of the silk scarf doesn’t pair well with the lax attitude of athleisure. This includes hoodies, leggings, and sports bras. 
  • The double knot: I get it; you don’t want your expensive silk scarf flying off in the wind. Instead of opting for an ugly double knot, we suggest securing it in place with a safety pin instead. 
  • Chunky stacked necklaces: If you want to wear a neckerchief, it’s best to leave your necklaces behind. Plus, they’re not comfortable when concealed under a knotted scarf. 

How To Take Care of a Silk Scarf

Once you’ve figured out what to wear a silk scarf, it’s time to initiate some proper care and maintenance. This especially bodes true for expensive designs, such as the ones sold by Versace, Hermes, and Acne Studios.

If you intend on wearing them in the future, here are some ways to preserve your coveted silk scarf. 

  • Wash as little as possible: Most silk scarves aren’t designed to be machine-friendly. To maintain its silhouette and color, we suggest leaving it out of your weekly laundry bin. 
  • Throw it in the freezer: To mitigate foul smells, it’s best to chuck your silk scarf in the freezer instead of the washer. This helps to kill any unwanted bacteria. 
  • Hand wash gently with mild detergent: If you really need to clean your scarf, we suggest washing it with soapy cold water. 
  • Air dry: You should never toss your silk scarf in the dryer. This increases the risk of faded colors and loose threads. 
  • Iron on a low setting: Hate wrinkles? If so, you can easily eliminate fine lines and creases with a simple swipe of an iron. 

Best Places to Buy a Silk Scarf

So, where can you buy the best silk scarves? Once you’ve figured out how to wear them, you’re probably looking for some recommendations. Below, we’ll feature some reputable stores to consider for those in the market:

  • Urban Outfitters 
  • Etsy 
  • Nordstrom 
  • Amazon 
  • Moda Operandi 
  • Farfetch 

Final Thoughts

Despite the 10 outfits we featured, we understand if you’re ambivalent about wearing a silk scarf. I’m not going to lie; I often get imposter syndrome when I don a decorative muffler.

It takes a considerable degree of confidence and styling know-how to pull off a silk bandana. But remember, life is too short to care about what other people think. The bright, bold accents often featured in scarves can signify your vibrant attitude, so why not go for it? 

Once you’ve mustered up the courage, we hope that our top 10 list has provided enough inspiration for future outfits. From headwraps to neckerchiefs, we’re confident that you know how to tackle the ‘how to wear a silk scarf’ query without any trouble. 

Scarves, scarves, and more scarves. If you can’t get enough of this versatile fashion accessory, read on:

How To Wear A Square Scarf

How To Wear An Infinity Scarf

How To Wear A Headscarf

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