101 Ideas for How to Use Scarves in Your Outfits


Outfit idea from Badass Baby Boomer

My signature piece is the scarf.  I love to add a scarf to what I am wearing because it is the simplest layering piece and an accessory to add color and tie an outfit together (pun not intended :D).  Age doesn’t matter.  Scarves are a basic accessory that anyone can use any way you choose!

I usually just let the ends hang free in front, which adds a vertical line and a little coverage.  Then, I wrap it around my throat if I get chilled.  Or throw it over one shoulder if I get too warm.  Pashminas and shawls are even better because then I can open them up and wrap them around me for warmth when needed.  They can also be worn unfolded and draped around the shoulders like a poncho, which fits in with the trend.  You can throw one side over your shoulder like a cape and pin it; or belt it poncho-style; or belt it over the free-hanging ends in front, under or over your coat.  There are infinite possibilities!

A coworker told me that if she saw me walking down the hall past her at work and I wasn’t wearing a scarf, she wouldn’t know it was me.  She said she would walk right past me before turning around and say, “Hey, that wasn’t Angie, wasn’t it?!”

me in shawl 3
Here I am in a nice warm shawl on an early Fall day

Basic Ways to Wrap and Tie Scarves

I am not adept at folding scarves.  There’s no need to be neat; just be creative!  This will not be a tutorial on how to fold scarves.  I am sticking with my specialty:  outfit combinations, with scarves as an accessory.  😉  Later, I will try to collect tutorials to share with you on the many ways to tie scarves.

However, there are various basic ways to wrap and tie scarves that are quite easy:

  • European style is the easiest way to tie on a scarf.  Even I can do it!  Lol.  You’ll never see a European who doesn’t wear her scarf this way:  the looped scarf.  To do:  Fold a muffler-shaped scarf in half, place around your neck so the looped part is in front, and insert the ends through the loop.  Use over a sweater and pants, over your coat, etc.  This looks especially good with big earrings and/or your hair up.
  • You may use an oblong scarf as a long tie (men’s style).  Or tuck a silk scarf under the collar of a dress shirt just like a men’s tie and let it hang loose.
  • When using thinner, summery scarves, knotting them at the ends makes them more manageable.
  • On top of a turtleneck, place an oblong scarf around your shoulders.  Let the ends dangle in front; throw one end over a shoulder; or flip the ends over each other in the front.  If you need to fasten it in place, you can use a brooch.
  • Using a scarf that’s long and on the thinner side, lightly wrap the scarf around your neck and tie two knots four inches from the end.
  • With a v-neck sweater, a collared blouse with two buttons open, or a round-neck blouse:  Fold a small, square, silk scarf on the bias, wrap around your neck, and tie in a knot.
  • To spice up a yoga pants and t-shirt ensemble, or with a v-neck t-shirt:  Drape a scarf around your neck and tie it in a basic knot — like the first step in tying a bow — that hits just above your bra cups.  Rearrange the tails a little so that they fall one in front of the other.
  • Under a buttoned-up blazer:  loop a scarf around your neck, bring both ends in front and knot them as above, letting the tails hang out of the hem.
  • With a business suit or elegant pant/skirt ensemble, add an oblong scarf:  Fold the scarf twice to make an “S” fold.  Drape it around your neck so that the ends hang down the back.  Cross the ends in back and bring them back to the front.  Loop one end around the other in front and pull the ends around to the back once more.  Knot at the back of your neck and tuck any remaining length down the back of the blouse beneath the collar.  *This style looks best with a blouse bearing a high collar.

When you want to wear pieces that are different colors, add a scarf the has each of the colors in it to pull the separate colors into one cohesive design.  Use the ideas below as inspiration, substituting details with what you have.  These are suggestions to guide you in creating your own outfits.  Deviate as needed. 

Cold-weather Scarves

  • If it’s cool outside, add a blanket shawl over skinny jeans and tall boots or biker boots.
  • Add a long knit scarf around neck with a t-shirt or two, or a hoodie, or a sweater.
  • Add a beautiful, lush scarf over a black leather jacket and urban accessories. You may use leopard, colored leopard, gold-fringed, Hermes-style, Indian, pastel-blend, etc…or just wrap a simple, solid scarf.

black leather jacket and scarf

  • Match a knit scarf to a warm jacket in the winter.  To brighten winter doldrums, wear a brightly-colored scarf with your outfit or your coat.
  • Add a beige scarf or shawl to a navy coat.
  • Add a plaid cashmere scarf to a suede shirt.  Wear any bottoms, such as a pair of jeans.
  • In the winter, yellow or another bright color will brighten your face and mood.
  • Add a boa to a trench coat.
  • A black turtleneck or crew-neck sweater + skinny tan corduroys.  Add flat tan boots + a leopard jacket + a scarf around the turtleneck or crew-neck.
  • With a neutral sweater and skirt, add a floral-print scarf wrapped infinity-style over a long pendant with a color that’s in the scarf.  (Tie the ends of the scarf together, and then loop the circle of scarf over your head once or twice with the knot in back.)  You may want to add multiple bangles on each wrist + flat boots.
  • Boho:  A cute shawl or cardigan over a ruffled top in a complementary color + any bottoms.
ombre collar
Ombre Collar from Anthropologie

Faux Fur Scarves

Anything in this article that says “fur” really means “faux fur” to preserve our dwindling animal population.

  1. A fur collar makes any outfit look cool.
  2. Add a black fur scarf to a black leather jacket.
  3. Add a fur scarf over a cardigan, blazer or quilted vest.
  4. Wear a blond fur scarf with a cream boyfriend cardigan, or a black fur scarf as the collar of a black sweater.
  5. Wear a fur scarf around your coat or blazer collar, and add a fedora and sunglasses.
  6. Wear a fur scarf as a collar with your black leather jacket, army jacket, trench coat.
  7. Add a fur scarf to a tweed coat or tweed blazer.
  8. A fur scarf will cover a bare neckline for evening, or for work over a blazer during the day.
  9. Try a black fur scarf over the collar of a black trench, and belt a black shawl over the outfit.
  10. Match a fur scarf to a t-shirt.

Multiple Scarves Together

  1. You can twist two scarves of complementary colors together, such as copper and burnt orange.
  2. Or just wear two different color scarves at the same time, such as olive green and pink, or blue and green.
  3. Try wearing a scarf with a matching color necklace or one of the same tone.
  4. Twist three different-colored square scarves separately, then together.  Loop around your neck with the ends in front.
  5. Hold two complementary scarves together lengthwise, twist them a few times, wrap them around your neck and tuck the ends for a colorful scarf variation.  Pair a printed and solid scarf for optimal results.  Great for cooler occasions when extra warmth at the neck is needed.
MK scarf
MICHAEL Michael Kors scarf from Macy’s

Animal-print Scarves

  1. A leopard-print scarf will add chutzpah to any tired outfit.
  2. Wear a leopard scarf with neutrals such as solid black.  Keep accessories simple, such as stud earrings.
  3. Add a leopard-print scarf to a black blazer.
  4. A leopard scarf goes well with a gray outfit.
  5. Wear leopard-print with navy blue.
  6. Pair a leopard scarf with bold colors such as red, yellow, purple, but make sure clothing is simple and solid-colored.
  7. Tie an animal-print scarf above your cleavage.
  8.  Pearls add a classy twist and offset the “too sexy” look of a leopard print.
  9. If your neck and chest are the main focus of your outfit with the leopard scarf, add spice with a beaded or multiple chain necklace.
  10. Add a leopard scarf to a black or brown dress.
  11. Shorter silk scarves in animal, snake and abstract prints make the perfect finishing touch to a simple wrap dress.
  12. Add an animal-print scarf to a safari shirt.
  13. Add a leopard scarf to a red top + skinny jeans or black pants + leopard-print flats.
  14. Add a leopard scarf to a black turtleneck + dark jeans + leopard-print flats.
  15. Black pants + black top + leopard-print flats.  Add a leopard scarf.
eileen fisher
Eileen Fisher Fringe Dot Scarf from Bloomingdales.com

Polka-dot Scarves

  • For a classic look, pair a polka-dot scarf with a trench coat.
  • Use a black and white polka-dot scarf inside the neck of a black leather trench.
  • For a quirky look, wear a polka-dot scarf with your army jacket.
  • Wear a polka-dot scarf with a tailored blazer, a motorcycle jacket, a button-down shirt, or a jewel-neck top.
lulu skinny scarf
That’s a Wrap Black Print Skinny Scarf from Lulus

Skinny Scarves

  • A skinny scarf may be wrapped once around your neck with the ends in front, or throw over one shoulder for one end in front and one end in back.  It’s sort of like a choker.
  • You can dress up any look with a skinny metallic scarf, such as black & gold.
  • Add a black & gold skinny scarf to a sheer black top.
  • Add a long, thin scarf wrapped around neck with a boho top.
  • A tunic + slim-cut jeans or jeggings + heeled ankle boots.  Add a skinny scarf.
  • Wrap a long, thin scarf around your neck a few times with a deep-v or low-cut sweater + a short skirt and boots (short, fleecy ones or even snow boots).  This looks good with earrings and your hair up.
necklace scarf
Necklace Scarf




Metallic Scarves

  1. Metallic scarves make everything look more festive.
  2. Add a scarf with some subtle sparkle to lend an elegant rock ‘n roll vibe to any outfit.
  3. Spring/Summer:  A metallic scarf can make neutral-color summer linens more festive.
  4. Holiday:  During the holidays, a metallic scarf can make your business outfit more festive, as well as take an outfit from day to evening.
  5. Holiday:  A velvet dress + a metallic scarf around neck with ends in front.  Add tights toned to the dress + footwear of choice.

lace scarf

Lace Scarves

  1. Tie a lace scarf around the neck of a blouse.
  2. Match a lace scarf to a sweater.
  3. A lace scarf can lend a romantic touch to a suit.
Blanket scarf with a black outfit – from Glam Radar

Scarves as Belts

  • Try tying a scarf as a belt through the loops of your blue jeans.  A bright, printed scarf will bring color to your outfit.
  • Wrap a scarf around your waist, over your top, as a belt.  You may even add another belt over the scarf.
  • Try tying a scarf or sarong around the middle of a sheath dress, as a belt or  a skirt layer.
  • Tie the waist of a t-shirt dress with a pretty scarf.  You can wear the scarf point at your back and short-knot the scarf in front.
A wrap that turns into a cloak, cape, shawl, dress or skirt – from Gaelsong

 More Ways to Wear Scarves

  • Add a statement pin to a scarf.  Try wrapping the scarf around your neck, tuck the ends, and pin through each layer to hold the scarf in place.
  • Long swaths of soft cotton scarves covered in Southwestern designs, big paisley prints or dip-dyed colors make a sweater and jeans combo into something suddenly chic.
  • Add a wispy scarf over structured shapes (like a blazer, etc.).  You may loop the scarf around loosely and let both ends hang in front.
  • Add a scarf to a white tee + jeans to give the basics color and style.
  • Add a scarf or brooch to a jacket or blazer.
  • With a plain white t-shirt or jean jacket, wear a brightly patterned scarf.
  • With a white shirt, add an oblong bright scarf (such as a dip-dye or tie-dye scarf).  Roll the sleeves.
  • To a top and pants, add a scarf (either print or solid) with the same color as the top.
  • Add a colorful, lightweight scarf to a basic jeans and tee combo.
  • Wear your favorite scarf with jeans, a white tee and a black blazer.
  • To put a cool twist on a classic casual outfit, tuck your jeans into tall boots and slip on a printed scarf.
  • Wear a large, thin, square scarf bandit-style (long in front and tied loosely around neck) over a collarless top, like a long-sleeved t-shirt.
  • Add a silk statement scarf to a boyfriend cardigan.  Wear anything you want underneath, maybe a t-shirt and jeans.
  • Knot a matching or contrasting scarf around your neck to spice up a plain sweater.

    A scarf over turtleneck
  • A pashmina + the same color sweater or t-shirt + any bottoms.
  • A tunic + skinny jeans + over-the-knee boots.  You may also add a vest and a big ring.  Add a woolly scarf around your neck.  Try folding it like an infinity scarf.
  • A tunic t-shirt over a slip dress + a big scarf looped around your neck.  Add tall boots + bracelets + rings.
  • A black blazer + a longer ivory top over skinny jeans.  Add a voluminous chiffon scarf wrapped around with the ends tied in front + heeled booties + sunglasses, if sunny.
  • A tunic sweater + matching color skinnies + any slip-on sneakers.  Add a scarf toned to the color of your sweater and pants, and jewelry of your choice.
  • An oversize sweater + skinny blue jeans or jeggings + flat ankle boots.  Add a printed scarf + hoop earrings and maybe a beaded watch.
  • Layer a graphic scarf over a graphic tee (tie a square scarf around once and knot two corners in front over the other two corners).  Add earrings.
  • A white top + white pants + a black duster cardigan.  Add a silky scarf with black and white in the print.
  • A blue striped shirt + blue jeans.  You may add a red jacket or coat + an ivory shawl over one shoulder + nude pumps.
  • An ivory suit + a black blouse.  Add flat black boots + a silky floral scarf (twist loosely around neck, loop or tie loosely in front, let ends hang down in front on sides).  Add sunglasses if sunny.
  • A bell-sleeved top + flared jeans.  Add a scarf + ankle boots.
  • A long, white camisole or white tunic tank or tee + velvet leggings + a tunic shirt as jacket.  You may neatly tie a bandanna around your neck as a choker (tie it in back).  Add biker boots and a big ring.
  • A short, black dress + a red or gray cardigan + black leggings.  Add black ballet flats + a belt + a scarf twisted around your neck.
  • Add a peach scarf to gray clothing.
  • With a deep-v sweater, wrap a matching color or bright or contrasting color scarf at the neck to “fill” the neckline.  The trick is to keep it from looking bulky; twist it before you wrap it around.
  • “Fill” the neckline of a crew-neck sweater by wrapping a scarf at your neck.  Twist it before you wrap it around.  Slide a gold or bead necklace underneath so just a bit peeks through.
  • Combine a tie-dye or patterned scarf with coordinating solids.
  • Add a green cashmere scarf to a neutral-color sweater outfit.  (Green goes with everything.)
  • With a sweater that’s not your best color, try pinning a pretty brooch to overlap a similar tone or a bright or dark color scarf at your neck.  You may slide a gold or bead necklace underneath the scarf so that just a bit of gold peeks through between the scarf and your neckline.
  • With a t-shirt, wrap and twist a short cotton scarf at the neck.
  • Add a yellow scarf to a purple top, or a purple scarf to a yellow top.
  • Add a boa to an evening dress.
  • A turquoise tank or top + a lightweight coral scarf – OR – a coral tank or top + a lightweight turquoise scarf.
  • Get cozy in a sweater and a waffle-knit scarf:
waffle knit
Kennedy Waffle Knit Scarf from Free People

How do you style your scarves?  Have I given you some new ideas?  Please let us know in the comments below…and feel free to share with your friends!

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6 thoughts on “101 Ideas for How to Use Scarves in Your Outfits

  1. Loved all the ideas of using scarfs. I live in so ga where is is hot most all the time and have a hard time with added weight around my neck . It can be so frustrating when I want to add color.

    1. Hi, Patricia! I get what you’re saying, because I couldn’t stand adding more material to my summer outfits when the heat and humidity were just too high. What you can do, though, to add a pop of color is to tie a scarf to your handbag or tote. Another thing I do during oppressively hot weather is tie a cotton scarf around my head and put my hair up. It keeps my skin dry and comfortable and keeps the hair out of my face and from blowing in the wind. Let me know if these ideas are helpful! Best, Angie

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