How to Wear a Silk Scarf

These days, it seems like the silk scarf trend is everywhere. Celebrities, coworkers, neighbors, and even family members are all jumping on the scarf bandwagon, just in time for summer. Of course, we don’t usually think of the hottest months of the year as the prime time for more layers, but it turns out that scarves are the perfect transitional accessory—they can be a wardrobe staple all year long.

In the wintertime, we cozy up under thick wool scarves and chunky knits. Infinity scarves, cowls, and shawls keep us warm. For spring and summer, a silk scarf is the lighter, airy, pretty cousin of that chunky, insulating scarf. Easy to store, affordable to collect, and—contrary to popular belief—simple to work into your everyday wardrobe. Where do I sign up for one of these beauties? 

The biggest question on everyone’s mind when it comes to the summertime scarf is this: How do you wear it? Does it go on your neck, your hair, your bag? And once you’ve decided where to put it…how do you tie a silk scarf? Have no fear: There are several quick and easy options that will have you looking (and feeling!) stylish, breezy, and beautiful in the blink of an eye.

On Your Neck

Woman wearing a black tee and blue silk scarf and standing in front of a white wall

One of the most popular and versatile ways to wear a scarf is around your neck. With silk scarves, you don’t need to worry about getting overheated. The fabric is soft and light. Try pairing a brightly-colored scarf with a neutral outfit, such as a black top or all-white ensemble. When you add a jewel-tone or primary colored scarf to a neutral base, that color will pop! Get ready for compliments.

When it comes to tying a silk scarf, you have several options. If you are on the go, simply drape the scarf around your neck and leave it untied. For a classic look, put the scarf on “backwards” and then cross the ends over each other, bringing them down over your front. Then pull the entire scarf up and loose, so it has a blousy effect. Another popular accessory this season is a silk scarf tied tightly around your neck, with two small ends sticking out and down, almost like a choker necklace or kerchief. For a unique take, try twisting the ends together, tying them in a large bow, or wrapping them around your neck multiple times to create an “infinity” style.

In Your Hair

Close up side view of woman wearing a silk scarf as a headband in front of a white wall

When you’re having a messy hair day, grab a silk scarf and you will instantly feel pulled together. Start with a big messy bun on top, and tie the silk scarf around your head, leaving the knot in back or on top. You can also wear a scarf like a wide headband, tying it behind your ear and letting the ends trail down over one shoulder. Whether your hair is up or down, a scarf can protect it from the elements and make your ‘do look great!

Feeling adventurous? Try braiding a silk scarf into your hair or wrapping it around your bun! Tie it into a messy, low ponytail for a quick addition to your outfit. Silk scarves are a wonderful way to add color coordination or contrast, and they can turn any “bad” hair day into the fun, flirty mode you’ve been searching for.

As A Wrap

Woman wearing a black tee shirt and green silk shawl standing in front of a white wall

When you want a more formal style, you can wrap a silk scarf around your shoulders, letting the tasseled ends hang down. Wear it over a blouse, sleeveless shirt, or a dress. If you want to go “hands-free,” you can tie the ends into a knot right in front and let the rest hang down your shoulders and back.

Bag Accessory

These days, it seems like every accessory comes with its own, well, accessories! Purses and totes have key loops, fuzzy keychains, and other baubles attached. Make a unique look of your own by tying a silk scarf to the place where your purse meets one of its handles. Tied in a loose knot, the scarf can be swapped out for others whenever you want a new color.

This technique works on a cross-body bag, or a satchel. You could even use a tropical-print scarf to jazz up your weekender or other travel bag. Coordinate with your outfit, your wallet, or even a matching silk scarf in your hair. These are simple to swap out for the season, so even if you haven’t bought a new purse, it will feel like an entirely different bag.


When you think of jewelry, you probably think of baubles made of metal, plastic, wire, and other materials. Did you know you can use a silk scarf in many of the same ways you would wear jewelry? Try tying a small silk scarf around one of your wrists. Tied tightly, with the ends in a small bow or tucked in, this makes a sophisticated wrist wrap. You could try the same approach on your ankle or even around your neck like a choker. 

Do you like chunky statement necklaces? Next time you’re feeling inventive, try knotting or braiding a thin silk scarf into a long necklace. A color-blocked print works especially well when transforming a silk scarf into jewelry. 


4 silk scarves tied to a wooden pallet

Tired of the same old leather or vegan leather belts? If you’re interested in an original style, tie a silk scarf around your upper waist. A scarf can be worn as a belt with dresses, skirts, and even long tops. Just be sure to tuck the ends into the scarf in the back, and pull the sides out so that the full pattern or color is displayed. You can adjust the “belt” to make it as wide or narrow as you please.

If you want to incorporate one of those leather belts you own, try draping a silk scarf around your neck, on top of a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt. Then pull both sides out until they are as wide as possible, covering your chest, stomach, and waist. Over the scarf, fasten a belt around your upper waist. This creates a layered outfit, almost like a vest or poncho.