The many ways to wear a scarf

If your understanding of scarfing etiquette is a little woolly, we’re here to ensure you don’t get tied up in knots

As the winter weather approaches fast, we’re finding ourselves swapping our summer accessories for autumn. But, even though we’re waving goodbye to the caps and shelving our sunglasses for another year, the colder months bring an opportunity for just as much style and swagger. And, although gloves and woolly hats are a little low on cool, the scarf hold untold rakish potential.

So, if your understanding of scarfing etiquette is a little woolly, we’re here to ensure you don’t get tied up in knots. From the loop-and-through to the over-the-shoulder, these are the only five knots and ways to wear that you’ll ever need to make your scarf game your A game all autumn.

The high-and-tight

If you’re a chunky-knit scarf man, then skip this one. High-and-tight, as the name suggests, requires a smaller scarf to pull off – something lightweight or cashmere in material and thin enough to be pulled tight around the neck. To achieve this look, drape your scarf around your neck, with one end significantly longer than the other. Then, wrap the longer end around your neck once, until both ends are the same length. Simple, but sophisticated.

This is a wear that works with summer scarves, too. But if you’ve got a smaller winter scarf, it can be a great way to get maximum coverage with minimal material. Best worn under a coat, or when you’re genuinely cold, the high-and-tight is one of the warmest ways to tie a scarf.

The loop-and-through

Immortalised by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes, the simple loop-and-through is exactly what it says on the tin. Gather your two scarf ends together to create a big loop, sling this around your neck and then pull the ends through the loop and tighten as much as you want. Easy, and the second simplest scarf tie after just draping it limply around your neck.

And this tie isn’t just for consulting detectives. Yes, Cumberbatch may tie his scarf this way for dramatic effect, a quick technique as he’s dashing out of the door to solve any number of crimes, but we’d recommend it for a casual workplace, or smart casual outfit. There’s not too much thought put into it, but some effort has been made.

The cross-and-tuck

Also known as the formal way to tie a scarf, the cross-and-tuck is best worn with a suit. Rather than the high-and-tight, which is a practical tie, and a way to keep you warm, the cross-and-tuck is more likely to be introduced in an outfit for aesthetic reasons, dropping a splash of colour into what may otherwise be a monotone get up.

To achieve this look, take your suit jacket off and drape the scarf around your neck. Next, cross the two ends, put your jacket back on, and tuck these ends below your buttons. This will afford you a look that is both sleek and stylish, not jeopardising your formalwear, and giving you a little extra warmth.

The under-and-over

One of the most common ways to tie a scarf, the under-and-over, is a lot like tying a tie. You end up with a loop around your neck, and two blades hanging down your front and, like a tie, the effect is reasonably formal and versatile. If you know how to tie a cravat, you’re already there, but for those of you who don’t go in for such decadent neckwear on a daily basis, read on.

Drape the scarf around your neck, with equal length on both sides. Next, cross one end over and then under the other, and tighten as you would a tie. Given the ease with which this style can be tightened, it is the most versatile scarf style – but doesn’t work too well with chunkier knits.

The over-the-shoulder

Impractical, not warm at all, but boy does it look cool, the over-the-shoulder is by far the most debonair way to style a scarf. Simply drape it around your neck, and fling one end over your opposite shoulder, this jaunty wear is so devil-may-care that you can wear it with anything at all, from black tie to a simple t-shirt. But beware, as there is no knot here, it can easily come undone – so not one for a windy day.

Further Reading