How to Wear a Scarf All Year-Round

Lim’s ethos around lightweight scarves, on the other hand, is to embrace versatility. A light scarf can be folded in half and used as a top, or rolled into a headband. Her favorite trick, however, is the scarf-as-reusable-giftwrap. Search “furoshiki” on YouTube for infinite tutorials, per her suggestion.

Tie a scarf as a skirt in Vegas, per Hurst’s suggestion. Use it as a shoulder strap for a beat up Louis Vuitton Speedy. Wrap a scarf around your wrist. Test fate and spin a scarf into a halter top. There’s no shortage of styling devices for this time-honored accessory. Most importantly, the answer to “how to wear a scarf” is “not too seriously.” 


A cold weather styling option from Kate Lindello

Kate Lindello

A scarf can also double as gift-wrap…

Kelsey Lim

Pulling off a scarf requires a certain nonchalance. Which is ironic, because the answer to the question “how to wear a scarf?” is a complicated one–the effect should be laissez-faire, easy-breezy, but getting to that look isn’t as simple as twirling some fabric around your neck and heading out the door. In fact, it’s hard to think of an accessory with equal power to be either outfit-making and outfit-breaking, and which side of the line you land on is all about the styling.

Kelsey Lim demonstrates how to replace a hat with a scarf. 

Kelsey Lim

A small silk scarf can with a black slip. 

Courtesy of Heather Hurst

Going for an oversized scarf leaves less margin of error. Plus, on an elemental level, it’s warmer. Brands like Acne, Rodebjer, and Rachel Comey often offer scarves of this size. Style them with a blazer to skip a coat, or copy Kelsey Lim, founder of Able Objects, by piling them high. Admitting she’s “extremely headwear-averse,” Lim says that scarves permit her to remain hat-free. “My strategy for not losing my ears to frostbite in the winter is to wrap the full width of a scarf behind and over my head like a hood, then secure it with one last loop around the neck and over the shoulder.”

How to wear a light-weight scarf to dress up jeans and a t-shirt. 

Courtesy of Heather Hurst

Heather Hurst, personal style expert and curator, guesses that the resurgence of scarves might have to do with that versatility. It’s a shirt! It’s a necktie! It’s super-scarf! “Scarves are vehicles for monochromatic layering, bold patterns, and playing with scale and texture, and you’re not limited to using the piece only for its intended purpose, the way you would with say, a “statement” top,” she offers. Hurst appreciates the timelessness of classic scarf-tying, but nevertheless suggests throwing out images of Bunny Macdougal and Grace Kelly and instead, come up with your own variations.

Unafraid of becoming a walking cocoon, Lindello often pairs a blanket scarf and a wool sweater to forgo a jacket. Her favorites come from a brand called Scarf Shop, another product of Minnesota. “Their scarves are all kettle-dyed in their Minneapolis studio, and they come in an array of colors, ranging from fuchsia to fog gray,” Lindello details. Lighter options, like their large wool cloud scarf, allow for maximum layering, minus the bulk.

Now, a scarf can just be practical, an agent against the cold. For Kate Lindello, founder of Noihsaf, necessity is the mother of all invention; she’s all-in on scarves because she lives in frigid Northern Minnesota. As with her taste in clothing, Lindello leans toward natural fibers for her scarves: cotton for summer and wool for winter. A good blanket scarf should be long, wide, and full of texture, according to this winter expert.

Or as a shirt. 

Kelsey Lim