Stylish Ways to Tie a Scarf for Men and Complete Your Look
Baby, it’s cold outside! As men with sartorial flair already know, the chilly weather is a perfect excuse to amp up your scarf style. For many men, however, the idea of adding a scarf to their daily wardrobe can be surprisingly intimidating. What scarf knots are right to use? What scarf styles for men are in? How do you avoid looking clumsy? Luckily, you have the expert tailors from Oliver Wicks to help. Today, we will teach you how to wear men’s scarves, choose the right one for your coat and suit, and ensure that you put your best foot forward, even when it’s cold and dreary.
Finding the Right Scarf
Before we look at how to tie men’s scarves, let’s find the right scarf for you. Obviously, as a focal point and accessory in your wardrobe, a scarf is a great way to express some personal flair while remaining elegantly dressed. When it comes to colors and patterns, the world is your oyster. However, just like Oliver Wicks believes in “the fit that suits you,” you should stick with colors and patterns that match both your skin tone and hair, as well as the outfit you are wearing it with.
Some basic tinkering with the color wheel can help you find colors that will seamlessly blend with your outfit. For example, a deep green scarf will suit a maroon suit, or a copper scarf will go with a crisp navy suit.
If you’re wearing a suit, use that as the base color to build from, and keep the color consistent with your tie, too—think of a lighter or darker shade. For scarves with coats, or a scarf with a blazer and contrasting pants, focus on the coat/blazer color or use a similar shade to the pants to create contrast—for example, a camel scarf on a dark blazer with beige chinos. And if you’re wearing woolens over a shirt, consider the shirt, but be most influenced by the sweater or vest.
Complementary colors are best, but for “busy” outfits, analogous shades can help keep things elegant. A subtle pattern can be versatile and add visual interest, but we’d err on the side of darker, somber colors and minimal patterns, self-patterns, or plain colors for business and formal events or cocktails. You can add more colorful expressions for semi-formal weddings or business casual.
However, not all scarves are created equally. You’ll find a range of lengths, widths, and fabrics. Consider length and width carefully if you have a specific scarf knot in mind. Thinner, lighter fabrics, like silk, cashmere, mohair, and fine wool, will keep you warm while remaining slim and neat, so they’re great for evening events, formal weddings, formal dining—any environment where you’ll mostly be inside but want to stay warm getting there and look seasonal. Thick or chunky scarves look more appropriate with coats/winter outerwear and heavier woolens, and anywhere you’ll be outdoors in inclement weather, but can project a casual air.
If you keep these basics in mind, you can have a lot of fun with your scarves, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Scarf Wearing Tips
So, when can you wear a scarf, and when should you not? Firstly, seasonality comes into play here. Scarves are fantastic for winter months and add versatility to your transitional season looks, but they would look ridiculous at a beach wedding. If you like the idea of flair at your neck in warmer months, look to items like an ascot or cravat instead.
Scarves With Suits
Lighter scarves are great with suits—but you don’t want to create too much business at the neck, given your tie. So, keep them loose and open rather than elaborately knotted. Typically, you should tuck the ends under the jacket to stay smart and presentable, so choose a light fabric. We also suggest opting for high-class fabrics here—think silks and cashmere—to retain the overall elegance of the suit, especially custom suits you have invested in. Consider the suit type, too—a fussier double-breasted suit, for example, needs a simpler scarf to complement it.
Coats and Jackets or Blazers
The same goes for coats and jackets—if you have a tie, spread your scarf and keep it simple and casual. If your look is tie-less, bring in a knot for visual interest. This is a less formal look than your suit, so your fabric choice can go either way, depending on the event and your choice. A long, chunky woolen scarf flowing with a peacoat or trench coat looks classic, while a neatly knotted silk or cashmere scarf elevates you a little.
Dressing Up Casuals
A smart scarf can improve a jean-based look significantly. Chunkier scarves add the right casual vibe. Keep the fancier knots for fancier outfits, and opt for a simple scarf knot, like the Parisian Loop. This could even be your jean’s ticket to smart-casual land for daytime coffee dates or simply looking fancy about town.
Scarves and Hoodies
We’re betting you weren't expecting to see hoodies in an Oliver Wicks article, right? Obviously, this isn’t the moment to go full-on thug life, but a simple, self-colored, elegant hoody can look surprisingly good with the right accessories. It will also keep you toasty without drawing the hood, which can look low-key and not very elegant. We think that this is a nice playground for bold patterns and chunkier scarves.
Are Two Ever Better?
Did you know that some looks will allow for two scarves? This is typically reserved for cases such as a city businessman who has to traverse inclement weather on the way to the boardroom. He’d look horribly underdressed on the streets of a bitter London or New York winter in his suit and a light business-appropriate silk scarf—but ridiculous in the boardroom with a chunky woolen knit. An elegant man in this sort of pickle would typically opt for an ultra-light scarf tucked neatly into his suit and then throw a warmer, chunkier scarf and a good coat over the ensemble to get him there. Either use a chunky scarf knot to completely hide the lighter scarf or leave the heavier scarf open under the coat's lapels.
How to Tie a Scarf
Now that you have all the know-how to choose a scarf and wear it confidently, let’s look at tying one like a pro. While you can always opt to simply wrap it around your neck, knowing how to tie a scarf adds another layer of elegance and versatility and ensures that you’re always the snappiest dresser around.
Of course, these are just some scarf wrap ideas—there are plenty more out there for you to explore. However, with these under your belt (or around your neck), you will always look fantastic.
If you recognize the name from the world of tie knots and cravats, you’re right on track! Obviously, you will never pull a scarf as tightly as you would a necktie, but you can leverage many of the same knot ideas to add visual interest to your winter wardrobe. The Ascot, in particular, has a timeless elegance that’s hard to beat. This makes this scarf knot perfect for formal occasions, but you can wear it anywhere.
- Drape the scarf over your neck, with approximately ⅔ of the length on one side
- Pull the longer length over the short length and wrap it around
- Depending on your scarf, you can repeat this twice
- Pull it up and through at the neck, and adjust for comfort
- Fluff it out as you would a tie, and tuck it neatly into your woolens or shirt
Here’s a video of how to wrap your scarf this way—watch from 01:45 for the demonstration.
The Parisian Knot
Add some European elegance to your outfit in seconds with this simple, classic, and easy-to-use scarf knot.
- Make a loop of your scarf, holding both loose ends together at one side
- Place the looped scarf over your head
- Draw the loose ends through the loop end of the scarf
- You’re done!
This is very simple, and you’ll see it on almost every man with a scarf you meet. Here’s a video to help if you need it:
Over the Shoulder
This scarf knot couldn’t be easier. If you have a flair for the dramatic, it makes for a great sweeping exit, too!
- Simply align one end of the scarf with where you would like it to hang
- Keep the tail there, and gather the rest
- Draw it up your lapel and around your neck
- Fling the remainder over your shoulder to hang down your back
This does look best with long scarves, so there’s a nice length on both sides of the body, and it doesn’t slip loose. If you’ve ever wanted to try a man’s brooch, this is also a great style to use.
You know what they say—fake it ‘til you make it! This is a great (and easy) scarf knot to have in your bag of tricks. It’s sometimes called the pull-through knot. Push the loop up to your neck for warmth and visual interest, or tie it lower for casual elegance in a long coat or a chunky knit scarf. It’s especially great for ultra-long scarves.
- Drape the scarf over your neck with one side longer
- Bring this side up and around in a loop to tie a loose loop
- Don’t pull it tight!
- Draw the other side through the loop
- The scarf will appear knotted thanks to the faux loop
Here’s a great scarf video that shows this one.
Reverse Drape Knot
This is a fantastic choice to fill the neckline of your tie-less winter look or to keep your neck ultra-warm in cold weather. It looks fantastic tucked into a winter coat with a bulky scarf, but it can work just as well without a coat under woolens if you’d rather not have the ends of your scarf hanging free.
- Place the scarf around your neck with about ⅓ on one side
- You may need to experiment with this a little to get the right proportions
- Now, loop the longer side around your neck completely, so it ends on the side it started
- You should have a full circular “collar” from the scarf
- Now, tuck the originally longer end into that neck loop and under your coat, jacket, or woolens
- Repeat with the other side
- You should have a neat, circular scarf around your neck with the ends out of sight
This one is easier to visualize than describe, so try this video from 02:20 to see it.
Yes, it’s another tie knot! As we mentioned, many of the simpler tie knots work well for scarves, too.
- Start similarly to the Parisian knot—with the tie looped end to end
- Place it over your neck
- Lift one of the loose ends and pull it through the loop
- Twist the loop once it’s below this
- Pop the other end through the “new” loop
- Adjust to suit
Here’s a great video to see it in action (presented by a lady, as it’s a unisex scarf knot).
The best way to tie a scarf is a way that you can do quickly and confidently. If that means something that you need to practice at home, then practice at home! You run the risk of looking a bit silly otherwise, if you’re fumbling over your scarf having just nailed your presentation in a business meeting.
Now you know how to wear a scarf, choose one to suit your outfit and activities, and some creative ways to tie it. Now comes the best part—shopping for a scarf you’ll love from a great suit brand! You’ll soon find men’s scarves to be a staple of your winter and transitional season wardrobes—and look great wearing one, too.
If you’re eyeing up a fantastic deal on the Oliver Wicks website, we’re always happy to help you find your perfect match, so don’t be afraid to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any assistance you may need.
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