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Asking for a Friend: How to Wear a Scarf Now

“Asking for a Friend” is our advice series that seeks to solve all manner of fashion predicaments with the help of our smart and stylish Nordstrom colleagues. 

Scarves, so pretty. So elegant. So confounding. Although this simple strip of fabric is often lauded as an instant outfit upgrade, wearing a scarf is an acquired skill. To that end, we spoke with our Styling Director, Ruth Basloe, on the best ways to wear one now.

How to Wear Scarves

Images by Kristin Yamada

The question: How to wear a scarf without looking like our bubbies? More to the point, how and where do you tie them?

The advice giver: Nordstrom Styling Director Ruth Basloe

The solution: “The freshest way to wear them right now is in place of another type of accessory, so as a necklace, bracelet or belt,” says Ruth. “I’m glad to see scarves having a moment as they come in handy when I can’t be bothered to think about my outfit. I just grab a basic white shirt and pants, and a scarf instantly adds a level of sophistication.”

Below, we’ve got it all tied up for you: some photo inspiration, guidance from Ruth, plus a video that shows ways to wrap a scarf and some shopping links.

“With the small silk square, the newest way to wear it is in place of jewelry,” says Ruth. “With chokers having had a moment, it is no surprise we are seeing silk squares folded and wrapped around the neck like a wide choker.”

How to wear a scarf

“They can also be rolled instead of wrapped and tied to make a circle that rests on the collarbone like a necklace,” says Ruth. Another approach we’ve seen on the runway and in the street has been to braid several scarves together for a multi-strand creation.

How to Wear Scarves Now

“My favorite approach is wrapped around the wrist as a cuff,” Ruth shares.

How to Wear Scarves Now

How to Wear Scarves Now

“While we are still seeing long skinny scarves worn around the neck, they can also provide a sophisticated alternative to a belt,” says Ruth. “The corset trend has brought back a focus on the waist so try wearing a scarf over a shirt like an obi. Just center in the front, cross in the back and wrap around to tie in the front.”

How to Wear Scarves Now

“I have always loved the contrast of a silky scarf worn through the belt loops of distressed denim,” shares Ruth. “I often pack one for a beach vacation to add a chic element to my uniform of cutoffs and a tee.”

How to Wear Scarves Now

As for what type of scarves to look for when you’re shopping, there are endless artful options by almost every design house. “It can be tricky to wrap and tie bigger scarves just right,” Ruth sympathizes. “Fortunately, long skinny styles and smaller square scarves are trending now—and much less challenging.”

Our editors’ picks:

kate spade new york guitar strap skinny silk scarf | Christian Lacroix Jardin Centaure square silk scarf | Gucci GG UFO foulard scarf

SHOP: all scarves

Watch: How to Tie a Scarf

—Britt Burritt