6 Ways to Tie a Scarf: How to Wear it Stylishly Video and step-by-step diagrams, because yeah, it's that important

bearded man wearing a scarf

[Feature image by Josh Stewart]

Worn masterfully, the scarf is a man’s front-line defense against the elements.

Scarves bring charm and dimension to your ensemble, and they are a trustee in frigid winters, rainy weather, windy days at the beach, or whenever you’re ducking in and out of frost air-conditioned buildings.

Six of our favorite scarf-knotting styles:

We’ve illustrated six of our favorites in this video, and we’ve provided diagrams below–because yes, it’s that important to master this garment.

Shop: Men’s Scarves (opens in new window)

In More Detail, How to Tie A Scarf:

Scarf Knot Style: The City Slicker

A simple, no-nonsense knot that keeps your scarf neat and fuss-free.

how to tie a scarf - The City Slicker scarf knot

  • Fold the scarf in half lengthwise and wrap it around your neck
  • Pull the loose ends through the loop of the fold.

The City Slicker knot is both functional and easy to adjust while on the move. This classic knot also keeps your scarf on, and in place. This is especially important if you ride a bike, drive a motorcycle, or prefer to ride with the windows down. The City Slicker knot is even perfect for summer scarves. It adds a clean, put-together element to your ensemble.

Scarf Knot Style: The Sophisticate

This knot strikes a splendid balance between thoughtfully put-together and comfortably indifferent.

how to tie a scarf - The Sophisticate scarf knot

  • Drape the scarf around your neck, leaving one end shorter than the other
  • Wrap the longer end loosely around your neck once, twice if you want a chunkier look or need more bundling.
  • Leaving one end slightly longer than the other gives a more natural and spontaneous look, but the length can be adjusted to your preference.

The Sophisticate works well with winter outerwear.

This is perhaps the best way to wear a lightweight linen scarf in the summer: with T-shirt/blazer or T-shirt/cardigan ensemble, your lightweight scarf will add a slight buffer when that onshore breeze whips-up, or that cafe AC is a tad too frosty.

Scarf Knot Style: The Ivy-Leaguer

The first-choice for formalwear and whenever you’d like to add an element of color.

how to tie a scarf - The Ivy Leaguer scarf knot
There are two variations:

  • The scarf may be worn draped over the shoulder (Step 1)
  • Or tucked into a buttoned jacket/blazer (Step 3)

Go with this style when sporting an opera scarf over a tuxedo or dinner jacket. This style is contingent upon the length of the scarf. If the ends of the scarf extend below the bottom of your jacket, think carefully about whether the ensuing look is appropriate. When wearing a topcoat (opens in new window), we do not recommend wearing a scarf under the lapels–a common but unfortunate arrangement. With topcoats and outerwear, either tuck the scarf inside (as in Step 3) or opt for another style of knot.

Scarf Knot Style: The Connoisseur

The Connoisseur knot is reminiscent of the knot used for an ascot (opens in new window).

how to tie a scarf: The Connoisseur

  • Lay the scarf around your neck, such that both ends are parallel in the front
  • Bring one end over and then under the other end
  • Drape the front end over the back, adjusting the length to your liking.
  • This style may be worn loose and on the outside of your ensemble (Step 4), or slightly snugged-up and tucked into a sports coat or blazer.

If one is wearing it snug-and-inside (Step 5), silk scarves work best. Because this is a secure knot, The Connoisseur is another appropriate choice for those on the saddle of a two-wheeler or in an open-top vehicle. For classic roadsters, go Connoisseur. Hardtop off the Jeep? See below.

Scarf Knot Style: The Jet Setter

This style maximizes the motion impact of your scarf.

How to tie a scarf: The Jet Setter scarf knot

  • There’s no knot here, just a light drape around your neck that leaves one end shorter than the other.
  • Throw the longer end of the scarf across the front of your neck and let it hang over your opposite shoulder.

If the scarf is extra long, loop it around your neck once before placing it behind your shoulder. This is one of the most casual styles, and it successfully communicates activity and mobility.

Scarf Knot Style: The Weekender

A casual scarf knot, most likely to be seen on the streets of Rome, Paris, and Shanghai.

How to tie a scarf: The Weekender scarf knot

  • Start with one end in the front, close to your neck, and wrap the long end around your neck until it is short.
  • Tuck both ends into the wrapped scarf.
  • For volume, fluff-out the knot.

This knot is perfect for windy days and joyrides with the top down.

Wrap It Up

Wearing a scarf is a great way to put your signature on your ensemble. A good-looking high-quality scarf needn’t be a costly purchase, and scarves are one of the few easily-sourced male accessories that can turn a by-the-numbers look into something eye-catching.

Keep an open mind, too: one of us at GM has a few scarves that were marketed principally to women. We say: if you like it, and have a notion of how to wear it well, then buy it.

What’s your favorite knot? Let us know in the comments.

Read next: How to Distress Denim (opens in new window)

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