A scarf or a muffler is a length of fabric, either an elongated rectangle or square in shape, which is wrapped around the neck and shoulders. It can also be used for covering the face and head. It can be worn by both genders and the purposes of wearing a scarf could range from accessorising, making a style statement, luxury and comfort to necessity, tradition or even religion. Scarves are also worn for protection from the dust, dirt, pollution and even chilly climates in snowy areas.
It can be worn with almost any dressing style, suited for both men and women. Scarves or stoles can be complimented with casual wear, formal and office wear, party wear, traditional wear, religious wear, while dining out or travel, etc. It can even replace the dupatta or chunni of the traditional salwar-suit. In the northern regions of American and European continents, where it snows hard, woollen scarves, woollen stoles and woollen mufflers are worn as a necessity to keep the chill out and retain body warmth. When you have to travel long distances, one of the essentials is a scarf and it has become an integral part of our wardrobe. With so many styles to adapt and several options available in the market, you wouldn’t mind accumulating an entire dresser of scarves from all the places you visit. There are several established styles to drape a scarf but one can invent and adapt a personalized style as well – it is such a versatile piece of fabric!
Pick your fabric
The look of the scarf also largely depends on the material used. For example, a thin fabric like cotton or silk can give a chic or formal look, while wool or pashmina material may give a casual, friendly look.
The fabrics that are most commonly used for scarves are thin, comfortable, soft & breathable like cotton, silk, linen, chiffon, satin etc. Thick & impenetrable fabrics are used to provide warmth and protection, like pashmina, alpaca, cashmere, jersey and wool, depending on the manufacturer and the market. Scarves or mufflers can be worn with casual apparels, like tees, jeans or pants, pyjama-tees, skirt-blouses, kurta-leggings, Indian dresses; or non-casual, formal wear like: blazers, formal-suits, trouser-tops, pant-shirts, etc. It can also be worn with woollens like sweatshirts, jackets, cardigans, etc. Depending on what apparel you are wearing your scarf with, you can choose the type or style of knotting or draping or even include your own style! Depending on what material is used to manufacture the scarf, it can either be used as it is or may need some basic folding to be done before wearing it.
Since ages, girls with long flowing hair have used a scarf to tie around their hair, just let it fall loose or around a bun. Interestingly, people have started experimenting by wearing it around their waist as well; it looks really cool depending on the wearer’s style of draping it.
In most cities, with the growing number of working women, they have started using scarves quite extensively, when driving two-wheeler vehicles. They use scarves, even whilst travelling in public transport & one might need to tie a scarf as protection from the dust, pollution, noise, gusts of wind, etc. This style is not exactly a style, but a necessity and there is the most common method of wrapping the humble scarf. It is taken from over the head, and the loose end on one side is tied across the face, covering the mouth and nose too. The loose end is thus tied in a double knot either on the top of the head or at the back of the head.
Here are a few common ways of tying a scarf.
- The Ascot Knot
This is an easy and versatile knot and looks very neat. You may follow these simple steps:
Let the scarf hang around your neck, equally on each shoulder. Take the right half of the scarf and pull it over the left half. Now pull up the right half from underneath the left half of the scarf and out from the loop formed around your neck. Once the entire right side of the scarf is out, let it fall over the knot formed. Adjust both the ends of the scarf equally, facing downwards and you will have the perfect Ascot knot.
Choose a light, solid-coloured shirt to help make your ascot stand out. Wear jeans with your ascot knot scarf. A dark wash pair of denim jeans is perfect for a polished look that transitions well from day to night.
- The European Loop
This one gives the wearer the look of being both – casual and formal. Use an oblong scarf or fold a large square scarf into a bias band fold to make it look like a rectangular scarf. Now join the two ends of the scarf to form a loop at one end. Let the scarf dangle around the neck with the loop on one side of the shoulder and the loose ends on the other. Pass the two ends through the loop to make the knot. Tighten the knot around the neck according to your comfort and stay snug with the European loop.
This one works well with layers. Try throwing on a jacket to make things interesting.
- The Classic wrap/drape
This is the most common style. All you have to do is simply hang loose the scarf around your neck. Let it fall comfortably around your neck, over your shoulders. Now take one end of the scarf and let it rest over the other shoulder. Or, drape the loose end twice around the neck and let the two ends hang in the front equally.
The classic wrap is casual and stylish and works best with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
- The Infinity loop
Drape the scarf over the shoulder and let both ends hang equidistant in the front. Take the loose ends and tie a double knot on the corners. Take the entire loop and twist it once so it looks like an ‘8’. Hold the intersection of the scarf and let the two round ends come together. Wear it around your neck letting the intersecting part face the back and the two round ends hang in front. This look is very classy and smart.
The infinity loop is a versatile style and can be draped on not just a maxi or a gown to keep warm but on a simple tee as well to up the glam quotient.
- The Classic drape
One of the simplest ways to drape a scarf, stole, and even a shawl. To achieve this look, wrap the stole around your shoulders in one complete loop and tuck the loose end back into the loop at the nape of your neck. This look exudes femininity and is suitable for women of all ages. It’s not a look that’s advisable for men.
For a modern look, wear it with jeans or a tailored pencil skirt and top. If you’re in the mood to go bohemian, wear it with a maxi and a chunky bracelet.
Wrap it up in style…
A scarf is a great accessory that will add oomph to any outfit. Pick the correct fabric and learn a few quick tricks on how to drape it and you will be surprised to discover how this humble piece of cloth becomes your best friend…