How To Wear a Scarf Like a Parisian

What is it about a scarf that immediately adds chicness and has the ability to transform you into a woman of style and grace with a hint of European charm? I don’t know, but Parisian women don’t leave home without one.


Scarves in Paris are not about keeping one warm or covering up a turkey neck, although a scarf is certainly a bonus in both of those cases. A scarf in Paris is about attitude. It’s a particular mentality. French women don’t just wear a scarf, they flaunt them. It’s about throwing on a scarf in just the right way as if to say to all of us tourists, “I am fabulous, you…not so much.” It’s confidence. What’s more, it’s as if French women came out of the womb wearing a scarf in just the right way. It’s innate and totally natural.

My clients tell me that scarves are intimidating – not to compare that insecurity with a more troublesome neurosis like, oh…say, fear of flying. It’s just that most of them do not know how to tie a scarf properly or how not to feel overly accessorized. In short, how to wear a scarf with insouciance.

So, I’ve put together a primer on how to wear a scarf. Some basic dos and don’ts that should help guide you to donning a scarf with confidence and panache.


Regarding the choice of a scarf, my motto is mostly “the bigger the better.”

Example of why right there:


Two ladies, two grey scarves, indeed. But, the one on the left is far more stylish! Now you know why.

So, you should always be able to wrap your scarf at least once around your neck without tightening and still have the remaining bits hanging loose on both sides, to the waist.


Either let the ends of the scarf hang loose on your chest or behind or tie the scarf around your neck.



Not like these…From left to right: not wrapped (and too small), too tight, too thin (booooring and cooold).


Once you master the first two steps, you are more than half way there.

Let’s go further with the choice of the fabric.


The scarf is right near your face and is one of the first things to be noticed in winter, so do not go cheap! If You are going to wear a scarf, avoid synthetics and go for the wool, the linen, the silk, the cashmere…trust me, a scarf is a good investment because you can wear it every day and it will always fit you. So, it’s worth the splurge.


Black or neutrals (beige, grey, white, brown) are always classy.


The good thing is that you cannot go wrong with those colors. They pair with anything and still give that extra twist to your outfit.

Go a bit crazier by choosing bold colors. They’ll enlighten your face in the grey winter.

Only a few rules for choosing the color (other than neutral):

– Color of the scarf should be different than the color of your coat.

– Colors of the scarf should also be different than any color of your outfit (playing matchy is quite old fashioned, except for neutrals).

– Go for neutral scarves if your coat is colorful or match it properly with a complementary color as red with green, for example. But the game is risky.

– If your coat is neutral, you are free to choose any color you feel like.


Scarves should be fun and you can have plenty. A winter coat very is expensive and a scarf, even a quality one, is cheaper. By owning a bunch of them, you will feel like you have a different black coat every day! And trust me, Parisians own a LOT! So, when it comes to patterns you can be daring. Just follow the same rules as for colorful scarves above and do not pair a pattern scarf with a pattern coat.


Keep it simple! Ethnic patterns and details (pompoms, mirrors) look good sometimes, but the old adage, “keep it simple, stupid,” applies.

Regardless of what you wear, a scarf is de riguer! So, wrap your neck, hold your head high, and walk with an air of savoir- faire. Happy scarfing and bonne chance!


As a custom designer for over 30 years, I have dealt with all figure types. Your concern over how to wear a scarf when you are large busted is a question I get quite often. It’s much easier to respond to that question when I’m working one on one. Proportion, height, length of neck, width of shoulders all play into my scarf choices.

On a broad scale let me suggest some features to consider when purchasing a scarf.

  1. Choose light weight fabrics; silks, challis, linen or blends with a soft hand.
  2. Solid colors are always a good choice but you don’t have to limit yourself to solids only. Look for small prints, i.e. leopard, polka dots, stripes.
  3. Avoid heavy bulky knitted fabrications, mohair, anything lofty that will add bulk or girth.
  4. Avoid large scale prints and oversized plaids.


Below are a few suggestions.

  1. Tie the scarf around your neck and avoid knotting it at the top of the chest or at the bust point.
  2. A diagonal line is always It cuts the figure and redirects the eye.
  3. Be creative. Tie your scarf at the wrist, wear as a belt.  The chicest way to incorporate a scarf into your wardrobe?  Tie it around the handle of your purse!

Good luck with future choices! Probably the most important thing to remember when wearing a scarf – wear it with attitude. Own it!


Woven Embroidered Jacquard Scarf, $39.97

Rebecca Minkoff Blocked Yarn Scarf, $58.00 (multiple colors)

Leopard Scarf, $74Tommy Bahama Pineapple Ikat Cashmere Scarf, $79.97 Roberto Cavalli Floral Silk Scarf, $99.97

Rag & Bone Knit Scarf, $99.97Max Mara Detroit Plaid Wool Scarf, $125

Kenzo Eyes All Over Scarf, $195 (multiple colors)Alexander McQueen Classic Skull Silk Chiffon Scarf, $295 (multiple colors)

Rag & Bone Mixed Check Scarf, $295

White + Warren Travel Wrap, $350 

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