Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Why it's time to buy a scarf - and how to wear it


"When I wear a silk scarf I never feel so definitely like a woman, a beautiful woman" - Audrey Hepburn.

A strong seal of approval from a timeless style icon, yet the accessory has struggled to break free of its fussy image in the years since Hepburn’s endorsement - until now. Big name designers, models - and Alexa Chung - have united in an appreciation of silks and the image they're presenting is far from chintzy.

Alexa Chung, Lindsey Wixson and Audrey Hepburn

Alexa Chung, Lindsey Wixson and scarf fan Audrey Hepburn

Chung was pictured in in her favourite skinny Prada number multiple times over the fashion weeks, while Lindsey Wixson was showing off a bandana style at the Milan shows.

City after city, necks have been covered on the runways. If models weren't wearing chin-grazing polo-necks, they were parading silk scarves, in many guises.

Kendall Jenner for Marc Jacobs

Kendall Jenner for Marc Jacobs

Everyone from Marc Jacobs to Dolce & Gabbana presented the accessory in their shows with only one common theme - the reworked scarf has noticeably more attitude than in its '50s Hollywood starlet heyday. No longer a relic of bygone eras, or the domain of airline cabin crew, the silk scarf has been revived in ties, knots, bows and yes, even the headscarf.

Here’s how to wear it:

1. Pick any colour, as long as it’s black

The trend isn’t really so rigid, but black scarves have been a favourite at shows and it's a versatile day-to-night choice.



2. Give it the tie treatment

Less back to school, more Debbie Harry circa 1978, as seen at House of Holland, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Roberto Cavalli.

House of Holland, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Roberto Cavalli

House of Holland, Marc Jacobs, Roberto Cavalli

Alternatively, ditch the shirt and wear with a suit, as seen at Bottega Veneta and John Richmond.

Bottega Veneta, John Richmond

Bottega Veneta, John Richmond

3. Go long

Nonchalant and effortless. Best worn with a low-slung ponytail, hands-in-pockets and a shrug.

Temperley, Sibling

Temperley, Sibling

4. Embrace the bow

Done with a gothic edge, as at Giles, or with a hint of Victoriana, a la Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini, the bow is far from twee. If you're not sure your tying skills are up to scratch, here’s a quick tutorial (also handy for gift-wrap).

Giles, Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini

Giles, Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini

5. Forget Hilda Ogden

The headscarf’s associations with Hepburn were lost for a while, thanks in no small part to the Coronation Street icon ruining the look with plastic rollers and a floral tabard. Dolce & Gabbana has smashed through that image with this badass showing at Milan Fashion Week. Go on, we dare you.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

We'll definitely be working ours like Kate Jackson of Sheffield indie band Long Blondes, who @MollyLynchYP pointed out on Twitter is a "long-standing yet oft-overlooked champion of the silk scarf".

Kate Jackson performing with Long Blondes

Kate Jackson performing with Long Blondes

Still unsure about how to tie a silk scarf?

Fashion blogger Wendy Nguyen has a tutorial of 25 ways to wear them:

Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features, Getty Images



Milan Street Style looks we love


Models get Picasso face and monobrows at Paris


Eye art: The hot new beauty trend


Milan beauty blog: The foundation revelation


London Fashion Week Beauty: Smoky-eyed romance at Burberry


Victoria Beckham shares unconventional photos from latest shoot


Treasure trove of rare Versace pieces unveiled online

Immerse yourself in the fabulous world of the late, great designer

by Anna Brech
12 Oct 2017

Katie Holmes joins Italy’s fashion elite in Verona

An inside look at an Italian ice spectacular

10 Oct 2017

Five fresh beauty trends to try from Paris Fashion Week

From exuberant crystal eyes to daringly abstract nails

by Emma Stoddart
06 Oct 2017

Behind the scenes at Paris Fashion Week

Aka, all our squad goals

05 Oct 2017

Stars on the front row at Paris Fashion Week

Rachel Weisz joins Jane Birkin, and Kate Moss hangs out with Catherine Deneuve. The va va voom is palpable

03 Oct 2017

Street style highlights from Paris Fashion Week

Feminist slogans meet theatrical flourish

03 Oct 2017

What the Stylist team are wearing at Fashion Week

Check in here for style inspiration

02 Oct 2017

Screen legend Helen Mirren hits the catwalk for L'Oreal Paris

Star of stage and screen is joined by Jane Fonda and Cheryl at the spectacular open-air parade

01 Oct 2017

The important history behind Dior’s new feminist T-shirt

Maria Grazia Chiuri made a subversive statement with this catwalk hit

by Nicola Colyer
29 Sep 2017

Five fresh beauty trends to try from Milan Fashion Week

Get set for angular crops and elaborate nail art

by Emma Stoddart
25 Sep 2017