Fashion Week

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

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Anna Pollitt
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"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.

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.

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.

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

3. Go long

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

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).

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.

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".

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

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.