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Three Ways to Style a Scarf

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

Lately, we’ve been noticing a lot of striking people on the streets of New York City. And they all have one thing in common: scarves. Whether they’re bright or patterned, draped or tied, are scarves the key to taking a winter wardrobe to the next level? Stylist LaTonya Yvette says yes. Here, in collaboration with Nordstrom, are her favorite ways to style them…

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

1. Go for color. “I wear scarves every day,” says LaTonya. “They can lift your mood. For me, wearing a scarf is like putting on lipstick — that one little thing goes a long way. Let’s say you’re wearing a white shirt and black pants; add a colorful scarf and it becomes a completely different look.”

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

“Scarves are such an easy way to experiment with colors,” she says. “This is especially true in winter, when everyone is drawn to dark shades. Why not try red or yellow or colorblock?” As for styling, keep it effortless. “When it’s cold out, there is a tendency to wrap things tightly around yourself. But I like to wear scarves in a loose drape, which I think actually keeps you cozier.”

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

2. Cover your ears. “I can’t wear hats because I have a fro, so I’ll use a scarf to cover my ears. It’s warm and looks cute.” To get the look, start with a long, rectangular scarf (LaTonya is wearing this one). Fold it in half the long way, wrap it around your head once or twice, then tie it in a loose knot behind your head. Tuck in the tails for a clean look. Says Latonya: “A scarf isn’t just for your neck. I tie them on my bag. I’ll wear a scarf as a belt. In the summer, I’ve even tied one on as a bralette. In a pinch, they can be a napkin for the kids!”

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

“When I’m wearing a scarf on my head, I like to play around with big earrings or bright lipstick, since the scarf draws attention to your face.”

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

3. Make summer clothes work for winter. “This dress is one of my summer staples, but it has a deep V neck. So, to make it work for cold weather, I’ll add this silk scarf, which covers my neck and makes it less revealing.”

Three Ways to Wear a Scarf

“Don’t worry about matching!” LaTonya advises. Of all her tips, she is most passionate about this one. “When mixing patterns, you can wear two things that are totally different! You can add any scarf to any outfit. Really! I think the biggest lesson about styling is to forget everything you think you’ve learned. Play around. I think the coolest thing is when your look doesn’t completely make sense.”

Are you a fan of scarves? How do you wear them? We’re also into these fringed ones and this fuzzy colorblock. Thank you, LaTonya!

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Nordstrom, a store we’ve loved for years, where shipping and returns are always free. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. I really love this website and love reading the stories of so many women that I find inspiring. I am a recent follower of LaTonya and I enjoy her personal style, her home decor, everything. But I needed to post my two cents regarding the topic of scarves. I love all three of the styles LaTonya wears. While it wouldn’t suit me personally I love it on her. There are so many PoC women who wear scarves as a part of their faith – Muslim, Jewish and certain Christian sects. Why doesn’t Cup of Jo feature more women who are visibly Muslim (like me) who wear scarves on a daily basis? Despite one’s opinion on the Muslim headscarf, you can’t deny how women wear it fashionably. It feels likes scarves worn by certain women are accepted in the mainstream whereas others are not just because of our belief or the way we look. I read the posts on Cup of Jo and even if I don’t relate or agree with them I enjoy reading them for the different perspectives they show me. I am an immigrant from India and am yet to see someone who does ‘My Beauty Uniform’ who looks like me. I think Cup of Jo and it’s readers would benefit a lot from featuring more Muslim and South Asian women who identify as such visibly or not.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, zarine. we would absolutely love to do more, and i really appreciate your feedback. i’m glad to say we have a week of outfits post coming up featuring a woman wearing a scarf as part of her faith. i hope you enjoy it. here’s a past beauty uniform that you might enjoy, as well:
      https://cupofjo.com/2017/02/my-beauty-uniform-afzaa-motiwala/
      thank you so much for your lovely note, and i’m glad you’re here.

  2. Nina says...

    I wish we could get a step by step picture for the one around her head. I’m having a hard time figuring out what she did.

    I recently moved to Georgia from Utah. I’m unpacking and I have.so.many.scarves. I keep thinking “I should get rid of some” but I love them. every single one! my favorite is a huge like 6 foot one a friend made for me when her brother was dying of cancer (because sad but loving) and then she developed trigger finger and couldn’t crochet anymore. and all the eternity ones (one big circle) I have. all.of.them. when its a bit chilly but not cold enough for a jacket, I wear a scarf.

    I love her saying its okay to mix prints as I struggle with this.

    I had a law school professor that wore scarves with almost every outfit…high end ones too. hermes and chanel. someone asked her how she could afford such expensive clothes (don’t know why they thought this ok to ask but we all wondered on a professor salary) and she said that she and her husband (a partner in a prestigious firm) agreed that the best way to not fight was whatever he spent on golf (what he loved) she would spend on what she loved (high end clothing) in a year and not say anything to the other about how much it was. This kept them both very happy. (wouldn’t a fun series be tips from people about what kept their relationships happy?)

  3. megs283 says...

    ha. I wish I had 1/10th of her style. I’ve tried to do all those things and they always look stupid on me! I’m off to you tube how to wrap the silk scarf so nicely around my neck. I always look like a flight attendant or it’s a huge bunchy knot!

  4. kattey says...

    That denim skirt! Details please!!!

  5. Tricia says...

    Has LaTonya done a “Week of Outfits” yet? If not please can she do one? It would be awesome. I love what she says about forgetting everything you’ve learnt about style.

  6. Heidi says...

    Stunning.

  7. Lori says...

    I love that she also made the same pair of boots work with every outfit! These are great tips and she just glows!

  8. Shannah says...

    Love the scarf inspiration. I have the feeling that LaTonya would look radiant in anything – she absolutely glows.

  9. Jackie says...

    This girl ALWAYS looks good.

  10. jennifer says...

    Gorgeous! I love all three and I love LaTonya Yvette’s IG accept! I’ve gotten so much style inspo from her.

  11. Well lately I have been noticing that single women, or those in a relationships, but during a crisis or being in a transition process (let’s face it – we are not monogamous + some situations push us to look for attention from different persons) – MAKE US LOOK MORE SEXY. That’s all I have to say about Latonya’s pic.
    Greetings fron Poland <3

  12. Melanie says...

    That eyeliner though…Can the beautiful LaTonya please do an eyeliner tutorial?? :)

  13. Dee says...

    ‘In a pinch they can be a napkin for the kids’ haha. I have used my scarf to wipe down a wet slide in the playground more than once!

  14. Jenn says...

    she’s gorgeous, and i love scarves. solid piece :]

  15. Jamie says...

    That third look! I’m inspired.

  16. This woman’s style 🙌

  17. Jana says...

    If you’re looking for more scarf inspiration, check out Lauren Friedman’s 50 Ways to Wear a Scarf. Her how-to illustrations will give you great ideas you never thought of, plus they’re beautiful! And it’s a perfect gift (to give or request) for the holidays.

    You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Ways-Wear-Scarf-Lauren-Friedman/dp/145212597X.

    Enjoy!

  18. Elle says...

    YASSSS! I wear scarves every day. My husband always brings me lovely ones from Turkey and France. I keep my wardrobe as a closet collection of black, grey, white and khaki and add colorful scarves.

    • Elle says...

      Elle, I also comment here as Elle and could have written this very post. :) My scarves make my wardrobe when the weather turns.

  19. Nayla says...

    This really makes me want to start wearing more ofmy scarves, not just the 3 I feel like I know how to style! LaTonya is absolutely gorgeous and brilliant and I’d love to see more posts from her!

  20. serap says...

    She is so pretty

  21. Christina says...

    Love her style! The mint green scarf with the jean jacket is perfection!

  22. Kathryn says...

    LaTonya is so stylish! I have her book on pre-order.

  23. Owl says...

    Love! I wear scarves all of the time in winter, and they add colour and elegance to any outfit!

  24. Carol Wynn says...

    Love her style!

  25. SC says...

    Gorgeous! Love the styling for all three looks.

  26. Ceciel says...

    This may sound goofy without a visual but I’m a fan of the double scarf! One small, maybe knit striped or patterned one with a looser drapey one on top. Maybe it’s just the cold long Ohio winters but it makes me feel like I’m making a statement when I’ve been wearing the same winter coat Nov-(early) Apr! Love the advice to end up with look that “doesn’t completely make sense”!!!! Thanks!

  27. ClaireFrances says...

    I love this one! Ok, first of all: she is so pretty, and has fabulous style. Thanks for sharing these ideas. Lately I’ve been taking to the internet to get ideas about how to tie scarves because I don’t wear the ones that I have as much as I would like to. Using the search term “how French women tie scarves” will pull up some terrific photos and videos. (you know who also has a really excellent scarf game? Dorie Greenspan! Apparently she is not only brilliant with baked goods, she is a pretty snazzy dresser too. I’ve seen some photos of her recently and she looks good!)

  28. Kathryn says...

    But also that cozy teal scarf!!!

  29. Marki says...

    This is so inspiring – now I can’t wait to leave work, go home, and play around with my scarves. Would love to see regular styling posts from LaTonya!

    • Meghan says...

      I would too!

    • Robin says...

      Third(ed)! She’s so lovey.

    • Charlotte says...

      Yes! More of this from Latonya, please! I love her style and she is so beautiful, inside and out!

    • Mónica says...

      Me too! She’s amazing. I’d also love to know where her boots are from!

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Hi Monica! They’re vintage Coach. xo

    • emily says...

      Yes! I love LaTonya! So lovely inside and out.

  30. Meredith Nystrom says...

    I inherited my great aunt’s collection of gorgeous vintage silk scarves and wear them (and her vintage brooches) everyday. I have never worn earrings, necklaces, or bracelets, but I can’t imagine my personal style or any of my clothes without the addition of a silk scarf!

    • clairefrances says...

      oooooohhhh NICE!

  31. CanadianJane says...

    She is so beautiful!!!!

  32. Ann says...

    I love my scarves! Why have I not been wearing them lately?! I will now! Thank you, LaTonya for the inspiration!

  33. A Martin says...

    I LOVE the 3rd outfit! Took my breath away! Would love to know more about the dress and boots please 😬

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Hi A! Her boots are vintage Coach. xo

  34. Liz says...

    Looove her! and also scarves. I have too many. Thanks for sharing! I always just wrap around my neck and go, without a thought.

  35. Bethany G Suckrow says...

    I love it whenever I saw LaTonya’s face here. Gorgeous as usual. <3

  36. Laura C. says...

    Oohh lovely LaTonya! I love when the blog features her. Thanks for the suggestions, she is right when she talks about the colored scarves!

  37. Samantha says...

    I have really meh hair so I’ve often thought about wearing a headscarf but … it feels kind of close to appropriation, somehow. Am I way off on that? Does it depend on the styling?

    • Emily says...

      I’ve wondered the same thing. I’m a white woman with long, big 3b curls and would love to throw my hair back in a bun with a scarf on the front part of my head like a wide headband, but I worry that I’d be stealing a look that isn’t mine.

    • lindsay says...

      She is showing 3 ways to style a scarf for all of us, no matter what our color or gender or whatever…..I have to stop reading these comments

    • Irina says...

      Anyone should be able to wear whatever they want! I feel like people tend to overthink the cultural appropriation piece a little bit, these days. I say this as someone who does NOT represent mainstream American Anglo-Saxon culture: I’m Jewish, from Russia, living in the US.

      If I saw someone who was not Russian wearing a traditional Russian dress (which no one in Russia wears any more, other than traditional song and dance performers), or a non-Jewish person wearing an ultra-Orthodox Jewish outfit, I might wonder a bit about it, but I’d be cool with it. It’d be kind of neat that someone was interested enough in my culture to adopt its way of dressing. I’d probably want to talk to them and find out what appeals to them about these costumes but I would not be offended at all.

      Wearing a headscarf is a lot less “extreme” than donning a sarafan or a bekishe… I say go for it and don’t worry about anyone questioning you! They likely won’t, and even if someone does, your looks are really none of their business.

    • AJ says...

      Experiment! I sometimes wear scarves in my hair (mostly inspired by the vintage landgirl look!) and have never got anything but compliments. Honestly don’t think it’s ever caused any offence and don’t think it really ever would. I have alopecia areata (random bald patches) so my scarf wearing started as a means of hiding a big bald patch – but became just a fun styling thing too! (Don’t wear them often now, only when feel like making the effort/doing my hair!) Scarves have been worn as headwear/hair accessories for various reasons (practical/fashion/religion/protection from the elements!) in many guises spanning many cultures. Just give it a go!

    • CB says...

      I’ve also wondered that.

    • Cait says...

      Samantha, thank you for going out on a limb to ask this. I often wonder it myself. For those thinking that the comment was ridiculous, yes, here it is being styled for everyone but a lot of us feel like it would be better to ask if anyone else out there feels differently than to just do it and inadvertently cause offense. I for one love the COJ comment community and feel like it’s by far where the most intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful comments happen on the Internet.

    • Jo says...

      Hi, and I really do get this concern! I’ve worn scarves in my hair, in different ways–as a big, 70s-style headband, for instance–since I was about fourteen; but I have big, curly hair (I get a lot of Sarah Jessica Parker comments), and am, let’s say, ethnic, so I never thought twice about it, as it just makes sense for my hair type. But in recent years, I have indeed thought, agh, do I look like I’m appropriating/trying to be something I’m not, and felt a little self-conscious when wearing a scarf in my hair. So much so that I pretty much never do it anymore. (My husband LOVES it and will sometimes ask, “why don’t you wear your hair like that any more?”

  38. Dorothee says...

    Love the scarf styling. But please tell me about THE BOOTS!

    • Emma says...

      YES PLEASE. Had the same exact thought. Boot info please xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ll ask her!

    • A Martin says...

      Yes!! Id love to know more about the boots!

    • katy says...

      I want to know about the jean skirt, please!

  39. Laura says...

    brilliant. seriously.