The Five Definitive Ways To Tie A Scarf

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The Five Definitive Ways To Tie A Scarf

24 January 2021

Chances are, working out how you’re going to tie your scarf this winter will not rank highly on today’s to-do list. But it should. A good, assured scarf knot not only saves you precious microseconds when getting dressed, it’s proof of the fact that style is in the details. It’s also an easy way to establish your own subtle sartorial signature. We’ve picked the following knots (and do-nots) as tried-and-tested fail-safes that span a variety of tastes and situations, plus a few suggestions from us. Welcome to the new you.


The twice-around

The four-in-hand knot (below) is an impressive technical feat, but try knocking back a few bonbons with one wrapped around your oesophagus. It’s not easy. The twice-around knot – which is barely a knot at all – offers more relaxed coverage, piling loosely around the neck and chest, depending on length. As this raffish style often has difficulty staying in place, it’s best to go for a chunky scarf with texture.


The four-in-hand

Typically, a scarf is something you want to take on and off, for example, when you step indoors for a coffee, snack, or other miniature reward for braving the cold. If, however, you’re planning an extended encounter with the outdoors, you might want to fasten your scarf with a more complex and sturdy knot such as the four-in-hand. Not to be confused with the tie knot of the same name (in that you shouldn’t turn up to a wedding smothered in a scarf), this intertwining knot makes for a long, thick covering on the throat and chest. Given its intricacy – which will pretty much guarantee that you have the most Baroque neck-statement within a one-mile radius – it’s a lot more palatable with scarves in muted colours. 


The reverse drape cross

The reverse drape cross is the reverse drape tuck without the hassle, achieved simply by winding the scarf around your neck once and then tying the loose ends together in front. It’s not rocket science, but there are some subtleties. Going for a wider initial loop will keep your knot more low-slung, for example. Plus, it’s important, in this case, to think about the extremities of your scarf, as they will be very much on display. A wispy eyelash trim on a scarf will add a nice edge of rawness to a dark-coloured wool overcoat, for instance.


The overhand

Nothing could be simpler than this scarf-wearing technique, known as the overhand, which really is just a matter of throwing your favourite neck-warmer over your shoulders and making a single loose knot under your chin. Emphasise this fact (and the effortlessness of your own get-up) by choosing something in plain or muted cashmere.


The Parisian

Bread. Toast. Kisses. Everything is just that little bit better when it’s French. And this scarf knot – the Parisian – is no exception. Formed by folding the scarf in half, wrapping it around your neck and feeding the free ends through the loop on the other side, it’s easy to tie, highly insulating and can be removed in a couple of seconds. As it doubles up on length, it works best with a fine-wool scarf that’s more than 180cm (70in) long, and you can always add an additional Parisian edge by simply saying “Non, absolument pas”, when anyone talks to you.

Illustrations by Mr Joe McKendry

What Knot To Do