How to Tie a Scarf

December 6, 2012 | By | Comments (35)

There’s more than one way to accomplish this daily winter-weather task, but this one has a particularly high quotient of that French je ne sais quoi.

Step 1: Fold your scarf in half to form a loop at one end and drape it over your neck. The tails should hang a bit lower than the loop.

Step 2: Take one tail and pull it through the loop.

Step 3: Cross the other tail over the loop and tuck the end through it from beneath, like tying a slip knot.

Step 4: Pull the tail all the way through, settle everything into place, and voilà, instant chic.

 Now check out our favorite cozy winter accessories.


  1. Tami

    I love this style of tying a scarf. I’m going to rock it from now on! :)

    December 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm
  2. MS

    I cannot figure out the last step. The final picture doesn’t seem to match up with the directions. Does anyone know what the heck I’m supposed to do?

    December 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm
  3. Kristin Appenbrink

    MS, In the photo under step three, the end that’s pulled across the dress form’s chest just loops up behind the the folded end of the scarf. Once you pull that second end through from behind and down the scarf settles and will look right. Hope that helps!

    December 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm
  4. LC

    I think the photo is slightly switched at the end… what appears to be the tail on the left is moved over to the right from behind…really the tail on the right moved over to to the left.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm
  5. MS

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t really get me any closer. I really can’t see how the last picture could ever result from the combination of loops in the previous picture. Also, since there are so many possible places to pull the end through, I’m not sure where it’s supposed to go. I think I figured out how to do it with different directions though.

    December 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm
  6. SW
    December 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm
  7. pk

    the second photo under step 3 makes no sense at all

    December 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm
  8. MS

    Basically, from what I can see in the final photo and from my own experimentation, I believe this can be achieved by a simple over and under type alternation. The first tail goes under the top side of the loop and over the other side. The second tail is the opposite – over top side of the loop and under the second. I have no idea where the wrapping around and tucking from behind comes in, because there are no wrap-around loops in the final project. The tails both go straight down, just woven in opposite ways. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I found a way to do it that works for me, so oh well! Thanks for trying to help, Kristin and LC.

    December 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm
  9. Mrs H

    Yes, I agree with MS — the last photo doesn’t look anything like what was done in the other photos. Even if you switch the ends, it still doesn’t seem like you could get there from here.

    December 8, 2012 at 2:25 am
  10. Mrs H

    If you do what the second-to-last photo says, you would end up with a tail hanging over the top of the whole knot. That’s not what the last photo has. There’s a step missing, or something. Anybody who can figure it out, please share. Thanks.

    December 8, 2012 at 2:33 am
  11. Mrs H

    OK, MS, I see what you mean in your last explanation. I will try your way and see if it matches. Thank you!

    December 8, 2012 at 2:40 am
  12. Arr M,

    Nordstrom has this helpful video on not just long scarves:

    December 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm
  13. Trish

    I love this one …. Do you have additional ways to tie a scarf?

    December 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm
  14. Deb D

    I like it! Thanks!

    December 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  15. Jerusha

    I wish there was a printable version of this!

    December 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm
  16. delawder creative

    from the images, this is not “real simple”. MS, you’re right though, just over under, under over. Photo 3b looks like I’m about to make a child-attempted-windsor… or hang myself.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm
  17. Angel V

    Neat! I’m going to sport this scarf look.

    December 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm
  18. Jess

    I was having trouble too, but SW’s link to the “pretzel knot” helped immensely! Thank you SW!

    And MS has the best explanation of the importance of tails going over and under. :-)

    December 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm
  19. Erica Watson-Currie

    I’m so relieved I’m not the only one who can’t figure out how step 4 results in photo 5. LOL

    December 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm
  20. How to Fix a Long Belt – Simply Stated Blogs | Real Simple

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    December 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm
  21. Cathy

    Isn’t this supposed to be Real Simple?? Hey Editors! get on board.

    December 29, 2012 at 11:01 am
  22. angelaragosa

    Great video tutorial which shows many ways to tie a scarf with ease…

    January 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm
  23. Jacquie

    An easy way to get a similar look is to follow steps 1 and two, then twist the looped end and stick the second loose end through the second smaller loop. Tug on both loose ends and it makes a great look, not as bulky as pulling both through together

    January 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm
  24. How to Stack Bangle Bracelets Together – Simply Stated Blogs | Real Simple

    […] more accessorizing advice? Check out how to tie a scarf and how to wear a belt with a long […]

    January 31, 2013 at 9:31 pm
  25. Amy Cairo

    It doesn’t get any better than this video for tying scarves. Enjoy!

    February 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm
  26. Donna

    Here’s a great site with step-by-step picture instructions.

    February 13, 2013 at 10:51 pm
  27. Google Inspired: How to… | the sun and the stars

    […] Real Simple’s method […]

    March 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm
  28. A Simple Guide on Wearing Women’s Clothing with Prints | Bind Cast

    […] craze and not yet too keen on wearing them, try adding pizzazz to an otherwise simple outfit by wrapping a printed scarf around your […]

    April 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm
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    July 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm
  30. anna

    super! my favorite ways to wear a scarf :) i’d like to show you how to tie a scarf:)

    October 10, 2013 at 4:03 am
  31. Janice

    I like that a picture accompanies each instructional step.

    November 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm
  32. mmfrederich

    Thanks, SW. That made it so much more simple!

    December 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm
  33. Terry McTigue

    If you look at the last photo, there’s an easier way than these directions show. Fold in half and put around your neck as in the photos. Take one tail and put it through the loop from under the loop. Put the other tail through the loop by going over the loop. Voila.

    December 17, 2013 at 8:43 am
  34. genti dama ieftine

    Helpful info. Lucky me I found your web site accidentally, and
    I’m surprised why this coinciudence didn’t took place earlier!

    I bookmarked it.

    September 26, 2014 at 7:11 am
    • Magenta Woodstock (@MagentaWoodstoc)

      Donna, that link doesn’t bring me to a scarf-tying demonstration site. I searched for it on google and that site doesn’t seem to exist.

      October 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

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