You need a PhD to tie a scarf


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Am I the only woman who has had a tantrum while trying to tie a scarf? It’s like wrestling with a damn slippery eel. I understand why men groan when they have to knot a cravat. Obviously, I am not talking about a winter scarf that provides warmth and the comforting nostalgia of school days canceled because of snowfall.

Rather, I am referring to the decorative scarf -- that accent of color or texture that is supposed to tie an entire outfit together or add a splash of ‘look at me go!’ To me, a well placed scarf is that sartorial sly wink of confidence. I always look twice at women wearing great scarves. They broadcast a fashion sagacity that I admire.


Yesterday morn, I knotted and arranged and then untied and reknotted an old Hermes silk scarf that my Mom passed along to me. After a few attempts and a dozen expletives, I gave up. I looked like a drunk PTA matron. I threw the scarf on the floor and kicked it.

Let’s learn from the pros. Notice how Faye Dunaway wore her scarf in ‘Bonnie and Clyde.’ She tied it almost like a bandanna, which is a pretty haughty look for a demure silk scarf.

Below, we have an Olsen who didn’t even bother to try and knot her scarf. Instead, she draped it around her neck -- much like a pet python -- and sashayed out the door. Somehow, it works. Bravo, Olsen.

The Audrey Hepburn style of wearing a scarf around the head is tres cute, but looks tres ridiculous if you are not riding on a Vespa in Rome in 1954. Sorry, Hep.

Europeans seem to inherently know how to wear a scarf. When I travel in London or Paris, I can pick out the American by her serious, self-conscious scarf. A scarf must always look as careless as a doodle on a scrap of paper or a hastily thrown together picnic.

Oh, and I’m not the only scarf dunce, apparently. There are no less than 10 books on Amazon that will teach you the delicate art of throat origami.


Mick Jagger always impressed me with his scarf-wearing prowess. In fact, rock stars -- in general -- seem to have some sort of scarf sixth sense. I think it’s because they’re high or drunk when they get dressed.

Hey, maybe that’s the secret. Tie one on before you tie one on. Next time I pull out that old Hermes scarf, I will have already had a martini.

Photo credits: big knit, Vogue; Faye Dunaway, United Artists; Olsen, WireImage; Hepburn book,; Mick Jagger, Photo Bucket