I LOVE head scarves

They take up very little space, are practical and can add a pleasingly vintage or rockabilly look to just about any boring old outfit. How to tie a headscarf is a question I get asked a lot.

So today I’m going to tell you 5 different ways to tie a headscarf!

All these styles use a square satin scarf that measures 22″ across a side, I find this the ideal size for wearing every day. The orange scarf in the last photo is silk and measures 29″ across a side. This size is better for wrapping over curlers at night and for styles where you want to wrap the scarf around your neck. I do have some scarves bigger than this as well that I occasionally use over rollers, but generally they’re a bit bulky and I end up with too much fabric to tuck in.

This sort of bandana is perfect for most of these styles and will give a more rockabilly look. A silk scarf like these ones from Forzieri will give a more ladylike feminine look.

Here are some of my favourite scarves that would be perfect for these styles.

For all these styles start with the scarf folded diagonally point to point. You will also need to learn to tie a reef knot, they’re much better than a granny knot as they lie flat against the head and are easier to untie. Remember: Right over left, under and pull, left over right, under and pull.

The Rockabilly Headband

This style has a really rockabilly look if you tie it using a bandanna .

To start you need to fold the scarf into a wide strip. I find that putting the point straight to the wide edge means it can slip out during the day and look messy, so I fold the point to the centre and then fold 1 or 2 more times to the wide edge until the scarf is the desired width. Behold my poor attempt to demonstrate what I mean (a photo might have worked better!)

Wrap the scarf around your head, under your hair, with the ends on top of your head and tie a reef knot. You can leave the ends loose, or tuck them under.

If your hair is in an up do this looks good worn slightly wider. I wear it over the tips of my ears as other wise they stick out, but you might find it looks better further back! This also looks cute tied slightly to the side, rather than in the centre of your head.

The Land Girl Look

This is perfect for hiding pin curls or rollers, or keeping your hair out of the way when doing mucky jobs like cleaning. If you’re wearing a casual outfit like jeans I would wear this to keep my hair under control for outdoor activities, if I was wearing a smarter outfit I might use one of the other styles to do the same job!

Place the point of the scarf to your forehead and pull the sides up over the top of it and tie a reef knot. Tidy it up by tucking the loose ends into the gaps left at the sides. If you have a lot of point left you can pull it back over the knot and tuck it in. If you need a bit more detailed advice, then there’s a handy video here!

If you have trouble keeping the point in place while you pull the sides up I have been known to kirby grip it in place and remove the grips once it’s tied! Also don’t worry about getting all your hair under the scarf. Once it’s tied you can tuck it in later.

This is my “Oh, I work so hard mopping floors” look. Won’t somebody save me from this life of drudgery, woe is me!

The Understated Headband

By rolling the scarf as small as you can get it, and then tucking the ends under after tying in a reef knot, you can create a cute and understated head band. It’ll keep your hair out of your eyes and doesn’t scream


The Farmer’s Wife

You need to be a bit careful with this one. Cover too much hair or wear it with the wrong outfit and it *could* make people think your headscarf is a religious thing. Not that that’s bad, it’s just a faff to explain when they catch you knocking back cocktails.

Put the wide end of the scarf at the front of your head and pull the ends around under your hair at the nape of your neck. You can tie it there, in which case the pointy end will stick out from the back of your head. Here I have crossed the ends under may hair, then wrapped them on top of the point before tying for a more streamlined style.

This is another good one for cleaning, not so good for windy days as without plenty of grips it can slip off your hair and fly away.

The Starlet

A subtle difference. Tie it directly under the chin and you’re the Queen Mum. Tied to the side, or with a larger scarf wrapped right round your neck before tying, and you’re a glamorous starlet. Just add sunglasses.

Put the wide end to your forehead, pull the ends under your chin and tie. Simple. Twisting the ends slightly can give it a nicer look, or, as I said, with a bigger scarf cross the ends, wrap them right round your neck and tie.

Perfect for racing around the country in your sports car.

So there you have, 5 different ways to wear a headscarf.

how to tie a headscarf 5 different ways