How To Tie Scarves for Men

This article is part of my Quick Tips series.

I see a lot of articles and videos about all the possible ways of tying a scarf, but honestly they’re mostly useless, ugly or both! So these are the 4 best ways for how to tie scarves for men and how I tie scarfs on my clients for cold weather events or publications like GQ & Esquire. Throw out all the other ways to tie scarves, they’re a waste of time!

A quick, note about length, material and patterns

This and socks is one of the few places where you really can’t go wrong with any choice. So I always tell my clients to have at it and choose anything they think looks great, it’s a perfect way to show off your personality. So any colors, patterns, materials and lengths that you like, go for it! You can’t go wrong here.

Here’s the 4 best ways for a man to tie his scarf.

The Drape

TheDrapeThis way of wearing a scarf is perfect for those who don’t like anything wrapped around their neck but still want to keep warm. I like it because it’s easy to do and it looks nice. It doesn’t do too much to keep the front of your neck warm, but it does keep the back of your neck as well as the side of your coat nice and insulated.

Definitely wear this underneath your jacket or coat, it’ll keep it in place. Otherwise, it’ll move around a lot as you walk.

  • Take the two ends of the scarf, have them hang equal length on either side of your neck.
  • Now simply tuck in each side of the scarf under each lapel of your jacket or coat. It seals in the small gaps between your chest and coat to keep you nice and warm.

The Wrap

TheWrap3It’s a pretty standard way of wearing a scarf. You probably wore yours like this as a kid and it’s just fine for men. It’ll do what The Drape won’t do – keep the front of your neck warm.

  • Start by putting the scarf behind your head and lowering one side to be twice as long as the other.
  • Now wrap the longer side once around your head. The ends can be equally long or uneven. It doesn’t matter.
  • Tuck the excess under your collar or lapel, if you want.

The Loop

This is my absolute favorite way to tie a scarf on a man and the warmest way to tie a scarf. When I see men on the street wearing a scarf like this, I think it just looks so damn sharp! You can’t go wrong with this way of tying a scarf.

  • Fold the scarf in half.
  • Wrap it around the back of your neck.
  • Tuck the loose ends through the loop created by the other side of the scarf.
  • Adjust to desired tightness.

The Bib

The Bib How to tie a scarf Ashley WestonThis way of tying a scarf tends to look best with longer scarves, but you can get away with it if you’re using a shorter one, too.

  • Put the scarf around your neck, making both sides equal in length.
  • Cross the two ends.
  • Push one side up and under the other.
  • Pull it tight (but not too tight—breathing is important even in winter!)

That’s it! Those are the best (and only) ways for a man to tie a scarf.

Keith Olbermann & the Importance of Proportions

I was lucky enough to style the massive, in personality and stature, Keith Olbermann for a recent GQ spread. (My hands also make their modeling debut in the spread, as you can see in the above pic.)

Olbermann is (for lack of a better word) HUGE. When I was on set with him, and now seeing these pictures, I was reminded how important proportions are. If you’ve never seen him in person, you won’t understand just how big he is. Even the article touched upon it:

“Keith Olbermann is a large man. Conventional wisdom says TV adds ten pounds to people. Maybe. But conventional wisdom rarely applies to Olbermann. And seeing him in person, you realize TV makes the man appear smaller. In life—life outside the electronic box—he’s a good six feet three, with a chest that suggests a retired football player.”

The Importance of Proportions

When the magazine first sent me Keith’s sizes, I couldn’t believe it. Clearly these weren’t right. From all the pictures and videos I’d seen of him, I assumed he was average-sized. Upon confirmation that the measurements were accurate, I realized that Olbermann was a master of proportions.

Keith has consistently worn perfectly fitted suits for his stature. Couple that with appropriate-sized lapels, dress shirts with spread collars, and perfect tie widths and you’ll fool even a professional, like myself, into thinking you’re average-sized.

Example: The image below shows Eric Stonestreet (L) and Olbermann (R). Would you guess that they’re about the same size? I’ve met them both and they’re closer in size than you’d think.

This highlights exactly what I’m saying.

Eric is wearing a suit with regular width lapels and a skinny tie. Notice how he looks way larger than Keith?

To overcome Keith’s size, and what I would’ve done with Eric, I went with wide lapels, which have an amazing slimming effect on larger builds. One thing Eric did correctly was wear a dress shirt with a spread collar. Unfortunately, he should’ve chosen a wide tie (3.5″ at it’s widest point) and tied an equally substantial full Windsor knot to finish off his look, which is great for guys who are tall and/or have large torsos.

Golden Rules For Proportions

The width and knot of your tie should ALWAYS be in proportion with the lapels of your suit and the spread of your collar.

Here’s a quick breakdown for your height and build:

Tall & Slim: Regular width suit lapels, spread collar, 3″ wide tie, and half-windsor knot
Tall & Broad: Wide suit lapels, spread collar, 3.5″ tie, and full windsor knot
Average & Slim: Slim suit lapels, semi-spread collar, 2.5″ skinny tie, and half-windsor knot
Average & Broad: Wide suit lapels, spread collar, 3-3.5″ tie, and full windsor knot
Short & Slim: Slim suit lapels, semi-spread or point collar, 2.5″ skinny tie, and half-windsor knot
Short & Broad: Regular width suit lapels, spread collar, 3″ tie, and full windsor knot

Keith says: “Get your damn proportions in order!”  (Not really. But that’s what I imagine him saying in this picture.)

How To Fix Long Shirt Sleeves In A Pinch

This is a really old post, but it luckily still holds up!

Here’s a scenario: You’re getting dressed for an event. Your suit’s been dry cleaned, shoes have been shined, your new dress shirt is ironed and you’re all set to go. You put on your pants, tuck in and button your dress shirt, buckle your belt, tie your shoes and throw on your suit jacket while giving yourself a once-over in the mirror.

But something looks off.

There’s too much shirt sleeve peeking from underneath your jacket! Most (sloppy) guys will shrug it off and continue their night like it’s no big deal.

PLEASE don’t be like most guys!

There’s a quick and simple fix called “The Rubberband Trick”

1. Grab 2 rubberbands.

Make sure they’re large enough to wrap comfortably around your forearm without cutting off your circulation.

2. Remove your jacket, if it’s on. Place a rubberband over your sleeve, onto your forearm.

Around the middle of forearm, where there’s the most meat.

3. Tug your shirt sleeves up until your cuffs hit your wrist (this is the appropriate sleeve length).

Your cuffs should end at the bend of your wrist. Bend your wrist up and your shirt cuff should be barely touching the top of your hand.

4. Repeat for the other arm.

5. Throw on your jacket, adjust as needed and you’re ready to go!

Make sure that only about 1/2 of cuff is showing from underneath your jacket. If your jacket’s sleeves are short, adjust your shirt sleeves to only peek out a half inch. It’s better to have shorter sleeves with proper cuff spacing, than the opposite.

The rubberbands will hold your sleeves all night long. Just make sure, that if you remove your jacket at some point throughout the night, to take the rubberbands off your forearms. You’ll get some odd stares if you don’t.

How To Mix Patterns

Nick Wooster, master of sartorial style & Creative Director of J.C. Penney, clearly knows what he’s doing when mixing patterns.

The key to wearing patterns, especially bold ones like this herringbone jacket and harris tweed tie, is to break it up.

Without the solid black vest, his outfit would just look like one giant fabric swatch and frankly, like you’re trying too hard. The vest frames the tie, allowing it to complement the outfit, and helps break up the 2 different patterns. Look at how much cooler, almost relaxed the outfit looks with that vest. Adding the white cotton pocket square also helps.

Let me also mention the other details that really pull this all together:

  • The collar of his shirt lays neatly under his vest – as it always should!
  • Hair perfectly coiffed.
  • Facial hair groomed impeccably.
  • The thickness of his frames complements the jacket pattern.

Source: The Sartorialist