It’s no secret that I have a major thing for French style. French women always seem so impeccably chic and stylish without ever trying too hard. I think they’re the true definition of “perfectly undone.”
Truth be told, I think gathering inspiration from french style has made me a more confident dresser. It’s not rooted in trends or brands or labels–it emphasizes classic silhouettes, never aiming for perfection but instead, embracing and finding beauty in the imperfections. French style has taught me that you can make a statement with a simple outfit and a bold red lip, or focus on finding a few perfect wardrobe staples and wearing them for everything–to work, to out on a date, and on the weekend, too.
One Parisian style staple is the classic scarf. Whenever I need to add a little something to my outfit, I usually pull out my favorite silk scarf or bandana–it truly makes even the most basic outfit to the next level. This has actually been one of my most requested tutorials, so I’m so excited to share the two main ways I typically tie mine!
Note: scarves all very in size, but you’ll want to make sure you have a SQUARE scarf. The dimensions aren’t that important, but for reference, the one I use here is 36″ x 36.”
How to tie a scarf like a French girl:
The Parisian Twist + Knot
This is the most classic “french girl” way to wear a scarf. It’s so easy, and if you have a shorter scarf, you can skip the middle steps (wrapping it around your neck twice)–simply roll it diagonally and tie it in a knot!
Step one: First, you’ll want to begin with a square scarf, folded it in half diagonally to form a triangle. It can be a big square or a little square, but typically this is the shape of scarf that works best for these particular tying methods. I’ve found that typically the vintage scarves I found are larger–but a lot of the one’s you see sold new are more “bandana” size. (You can see my how to tie a bandana tutorial here.)
Step two: Begin rolling from the long edge (hotdog style, if you will, remember that from grade school? Haha!) to the corner until you have it rolled into a nice little “rope” if you will.
Step three: Then, wrap scarf around your neck once (kind of like you would with a regular scarf!) You should then have two loose ends.
Step four: Tie those ends together. (Depending on the material of your scarf, it might stay fine like this, or you may need to knot it.) To finish, I like to move the knot to the side so it’s a bit off-center.
The Chic French Bandana
Good news, this method is nearly identical to the one outlined above! Nearly the same steps, but a totally different look!
Step one: Fold your square scarf in half diagonally.
Step two: The beginning of this step will vary based on how large you want the “triangle” part of your bandana to be. If you have an average size square scarf, you can simply move on to step three. Or, if you have a larger scarf (or you just want your bandana to be smaller) you can roll the edge a bit like we did before–begin rolling the scarf starting with the longest edge, toward the end. Unlike we did above, don’t roll the scarf all the way to the corner–stop halfway through (where you stop will dictate how large the “bandana” portion is.) You will now have a long rectangular roll with a little triangle on the end.
Holding the triangular portion (it should resemble a bandana type shape at this point, like a bandit, haha!) in front of your body, and wrap the ends around your neck once. (Just like the motions above, this time, it’s just a different shape!)
Step three: Like we did in the first tutorial, tie the ends together. Leave them hanging after one tie, or you can tie into a knot for more security. Depending on your preference, you can tie the ends OVER the bandana (triangle), or UNDER the it. Leave them hanging out, or you can tuck the loose ends underneath the triangular portion of the bandana for a cleaner look. There’s no wrong way to do it–I think it just depends on what you’re going for, and also, how much of your scarf you’d like to show off!
I like to finish by twisting the scarf so it’s a bit off to the side–I prefer mine not to be centered, but again, it’s really up to you!
Super easy, right?
Ideas for how to style your French style scarf:
I’m pretty confident that a scarf like this looks good with almost anything, but if you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few notable “French style” looks I’ve worn with scarves lately:
T-shirt dress + leather jacket:
Pair a t-shirt dress (I love this one and it’s quickly become a cult classic that everyone is talking about! I just got the sleeveless version as well! For both, size up if you want a looser fit!) with a leather jacket and white sneakers. The scarf brings everything together and adds some polish to a sportier outfit.
Bandana + Stripes:
Stripes are a french outfit staple for good reason–they look so cute with everything! I love pairing red with stripes in particular, so this red bandana gets plenty of use! My striped tee is old but this one is similar! I love wearing this outfit with shorts in the summer and classic Levi’s in the winter! (P.S. I have a separate how to tie a bandana tutorial if you’re curious!)
With a Classic Button Down
Red, white, blue, and camel are one of my favorite color combinations in the fall and winter! The silk scarf really puts the outfit over the top and adds a needed dash of pattern! (This outfit is super old, but you can see the new camel coat I just purchased here, similar loafers, similar sweater, and similar white jeans!)
My favorite silk scarfs and bandanas:
Admittedly, sometimes I think the best scarves come from the $5 scarf bin in your favorite vintage store! However, there are a lot of cute new ones out right now too, if vintage isn’t your thing! The one I’m wearing here is Hermes (MY FIRST HERMES SCARF!! Splurge, yes, but The Real Real has a lot of more affordable second hand versions!) and it was a gift from Neal that he surprised me with right before our wedding! You can find lot’s of vintage ones on Etsy here. I’m also linking some new favorites below. Note, a lot of these are “bandana” sized–which good news for you, are easier to tie! (You can see my “how to tie a bandana” tutorial right over here!)