How to Tie a Scarf: Easy Parisian Knots
by Christina Gregoire
Chic women need to know some simple ways to wrap or tie long, rectangular scarves. If you live in a cold climate or you have visited Paris, you already understand the value of a scarf, and you probably lust after all long, thin scarves (with wonderful drape) in your best colors.
Scarves in Paris
Fortunately, little Gigi had a mentor who showed her how to tie her sinfully lightweight cashmere scarves when she was a four-year-old. Unfortunately, I was raised by Huns who didn’t know the difference between silk and polyester … or the difference between handmade and machine made. So, here's some help for any of you who grew up in the states and who now want to become more worldly.
How to Wear a Long Thin Wool Scarf
If you like the way women wear their scarves in Paris, the fastest, easiest way to tie a cotton, wool or Pashmina scarf is the Parisian knot, also called a European loop knot or a Persian knot:
- 1. Fold the scarf in half by doubling it; this will result in one end being a loop.
- 2. Put the scarf around your neck.
- 3. Pull the two ends (with the fringe) through the loop.
Parisian Knot - Video for Tying a Wool Scarf
The first video, below, shows how to tie a Parisian knot using a gorgeous, intensely vibrant wool scarf.
Description of the Video: First, the woman in the video lets the scarf hang loosely over her shoulders to add some color to her outfit. Secondly, she throws the scarf over her shoulders. Thirdly, she ties a low knot. Then, the fourth example is the European or Parisian knot. It’s simple, but it’s perfect, and you can tuck this type of knotted scarf inside your coat just like all the men and women in Paris do. I like the Parisian knot even better with a lightweight scarf or when the scarf is twisted.
(As the video continues, the woman pulls the Parisian knot to the side, ties a figure eight, and then weaves it into something that probably would stay on during a hurricane.)
Sometimes a Parisian knot comes out better if you shut your eyes while tying it. You don’t want your European knot to come out too perfect or too precious. Also, you can try twisting the scarf beforehand or pulling and fluffing the scarf afterward tying it until the knot looks effortless, because the effect you are going for is "messy but elegant."
Figure-Eight Loop Knot - Modified Parisian Knot
Here is a video for a figure-eight knot, which is a variation of the Parisian/European knot. To get the style right you need a summer-weight scarf, an extremely fine Pashmina, or a fine (lightweight) wool scarf. If you have trouble making this knot look good, your scarf is too short or too thick.
No scarf can ever be too long or too lightweight (even if it’s made of wool or cashmere intended for winter warmth), because you can always wrap a long scarf around your neck twice before knotting it. And, a long scarf gives you more options.
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For example, a very long scarf can be wrapped any number of loose ways (be inventive) to turn boring ensembles into cosmopolitan, boho chic outfits. Or, you can wear a long scarf in the standard, Parisian figure-eight style shown in the next video:
How Much Is a Good Scarf?
Every scarf is different. Some are simple and inexpensive. Others are delicate and cost hundreds of dollars or more.
A younger woman doesn’t need an expensive scarf, and some inexpensive scarves look great on baby boomers like you if the color is wonderful next to your face, but most older women are a bit more discriminating. On the other hand, any woman with breeding can find a flattering way to wear almost any scarf…especially if she’s in Paris.
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