I’ve always had a good amount of silk scarves because my grandmother passed down a robust collection. She used to wear them around her neck, or over her head and tied under her chin. From her, I learned that a silk scarf ties an outfit together. This accessory can elevate any look—it even makes a sweatsuit look elegant.
I take pride in my silk scarf collection, and it’s truly a collection that transcends all seasons and trends. Once you find a few silk scarves that you really love, they will always have relevance in your wardrobe, so you can enjoy them for many years to come. Below, see our ultimate guide to starting a silk scarf collection, including styling tips and some standout picks to get your inspiration flowing.
Why a Silk Scarf Collection?
Yes, you can wear a hat on your head, a necklace around your neck, a bracelet around your wrist, or a halter on your body... but a single silk scarf can do all of the above. When I think of scarves, I think of a punch of color, which is probably because I associate silk scarves with the iconic prints from Hermès, which designed its first ready-to-wear graphic silk scarf in 1937, shortly after the house’s inception.
Hermès still makes a huge collection of silk scarves every season, and the pieces are so iconic that the brand has a touring interactive experience about them, The Carré Club. And when you take a look at any Hermès scarf, it's easy to see why it's a hero piece: Each one has a stunning pattern that makes any outfit that much more luxurious, and the look doesn't feel tied to any particular era or trend. The same goes for any good silk scarf, making these accessories great investments for cultivating personal style that lasts throughout the seasons.
How to Start Your Silk Scarf Collection
To start your collection from scratch, having two silk scarves is sufficient: one smaller one with colors you wear often, and one larger size that makes a bit more of a statement. I say this because larger and smaller scarves have different purposes, and it's fun to have all those options available from the get-go. After you've found a couple of silk scarves you like, you can really get into the fun of working them into your favorite outfits.
Ways to Style a Silk Scarf
When it comes to styling medium to large scarves (I constitute 25+ inches as medium and 35+ inches as large), the sky's the limit. I like to wear medium scarves under a shirt collar, as a bandana, wrapped around my bag’s handles (a trick to instantly hide worn straps), through my belt loops, or tied over my head. I recently saw Tamu McPherson posted a reel wearing her silk scarf draped around her head while traveling, and it instantly made me want to get on a plane. If you really want to make your silk scarf the centerpiece, you can even use it as a sarong-style skirt (which I did below) or top. As you may have seen on TikTok or elsewhere, your summer wardrobe options are limitless once you learn some creative techniques for tying one or two silk scarves into your new favorite outfit.
I like wearing medium or smaller scarves (small is as little as a pocket square, which is usually 10-12 inches) knotted around my neck, around my wrist, or in my ponytail. Here’s Stephanie Broek with a small scarf casually tied around her neck with a blazer and baggy jeans—the accessory adds a dainty, refined touch to an otherwise boxy, casual look.
If you're looking for an option to switch it up from the classic square shape, a more specific style of silk scarves, which I really love, is the skinny scarf. These are great tied around the neck, as a belt, or in your hair as a headband or bow in a ponytail.
Need some more inspiration that shows just how timeless the silk scarf can be? Look no further than Susan Sarandon as Louise in Thelma And Louise, a personal favorite moment that I will continue to reference.
Where to Buy Silk Scarves
In terms of shopping for silk scarves, I would personally go vintage (The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, Etsy, and eBay all have fantastic silk scarves). One of the best things about this route is that some really special ones are available for a great price—you may even find a vintage Hermès style for under $200 (a 36" x 36" scarf from the brand normally retails for around $500). If you’re shopping online, just make sure to note any wear and tear the scarf may have. You’re mostly going to be tying or folding your scarf, so some imperfections here or there are not a big deal.
If you're excited about building a silk scarf collection but wondering what to do with them when you're not wearing them, they’re also fun to display around your home, easily fold very small for storage purposes, and will stand the test of time, passed down generation after generation. Because of this, silk scarves are a great investment for cultivating your long-term personal style.