How to Wear Belts and Scarves

Our Fashion Stylist, Elizabeth Teater, joined us today with model Spring Jackson to demonstrate ways to perk up your wardrobe with belts and scarves.

Here are Elizabeth's Tips:

How to wear scarves and belts

Scarves are meant to be fun and expressive. They're also functional -- protecting your neck or chest from the sun, catching sweat or keeping you warm. Belts are meant to flatter your waist or hips, and help your clothes stay in place and fit better. 

Yet, many people feel silly and awkward experimenting with these accessories. Here are 10 tips for making them work.


  1. Wear a small, square scarf knotted at the side, as a neckerchief. You’ll look like you’re about to have lunch in a café, or you’re on an adventurous vacation. This look is great for people who never know what to do with the ends of a scarf. Alternatively, wear a slightly larger square scarf pointing straight down in front, like cowboys used to wear bandanas. You can tie either of these sizes around the base of a ponytail for a cheerful, girlish look. Just be sure to loop it through your hair band so the scarf doesn’t slip off.
  2. Toss a gauzy, rumpled rectangular scarf loosely around your neck a couple times.  This type of scarf – very popular last summer -- looks best with casual clothes. The ends can be short, or go all the way down to your knee. You might pile the scarf very high, and so wide it almost reaches your shoulders.
  3. Wear a large scarf over the hair as a kerchief, either knotted under the chin or – if it’s long enough – wrapped around the neck a few times as well. This looks best with sunglasses. Commute to work this way and you’ll feel like a different person. If you would rather look more bohemian than 1950s bombshell, cover just the crown of the head, gypsy-style, and tied it at the back of the head.
  4. Knot a medium or long rectangular scarf in front, and let the ends hang down over your chest. This was a popular look in the 80s, and it’s back.
  5. Wrap any type of scarf around the neck, do a big loose knot at the front of the neck, then tuck the ends into your button-down shirt, sweater, blazer or vest. Look up pictures of Cary Grant in a casual ascot for inspiration.


  1. Accept that not all belt styles will suit your body type or your wardrobe. Commit to trying on a few belts whenever you go shopping, until you identify styles that flatter you and make you feel confident. Be sure to step far back from a full-length mirror to really see how a belt looks on you. Rules such as “heavier people shouldn’t wear thin belts” are not very helpful, because there are always exceptions. You need to hone your eye, and then enjoy wearing whatever types of belts you think look nice. Accessories are about individuality, not rules and formulas.
  2. It looks chic to wear a monochromatic outfit and have the belt be a pop of a different color (this also works with scarves). For example, wear head-to-toe ivory with a pink or brown belt. Or all navy with a white or green belt. (In general, a belt doesn’t need to match your shoes or anything else you’re wearing as long as the outfit looks great as a whole. But, if you want a less sassy, more ladylike look, do match the belt with your shoes or handbag.)
  3. Here’s a trick: If your belt seems to be drawing too much attention to your midsection, skew the buckle a few inches to one side. It takes the focus away from the center of your stomach. If you’re otherwise stylishly dressed, it looks intentionally sloppy and interesting. This is also a way to add some energy to a very plain, conservative belt.
  4. Put a wide, whimsical belt -- or a skinny belt -- over those shapeless dresses and cardigans you rarely wear because they make you look pregnant. Clothes made of thin fabrics work best for this. Cinch the belt at your true waist. Or, if you are bigger in the middle and don’t like to emphasize your waist, sling the belt casually over the hips, and add boots for some additional attitude below the waist.
  5. Use a scarf or necktie as a belt. But only do this if it’s long enough to leave 3-inch or longer floppy tails after it's tied – otherwise it looks like you’ve barely squeezed it around you. A scarf looks great pulled through the belt loops of jeans. Tie it at the side.

For more information about Elizabeth Teater, visit her website.





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