How to Style Vintage Scarves?

Glamorous vintage scarf looks for an instant Grace Kelly transformation

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, some elements remain iconic, and scarves are definitely one of those. Luxury vintage scarves with patches of silk and chiffon, are more than just fashion accessories; they are windows into the past, bringing the charm and stories of past times with them. These iconic, age-old fabrics are more than just artfully crafted relics from another era; they transcend the limitations of space and time. Vintage scarves have become a statement piece that seamlessly fuses the traditional with the modern in the search for originality and a distinctive sense of style.

 If you are also a fan of vintage scarves, you have stumbled upon the right place. Let’s talk about how to style these priceless pieces with style in the current fashion scene!

The History Behind Vintage Scarves

The development of vintage scarves over time is an intriguing journey. These versatile accessories have not only improved in terms of functionality but also permanently altered fashion. They were mostly functional in the 1920s and made to shield women’s hair from dirt and dust. But as time went on, they transformed into enduring fashion items. Scarves were worn by celebrities like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to accentuate their sophisticated style.

The Golden Age of Scarves: The 1920s to the 1960s

Vintage scarves started to become more than just practical clothing in the 1920s. Hollywood played a significant role in elevating them to the status of fashion staples. At this time, scarves were associated with grace and elegance. The 1960s, with their bright fashions and classic black-and-white films, had a major influence in defining the scarf’s place in the world of fashion.

Luxury Brands That Defined the Vintage Scarf Trend

Luxury brands have always been at the forefront of the vintage scarf trend, setting the standard for quality and design. These exquisite items have specific names that have come to be recognized. Each company has created its own distinct heritage in the world of vintage scarves, from Hermes’s renowned silk designs to Gucci’s extravagant patterns.

Identifying Authentic Vintage Scarves

Material Matters

Many fabrics are used to make vintage scarves, so knowing which one was used is essential to judging the scarves’ authenticity and quality. The following materials are frequently found in vintage scarves:

  1. Silk: Genuine silk scarves are smooth, have a distinct sheen, and are frequently lightweight. You can do a “burn test” to determine authentic silk. Snip a tiny piece of the fabric, then burn it slowly. It’s silk if it smells like burnt hair or feathers. There will be a plastic-like odor from synthetic textiles.
  2. Cashmere: Scarves made of cashmere are renowned for their warmth and suppleness. They frequently have a smooth, nearly fluffy feel. Genuine cashmere shouldn’t itch and should feel smooth.
  3. Wool: Wool scarves have a slightly gritty texture and are warm. Check the labels for the wool content because it varies between pure wool and wool blends.
  4. Cotton: Lightweight and breathable vintage cotton scarves. They could feature complex designs and prints.
  5. Ryon: Vintage scarves frequently use the semi-synthetic material rayon. It is frequently blended with other materials and can have a smooth feel.

Signature Patterns and Logos

Luxury companies are recognized by their distinctive patterns as a sign of legitimacy. These companies frequently have distinctive patterns and logos that can be used to recognize genuine vintage scarves. Here are a few advice:

  • Look up the patterns and logos associated with each brand. For instance, the renowned Hermes scarf is renowned for its equestrian or horse-and-carriage motifs.
  • Search for tags or labels. Labels from high-end brands are typically sewn onto the scarf. Verify the labels’ quality and sewing.

Innovative Ways to Style Vintage Scarves

Vintage scarves are incredibly versatile accessories, and numerous creative ways exist to incorporate them into your modern wardrobe. Here are some innovative styling ideas:

1. The Classic Neck Wrap:

Basic Technique: The scarf is draped over your neck with the two ends dangling down in front by folding it in half to form a triangle. To secure it, tie a straightforward knot.

Layered Elegance: To create a layered look, combine several scarves that are different in size or pattern. To achieve a distinctive style, select complementary or contrasting colors.

Braided Knot: To add a complex and fashionable twist to your neck wrap, braid the two ends of the scarf together rather than tying a basic knot.

Choker Style: To create a stylish choker-like accessory, fold the scarf into a long, narrow strip and tie it around your neck.

2. Belted Beauty:

Belt Substitute: Replace your belt with a long scarf by slipping it through the loops and tying a knot at the waist. This cinches your waist while adding a splash of color and texture to your ensemble.

Belt Enhancement: If you already have a belt on, you can add a stylish and striking accent by tying a little vintage scarf around it.

3. Vintage Headgear:

Headband: To make a scarf into a headband, fold it into a long, narrow strip and tie it over your head. This provides a bit of classic style and effectively keeps hair out of your face.

Turban: Make a triangle out of a longer scarf by folding one side toward your forehead and tying the other two corners at the back. This results in a turban-like head covering that can be both fashionable and useful.

Bandana: Make a triangle by folding the scarf diagonally after it has been folded into a square. To create a bandana, tie the two ends together behind your head. This accessory can be used in a variety of looks, from boho to retro.

4. The Handbag Accent:


Handle Wrap: Just tie a retro scarf around the purse handles. This immediately provides an air of refinement and can complement or contrast your attire.

Bag Charm: Another option is adding a vintage scarf to your purse as a decorative charm. To keep it in place, take into account adding a tiny carabiner or clip.

Bow or Knot: Tie a scarf in a bow or knot and place it on the front or side of your bag to make a statement.

Pairing Vintage Scarves with Modern Outfits

Casual Chic

Consider wearing a vintage scarf as a neck accessory with jeans, a plain t-shirt, and casual shoes like sneakers or sandals by folding it into a narrow strip and wrapping it loosely around your neck. You can also put the scarf through your belt loops and cinch it at the waist to give your denim outfit a fun touch. Use a tiny antique scarf as a headband or hair tie for a more casual appearance. When wearing jeans or cropped pants, another inventive option is to tie it over your ankle to give your shoes a whimsical touch.

Corporate Elegance

Vintage scarves can be easily incorporated into your business attire for a polished appearance while you’re in a formal setting. Choose a vintage silk scarf in classic colors or designs, and tie it like a necktie over a crisp blouse or a tailored button-down shirt. Alternately, make a subdued, chic statement by draping a vintage scarf over your shoulders and tucking it under your blazer. Your business dress can be quickly improved by adding a vintage scarf as a belt to a tailored pair of slacks or a pencil skirt. A subtle homage to retro fashion can be achieved by carefully folding a smaller vintage scarf and placing it into the breast pocket of your jacket.

Evening Glamour

Vintage scarves can be your secret weapon for giving your formal clothing a dash of refinement while going for evening glitz. Choose a pricey silk or cashmere antique scarf to wrap over an evening gown or cocktail dress to add elegance and warmth. Use a vintage scarf as a sash belt to turn a monotone dress into a dazzling ensemble by tying it around your waist and letting it dangle for a dramatic impact. Smaller antique scarves can be used as headbands to create a retro Hollywood vibe or as a decorative addition to your evening clutch to tie your complete outfit together quietly. 

Caring for Your Vintage Scarf

Vintage scarves, which are frequently constructed of luxurious fabrics like silk and cashmere, need specific care to keep them in excellent condition. Let’s walk you through the crucial procedures for caring for your antique scarves: 

Cleaning and Maintenance

It takes meticulous care to clean vintage scarves properly in order to maintain their beauty and quality. Here are some pointers to help you maintain the stunning appearance of your vintage scarves:

  1. It’s preferable to hand-wash vintage scarves. Use lukewarm water and a gentle detergent. Prevent damaging the delicate fibers by avoiding using harsh chemicals or powerful detergents.
  2. Check a small, discrete piece of the scarf before washing the whole thing to ensure the colors won’t bleed or the fabric won’t be harmed. If everything appears to be in order, start cleaning.
  3. Gently stir the scarf while it is submerged in the soapy water. Avoid twisting or wringing the cloth because doing so could make it lose its shape or harm the fibers.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the scarf in cold water to remove all the detergent. Avoid needless friction by being soft.
  5. Gently roll the scarf to remove excess water by laying it on a clean, dry towel. Do not twist or wring.
  6. Resize the scarf to its original shape by laying it flat on a different, clean, dry towel. Allow it to air dry away from direct sunlight to avoid color fading or damage.
  7. If necessary, iron the scarf using the lowest heat setting. It is best to use a pressing cloth to protect the delicate fabric. Always iron your clothes from the back.

Storage Solutions

Your vintage scarves must be stored properly to remain in perfect shape. Here are some suggestions for storing them to preserve their quality and shape:

  • Before storing your scarves, ensure that they are spotless and totally dry. This way, your scarf will be protected from any accumulated dirt or moisture.  
  • Use acid-free tissue by sandwiching it between the folds of your scarves. This helps keep them in shape and prevents creases.
  • Vintage scarves that are hung may stretch and distort. It is preferable to roll or fold them before storing them.
  • Keep your scarves away from direct sunlight in a cool, dark location. Over time, sunlight can degrade the fabric and fade colors.
  • Rotate your scarves occasionally, and check them for any damage, including moth damage or fading. Address any problems right away.


The allure of luxury vintage scarves is undeniable. They are timeless pieces of history and fashion that are more than just accessories. You can always play around with your look and think of scarves as an iconic touch that can never go wrong. 

Don’t forget to share your own experiences with scarf styling with us. The world of vintage scarves is a captivating journey, and we invite you to be part of this timeless exploration of style and elegance.

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.