Dress Up Any Dress: 5 Chic Scarf Hacks You’ll Love (Plus, What NOT to Do!)

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How do you style a scarf with a dress?

That may sound like a no-brainer question to most ladies, but for those who are only beginning to appreciate a scarf’s versatility, it needs a proper answer. Let’s forget about the functional purpose of a scarf for a moment (i.e., it keeps you warm on cold winter days) and focus on its ability to decorate a dress.

There are infinite ways it can be done, but we have looked to fashion bloggers for inspiration. We dissected their scarf-styled outfits, resulting in these five styling tricks worth taking a cue from.

Here are the five easy ways to wear the scarf with a dress. Which do you already do, and which would you like to try?

1. Layer Up: Mastering the Art of Draping a Scarf Over Your Dress

This is the most common. Wrap the scarf around your neck, throw it over your shoulders, and let it hang loose. You can use the scarf to polish or spice up a simple dress.

And if you’re among the bold few, you can mix a printed scarf with a printed dress to create a statement look. For this, we usually recommend lightweight scarves.

Fashion photographer Lina Tesch, a.k.a., Anila, styles her white crochet dress with a skull scarfFashion photographer Lina Tesch, a.k.a. Anila, styles her white crochet dress with a skull scarf

Chiara Ferragni of The Blond Salad spices up her simple LWD with a brightly printed extraChiara Ferragni of The Blond Salad spices up her simple LWD with a brightly printed extra

Priscila B. of My Showroom Blog styles her striped dress by wrapping a poppy printed yellow scarf around her neckPriscila B. of My Showroom Blog styles her striped dress by wrapping a poppy-printed yellow scarf around her neck

Tanya of Tini-Tani styles her textured dress with a red neckerchiefTanya of Tini-Tani styles her textured dress with a red neckerchief

A gauzy scarf is sure to turn heads with a color-saturated print that provides a stunning visualization of multicultural traditions of celebration, spirituality and danceFront Row Society Magic Dance Scarf, $45

A beach-striped scarf is framed with a flurry of colored poms for a playful finishHalogen Wayward Stripe Scarf, $38

2. Elegant Wrapping: Transforming Your Scarf into a Chic Shawl

This is a great way to polish up a dress and make you look more elegant. You are essentially using the scarf as a wrap. Spread the piece and let it cover your arms.

It’s diva-ish and a little old school, but it’s an age-old trick that works all the time — especially for occasions that require you to doll up (black-tie events, cocktail parties, etc).

This styling method is best done with a larger piece in a solid color made of silk, satin, cashmere, or other dressy fabrics like silk chiffon.

Bernie of New York Silk Chiffon Wrap and Echo Crystal Beaded Silk Chiffon WrapBernie of New York Silk Chiffon Wrap, $68 / Echo Crystal Beaded Silk Chiffon Wrap, $78

3. Boho to Retro: Styling Your Scarf as a Trendy Head or Hair Accessory

You’ll get two different looks if you use the scarf as a headwrap or hair accessory with your dress — you’ll either look bohemian and exotic or retro and cute.

But one thing is sure: both ways will give your dress a fresh twist unlike any other. You’ll need a square or long scarf for this styling trick.

Fashion blogger Kate G. of Schwurlie uses the scarf as a head band to give her look a cute and retro twistFashion blogger Kate G. of Schwurlie uses the scarf as a headband to give her look a cute and retro twist

Fati of Fati's Fashion Beauty styles her baby-doll dress with a head wrap to get that exotic and beach-bound feelFati of Fati’s Fashion Beauty (blog offline) styles her baby-doll dress with a head wrap to get that exotic and beach-bound feel

Burberry Prorsum Floral Print Square ScarfBurberry Prorsum Floral Print Square Scarf, $475

4. Waist Cinching Magic: Using a Scarf as a Stylish Belt for Your Dress

If you want to kick it up a notch, another great way to wear the scarf is to use it as a belt. Like Anne Hathaway, you can complement a solid color dress with a printed scarf belt or do the reverse.

You can also do print-on-print if you’re more adventurous. Long, narrow scarves work best for this method. However, you can also use a square scarf by folding it diagonally and then rolling it into a strip. You can knot the scarf into a ribbon or knot it twice and let the ends hang like a sash.

Elegance Redefined: Anne Hathaway at the 2008 Elle Women in Hollywood Event, showcasing her unique style with a chic scarf belt – a perfect blend of sophistication and trendsetting fashion at the Four Seasons Hotel, Los AngelesElegance Redefined: Anne Hathaway at the 2008 Elle Women in Hollywood Event, showcasing her unique style with a chic scarf belt – a perfect blend of sophistication and trendsetting fashion at the Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles (Credit: Nikki Nelson / WENN)

5. Accessorize Your Arm: Turning a Scarf into a Unique Bracelet or Bag Accent

You can never run out of ideas on how to wear a scarf. If you wish to style it with your dress differently, you can use it as an arm candy instead.

Tie a silk square around your wrist and knot it into a ribbon, or let it hang by the crook of your arm like a handbag.

Kristina Bazan of Kayture decorates her dress by wearing a bright scarf and handbag at the crook of her armKristina Bazan of Kayture decorates her dress by wearing a bright scarf and handbag at the crook of her arm

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