How to Wear a Silk Scarf Like a Thai Girl


I live in Bangkok, Thailand, home of the silk scarf. Scarves made of Thai silk, the best silk in the world, are sold in millions of shops all over Thailand, with Thai women wearing them as fashion accessories with just about every outfit. Since I moved to Thailand, I’ve become obsessed with scarves, own more than 200 of them, and wear them with everything from business suits to evening wear. If you own a silk scarf and don’t know what to do with it, here are four quick ways to wear a silk scarf just like a Thai girl does, making you immediately look elegant and chic.

The Casual Scarf Knotted Around The Neck – One of the fastest ways to wear a silk scarf is to knot it around your neck in a simple ‘kerchief’ style. If it’s a regular square-shaped scarf, I twist it several times, like Thai women do, before I wrap it around my neck, then tie one quick knot, move the knot to the side of my neck and I’m ready to go.

If the scarf is a longer oblong-shaped scarf, which many silk scarves in Thailand are,Thai girls will wrap the scarf loosely around their necks twice, then wrap the two ends over and pull until it’s secure around their neck. They don’t knot it though. Just leave it to work its way lose. Chic, easy and lovely with an open-necked shirt or strapless t shirt.

The Scarf as Shawl – One of my biggest uses for scarves is to wear them as a small shawl, which is what most Thai girls do. Scarves in Thailand are usually quite large, sort of in between a scarf and a shawl, and are perfect for wearing around your shoulders on a hot afternoon to protect you from the sun, or a cool evening to avoid the chill.

You can either just drape one around your shoulders and let it hang loose or, fasten it the Thai way, which is drape around your shoulders and then throw one of the ends back over your shoulder to tighten the scarf around your neck. Wonderful in a hot climate like Thailand, particularly if you’re in an air-conditioned restaurant on a hot night.

The Scarf as Headband – Thai girls have a lovely way of wearing silk scarves as headbands. Either rolled into a tube, put around their head as a headband and tied at the back of the neck or, if they have long hair,
wound around and through the hair, and then the whole messy concoction fastened up away from the nape of the neck and on the top of the head in a loose French knot. Very sexy, trendy and chic.

The Scarf as a Belt – With a longer silk scarf, roll it into a tube and thread through your belt loops, fastening loosely at the front. Thai women wear them with pants, shorts and skirts and they look lovely. In fact, one of the nicest outfits I’ve now seen several Thai girls wear is a simple one of khaki shorts, a white short and a very brightly colored floral scarf tied through the shorts bands as a belt. Such a simple yet elegant way for both day and night.

Just one quick addition – please don’t tie your scarf around your bag, before you go out. It’s stupid, serves no purpose, looks like you tried too hard and no respecting Thai girl would waste time tying a beautiful silk scarf around a purse, when they can wear it to show off their lovely neck or body instead.


Photo – Miss Thailand Ummarapas Jullakasian during Miss World 08 – see how she has the lovely silk scarf as a headband around her head.  Credit: Rosengurtt/Wikimedia Commons