Wardrobe Must-Haves: A Printed Scarf

Head up the most versatile trend of the season.

Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Images: Getty Images

 A headscarf (also known as a printed, silk or neck scarf) presents a fascinating dichotomy. In our surveillance-heavy world where you’re almost always on camera in public, it’s a comical means of identity obscuration. Yet it renders your head an ornamental attention magnet. It carries with it connotations of conservative heritage and modesty, yet feels undeniably bold and assertive. These contradictions are exactly why the printed scarf feels so appropriate today.

It’s had enough runway airtime (Gucci, Versace, etc) to qualify as the 'it' accessory of the season, but the ultimate appeal lies in the ever-growing number of ways to style it. Once you start getting creative, it’s hard to stop. You might even be tempted to start a #ScarfChallenge group chat to see who can come up with yet another way to wear it. In the meantime, here’s an inspo starter pack.

Richard Quinn

All in – Richard Quinn

Quinn’s conceptual incognito (with a fencing undertone) styling of the piece is anything but practical, but it makes for a great insta feed moment if you’re near a great piece of wallpaper. While you mull over the ‘would I/should I’ feelings this look evokes, consider also the super practical styling possibilities of the scarf, starting with it tied around your bag handle for a sophisticated feminine flourish. It could look great peaking out from a jacket sleeve when tied around your wrist, or woven through the belt loops of a pair of trousers you thought had lost its appeal.


Future granny chic – Gucci

Gucci, always a melting pot of fantastical references, serves 80s equestrian grandma from the future – it’s 3080, in case that wasn’t clear. This look is important because of the way it breaks down our preconceptions of who wears a printed scarf and how. It’s proof you can personalise and re-contextualise this accessory to match your unique personality.

Marine Serre

Shapeshifter – Marine Serre

Hoop earring, meet printed scarf. Anyone who’s enjoying the statement earring trend has got to indulge in the fun that is wearing your scarf as an earring. And then there’s also the option of turning it into a bag, though it’s not a recommended solution for heavy cargo.

Miu Miu

Neck and neck – Miu Miu

Sometimes the best styling is also the easiest, most straightforward option. Tied around the neck a-la Miu Miu, the neck scarf punctuates your look, giving it colour, dimension, and life.


Topped off – Versace

Worn tightly wrapped around the head and neck and topped off with a complimenting beret, Donatella’s take on the scarf is the most calculated – it also works to show off a sculptural earring. It taps into the kind of ornate dressing that defines our current era – an unapologetic character-defining look that makes a statement in the way it remixes and combines the plethora of references we have to draw from when getting dressed.

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