5 Tips for Wearing Scarves, Capes and Wraps

Is there anything better than wrapping up in a cozy blanket scarf to enjoy the crisp fall weather that the Midwest brings? Yesterday was my ideal fall day- a little chilly but gorgeous sunshine filtering through a few passing clouds. I also started the seasonal switch in my closet- in with the sweaters, scarves and tights, out with the tank tops, sandals and sundresses.

I am all about layers this fall. My body type makes it incredibly difficult to find sweaters that actually FIT (I have broad shoulders and a long torso…which means most sweaters look like they belong on my 2 year old daughter). I have now resorted to wraps, capes, and blanket scarves that are adjustable.

I don’t believe in strict fashion “rules” but I do believe in finding styles that look amazing on individuals. Here are a few of my tips on wearing wraps, scarves and capes, but to each their own!

Tip #1: Make sure you can move.

As a mom with two very (VERY) active kids, I actually have to move my arms. I haven’t been able to figure out how to wear a fitted cape and actually accomplish this task. I adore the Blair Waldorf-style capes, but frankly they give me T-Rex arms. They need to attach an obstacle course to fitting rooms to make sure you can complete everyday tasks, like getting your children down from the top of the cabinets or getting their heads out of the finials on the staircase. Both have happened in my house.

Tip #2: CYC (cover your crotch).

I didn’t know how to put this delicately, so I didn’t. Leggings are not pants. Here, this is a flow chart created by Amy Sly for BuzzFeed that you can print out and post next to your full length mirror (yes, you need one) in your room. No one wants to see the CT.

by Amy Sly via BuzzFeed

Tip #3: Make sure your blanket scarf more closely resembles a scarf than a blanket. 

Basically, wear your scarf, don’t let it wear you. Give a little shape to what you have going on. To go foolproof, fold the scarf diagonally into a triangle. Place the triangle with the point down near your belly button and cross the ends of the triangle around your neck; let them hang over your shoulders.

You can also double up the loop and tie the ends at the back of your neck if the scarf is long enough.

Wondering what not to do? Well, if you don’t fold the scarf at all and just drape it over your shoulders you are wearing a blanket. So don’t do that.

Tip #4: Flowy Poncho + Loose Pants = Down in the Dumps

If you are going to go loose on top, don’t go loose on bottom. They key to adding bulk is all about balance. If you are adding material on top keep your bottom slim, create some contrast. I paired leather-look fleece leggings, silver stilettos and a slim clutch with a cashmere poncho for a night out. Leather leggings, whether totally faux or for real, are a closet necessity in my book. These were around $20 at Ella Louvi last year, and are more comfortable than pajama pants. Leather in the front, stretch in the back is ideal to make sure you can move!

Tip #5: A belt can be a game changer.

Worry about drowning in fabric? A slim belt can literally tie your look together. The key here is to belt a this scarf, don’t try to tie down a chunky knit or else you will look like twine around a sausage. Warning: belting a scarf is a notch above scarf 101, so just make sure you do a 360 twirl in front of the mirror before heading out the door. Olivia Palermo is the queen of nailing this, so Google “Olivia Palermo Belt Scarf” for inspiration.

Wondering how you can get your hands on the perfect scarf? I complied a curated shopping list for you through Maven! Click on the board below- tons of gorgeous styles, most less than $100!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you purchase.



  1. October 10, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Love these tips! I wish those capes were a little more mom-friendly because I love them but you totally can't move while wearing!

    xx Nina

    • October 10, 2016 / 1:28 pm

      EXACTLY!! I tried a GORGEOUS one on yesterday in a fitting room and kept trying to flap my arms like a bird…I just don't get it. I am going to surreptitiously observe other women who wear them and see how they manage. Maybe I will ask one to help me get something down from a shelf…I just want to KNOW!