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How to Tie a Neckerchief - The Stylish Gentleman's Guide

By Elizabeth Perkins

What is a men's neckerchief, and how does a man wear it?

Simply put, a neckerchief is a large silk bandana, a medium sized square scarf that can be styled in many ways. These neck scarves are made for both men and women. They can be made from a variety of fabrics, silk and cotton being the most common. Silk twill, in particular is used for men's neckerchiefs, known as foulards here in Italy.

Bandanas are smaller squares, approximately 22" (56cm) square.

Neckerchiefs are larger squares, approximately 27" (70cm) square.

The larger size of the neckerchief makes it more versatile than a bandana, as there are more styling options.

In this guide, we will focus on how to tie a men's neckerchief and show you several styling tips.

There is no "right" or "best" way to wear a neckerchief. Because of this it is one of the most versatile neckwear accessories a man can own, because the same scarf can create different looks.

It is so versatile, we think it should be a staple in every man's wardrobe as it can change the look of so many outfits!

How to fold a large bandana neckerchief scarf

So how does one fold a neckerchief?

Let's start with how to fold a bandana.

There are 3 basic folds.

Numbers 2 and 3 can be folded or rolled as tightly or as loosely as you want. Experiment with different looks.

How to tie a silk neckerchief
Best way to tie a neckerchief

Simple Knot

By far the most popular way to wear a neckerchief, this is a simple knot worn either tight to the neck (as shown here) or lower down. This is the simplest way to tie a silk neckerchief!

Fold your scarf as in #1 or #2, then double knot. You're done!

Tucked into your shirt

Or sweater. A really easy way to tie a bandana, that makes for a great casual look to take any outfit to the next level.

Elizabetta neckerchiefs square scarves for men

Tucked into your shirt video tutorial

You can roll your large silk menswear bandana up on a table for a neater look, or you can roll it in the air like in the video.

Best way to tie a neckerchief

Ascot Style

Much like an ascot tie, here the silk neckerchief creates an elegant but not so formal look.

It's the perfect alternative to a necktie to give your look a polished finish that people will notice.

Ascot Style Video Tutorial

How to tie your Elizabetta silk foulard as an ascot

The Cowboy

Not just cowboys (think John Wayne style) wear their neckerchiefs, often called a wild rag, this way. This look works great with a t-shirt, crewneck and V-neck sweaters, and button-down shirts (with the top button undone). You can wear it with the point in the center, or if you're after a more rakish look, wear it off-center.

Fold your bandana in the triangle fold. Drape the point in front and tie the loose ends behind your neck. Pretty simple, and very effective.

Elizabetta best square neck scarves for gentlemen

The Faux Necktie

Try this for a change from the classic silk tie.

You can create two very different looks. The higher you make the knot, the more polished the look, the lower you make the knot the more carefree and rakish. 

The late singer Dean Martin rocked the latter style!

Fold your scarf as in #2 or #3. 

Here simply make a four-in-hand knot and wear your scarf either with the knot close to your neck or lower down if you are looking for a more casual look.  

You can style this with a button-down, a V-neck or a crew neck shirt. Experiment. Any way you wear this, you'll look great!

A Short History of Men's Scarves

Men's neckwear has a long history, and smaller scarves worn around the neck for practical purposes date back many centuries as a working-class clothing accessory. Soldiers, sailors, workmen, farmers, cowboys and more wore neck scarves to protect themselves against the constant onslaught of dust and sweat. Over 2000 years ago, Roman soldiers wore scarves called a focale to protect their skin from the metal armor that they wore.

In the 1800s, upper class men in Europe wore a type of neckwear called cravats as decorative neckwear. Cravats originally were silk neck scarves worn by Croatian soldiers in the service of the French army during the reign of Louis XIV (1643–1715). That is an interesting story which we tell in another article!

In the 1920s, along the Italian and French Rivieras, the vacationing elite were wearing shirts which were open collared, both polo shirts and button down shirts, and many covered their exposed chest with a silk neckerchief worn tucked into the shirt as a cravat would be worn, or worn tied with a simple knot to create a more rakish look.

This style  of neckwear became popular in the 1930s and continued into the 1960s and now in the 2020s we are seeing a resurgence in the popularity of the look, and for good reason. What other piece of neckwear can change your look in so many ways?

Handmade Italian large silk bandana neckerchief scarf


Handmade Italian large silk bandana neckerchief scarf


Handmade Italian large silk bandana neckerchief scarf


Handmade Italian large silk bandana neckerchief scarf


Handmade Italian large silk bandana neckerchief scarf

Pure Italian Silk

Here at Elizabetta we make pure silk neckerchiefs in original, unique, exclusive designs.

All are made in Como, Italy in smaller mills that are eco-conscious and worker friendly. Our neckerchiefs are printed using non-toxic vegetable dyes on silk twill and the hems are rolled by hand as they are sewn to give the edges a refined finish.

We go a step further, giving the silk special washes to give it a dull sheen, to make it less shiny and more masculine in its appearance.

Because the silk neckerchief is usually worn around the neck, we recommend silk twill as your beard or stubble will not snag it as easily as silk satin. This helps your neckerchief to look fresh for many years.