The Y2K Skinny Scarf Look Is Coming Back. Here's How To Style It

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are married, "Gossip Girl" is a popular teen show, and chunky highlights are all the rage — the aughts are clearly back, big time. Those who remember the 2000s know that the decade was all about tacky and maximalist fashion, and one thing we millennials adored was wearing skinny scarves. From colorful and messy knitted ones that we paired with tube tops and low-rise jeans to edgy striped black and white ones which we wore with our favorite Hot Topic band tee — no matter what style you were going for, in the 2000s, a skinny scarf was a closet essential.

And no, don't be ridiculous, we didn't wear them for warmth — that thin pointless piece of fabric couldn't do anything for our body temperature. Instead, we wore skinny scarves as an accessory, that perfect cherry on top that made our outfits whole. So by the power vested in me by Juicy Couture tracksuits and Ed Hardy hats, here's how to wear a skinny scarf in 2023!

Mismatch your skinny scarf and your hat

A skinny scarf can easily take a boring outfit and give it that French je ne sais quoi, especially if paired with a beret in a different color. But hey, even if that whole French girl aesthetic isn't your vibe, you can still rock a skinny scarf — just pair it with your favorite hat, regardless of its style. A skinny scarf in a neutral color works with literally everything!

Add a pop of color with a skinny scarf

The main reason why skinny scarves were so popular 20 years ago is that they are an easy thing to throw on to add a bit more color and dimension to your whole look. Since they are thin, they won't make you sweat like a normal scarf might — which also makes them perfect for warmer days. A skinny scarf in a vibrant color immediately takes a simple outfit to the next level!

Pick an ultra-long skinny scarf to elongate your look

Apart from adding a new texture or color to your outfit, skinny scarves can also elongate you visually by adding vertical lines to your physique. To achieve the maximum effect, opt for an ultra-long skinny scarf, preferably in a dark shade. Black is always a color that works well with any outfit!

A colorful skinny scarf will brighten up any outfit

Picking a skinny scarf in one vibrant color is great, but if you really want to go the 2000s route — pick a skinny scarf that is knitted in multiple vibrant shades, like the one above. Extra points if the scarf looks a bit messy, with frilly ends popping out of it. A scarf like this will immediately make the whole outfit more intentional, even if you're literally just wearing sweatpants and a puffer jacket.

A skinny scarf with tassels will add extra movement to your outfit

Tassels were a huge trend in the early aughts, and if you had a skinny scarf with tassels, you were definitely a style icon. Since skinny scarves serve no purpose but to simply exist on you, a skinny scarf with tassels can add some extra movement to your outfit.

A sequined skinny scarf will add glamour to any outfit

Sequins were another essential part of the 2000s — and back then, we would often go all out and rock them head to toe. Of course, in 2023, nobody wants to be a walking disco ball, which is why sequins are usually found on accessories like bags or heels. A skinny scarf is a great way to add a bit of sparkle to your look in a very glamorous and elegant way — not that we knew anything about glamour and elegance back then.

Pair a skinny scarf with an oversized blazer, boots, and a statement bag

To avoid looking like you were just a guest at TRL, try combining a skinny scarf with other contemporary trends that aren't reminiscent of the 2000s. For example, pair a skinny scarf with an oversized blazer, classy hoop earrings, and timeless black boots. The scarf will add the perfect amount of fun without taking anything away from the entire outfit.

A skinny scarf is a great way to accessorize a summery outfit

Scarves are generally a winter clothing item, but a skinny scarf really works all year round. If anything, it is more wearable in spring and summer when you don't need it to warm you up. Because of this, skinny scarves are great to put on with a summer outfit — they instantly add more drama to any clothing combo!

Break up a monochromatic outfit by matching a skinny scarf with your shoes

Did it ever happen to you that you somehow end up putting on a monochromatic outfit, and once you're about to head out the door, you realize the shoes you picked kind of don't match since they are in a different color? Cue: The skinny scarf — a simple accessory that can help save the day. Seriously, pairing a skinny scarf with the shoes will immediately make them work, and you are ready to go and conquer the world. Or run errands, whichever.

Pair a skinny scarf with matching fingerless gloves and a sleeveless top

Who says that scarves and gloves are something one can only wear when it's cold outside? Truth, if there's one thing you take away from 2000s fashion, let it be that there are no rules in fashion. Trust us — after all, we are the ones who wore dresses over pants. Besides, fingerless gloves and a matching skinny scarf are absolute perfection when paired with a corset top and trousers!

Go for an ultra-skinny scarf to rock with necklaces

If you're under the impression that picking a skinny scarf means you can't accessorize with necklaces, we're here to tell you that is not the case. Yes, skinny scarves are skinny, but even within that category, there can be a huge difference. Some skinny scarves are so thin that they don't even look like scarves anymore — and it is exactly those that you should pair with necklaces!

A ruffled skinny scarf adds texture to any outfit

By now, it's clear that there is so much variety within the skinny scarf genre that there is undoubtedly something for everyone. If you are a cottagecore girlie who loves anything vintage, bohemian, and handmade, a ruffly ivory skinny scarf is bound to make your life feel more complete.

Use a skinny scarf to mix and match patterns

Mixing patterns is a recurring trend in every decade, and it's perhaps one of the most difficult ones to execute without feeling overwhelmed. An easy way to approach mixing patterns is to ensure the second pattern of the outfit is on a smaller clothing piece — like a skinny scarf!

Rock a skinny scarf with other y2k classics

A 2000s skinny scarf can be modernized to look more contemporary, but why fix something if it isn't broken? The easiest way to pull off a skinny scarf is to wear it exactly how we used to back in 2002 when the Olsen twins were still acting and connecting to the internet still made a lot of sounds.

Wear a skinny scarf backward with a dress

A skinny scarf provides so much versatility that we're still finding new ways to wear it (even two decades after it experienced its fashion peak). If you have a backless dress or a backless top, consider giving it a bit more zhuzh by draping the ends of your skinny scarf down your back.

Combine a striped skinny scarf with a plaid skirt for a punk-rock look

Skinny scarves were essential for anyone who was shopping at Hot Topic and listening to Avril Lavigne. This just goes to prove that no matter what style you were into, there was always space for a skinny scarf. In 2023, you can bring back some of that punk rock vibe by wearing a skinny striped scarf with a retro low-rise plaid skirt and one (or two) belts.

Pick a skinny scarf in the same color but a different shade from your top

Skinny scarves can add some contrast to an outfit or seamlessly blend into it — whichever you prefer. If you're looking for a modern way to incorporate them into your style without looking like you time traveled from the aughts, pick a skinny scarf in a neutral color like beige, gray, or black — since those are the easiest to combine with any wardrobe.

Wear a skinny scarf as a belt

Even though they are called scarves, that doesn't mean you have to wear them the traditional way (around your neck, for instance). A skinny scarf works great as a belt; in fact, it can add a hint of bohemian style to any outfit! Just make sure to tie it on either side and let its ends hang loose!

Keep the outfit monochromatic

A lot of times, monochromatic looks can seem boring since there are only so many clothing items you can layer to add slightly different hues or textures. If you love a monochromatic fit, consider getting skinny scarves in your go-to colors. They are an easy way to add more to the outfit without too much effort!

Pair a skinny scarf with an off-the-shoulders top

Just like necklaces, a skinny scarf is perfect for accentuating your neck, collarbone, décolleté, and shoulders. Because of this, pairing a skinny scarf with an off-the-shoulder top or dress will always look stylish, no matter what. The rest is up to you — you can go for the same color, a different one, a pattern, or a completely different texture like sequins or tassels.

A velvet skinny scarf will immediately add elegance

Velvet is a fabric that oozes elegance and classiness, and a skinny scarf in velvet is everything but y2k tacky. Even though a skinny velvet scarf can be worn year-round, we recommend you stick to the colder months since velvet tends to be a fabric most associate with winter and the holidays. This means that your Christmas 2023 outfit may have just gotten its first puzzle piece!

Add the skinny scarf to your hair

Another fun way to rock your skinny scarf is to add it to your hair. This works best with cotton and silk, since knitted ones are generally too thick. And honestly, the options are endless — you can wear it as a headband, incorporate it into a braid, or wrap it into a bow around your ponytail ... in the words of the true queen of the 2000s, Lindsay Lohan — the limit does not exist!

Tie the skinny scarf in the front

The best part about a super skinny scarf is that it allows you to experiment with plenty of ways to wear it. Sure, you can rock it the traditional way by letting its ends hang down, but what if you tied those ends loosely in the front? One simple knot completely changed the way this accessory looks!

Wear a skinny scarf with a tube top and denim maxi skirt

Tube tops and denim maxis were huge trends in the 2000s, and those two, together with a skinny scarf, are the perfect nostalgic outfit (yes, I'm refusing to call it retro). This combination is not only stylish but also so comfortable that those who give it a try are bound to rock different versions of it all spring and summer long.

Tie a bow around your neck with the skinny scarf

If the loose ends of a skinny scarf that are just hanging in the front or back aren't cutting it for you — try tying them into a bow. This will not only add plenty of texture to your look, but it will also add some preppiness, meaning that it's the perfect way to rock a skinny scarf if you're into that whole dark academia aesthetic!