Scarf-tying 2.0: Twist it up a notch

Take that swag of fabric around your neck beyond the basic

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Portrait of Kyler Powell and his hand-tied scarf with a pretzel knot. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / May 19, 2011)

One of the fastest, best — and cheapest — ways to add some zing to your look this season is to twist a scarf around your neck.

Lightweight, seasonal scarves are everywhere, starting at just a few dollars at giant retailers like Old Navy, Target and Wal-Mart.

But how to wrangle this hunk of fabric into shape?

Many of us have mastered the basics and they're the looks you see most often — on the stars in People Magazine as well as on real people at the coffee shop and on the bus. They're easy to do and don't require much thought.

Now, it's time get ready to move on to scarf-tying 2.0. I first spotted this intricate and totally cool method of knotting a scarf by accident at an indoor mall.

Standing near the lobby concierge desk, tying and untying his scarf was Kyler Powell, 24, a Chicago event planner. Some strangers had spotted his knotted scarf and demanded a lesson. When I saw the intricate knot he had created I had to learn how to do it too.

Powell did his best to teach me, showing me the technique at least a half dozen times and I STILL didn't get it. So, I asked him to come to the newsroom and do the whole thing in slow motion so illustrator Rick Tuma could create these step-by-step instructions.

Powell is quick to say he didn't invent the pretzel — though he named it that. He spotted it on a man at a party last New Year's Eve and asked for tying lessons right then and there. It took Powell at least 10 tries to master it.

After much practice (looking in the mirror helped), I finally got it. And you can too.

The technique works really well with any long rectangular scarf — cotton or silk in the warm months, heavier fabrics and pashminas when the temp drops.

Tape these instructions to a mirror or inside a closet and don't despair: If I can learn it, anyone can. And, trust me, people will stop and ask you how you did it.

shopellen@tribune.com

Follow @ellenwarreninfo on Twitter
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