Differences between a Scarf, Bandana, Shawl, Wrap, Twilly and Stole

Many people can confuse scarves, bandanas, shawls, wraps, twillies, and stoles for one another. But all those are different fashion accessories. Read on to learn the differences.

Thanks to its ever-changing styles and trends, the world of fashion can be pretty enthralling. People interested in the industry love to know about the latest en-vogue dressing choices ruling the runways. While almost all fashion-related articles have a distinctive existence and purpose (that the general public also knows of), some can be confused for one other. And that fits perfectly in the case of shawls, scarves, bandanas, shawls, wraps, twillies, and stoles.  

Most, if not all, people tend to mistake a scarf for a stole, a wrap for a shawl, a bandana for a twilly. But these are only a few examples of how someone can switch said fashion accessories for each other. To clear such a wildly common misconception, here are all the differences between a scarf, bandana, shawl, wrap, twilly, and stole.

A Scarf

The gorgeous multifunctional scarf is a trendy clothing add-on that is used worldwide. Be it a-list celebrities, socialites, corporate officials, people love to wrap around a scarf and go about their business feeling confident in their look.

Despite being a commonly donned accessory, a scarf is frequently mistaken for its fellow fashion articles, like a stole or wrap. It is a rectangular, triangular, or square-shaped piece of fabric that's wrapped around one's neck, particularly in the winter. Some people also like to wear it on their heads and use it as a headscarf.

Although a scarf is more readily worn during the chilly season, it is not exclusive to wintertime. It also goes with summer looks as effortlessly as it does with winter ensembles. That said, scarves are typically preferred in thick textiles, such as cashmere and wool. But there is no limitation on material choices when it comes to scarves. From silk to woven, there is an endless variety of scarves on the market.

But that's not all; besides the many fabric choices in scarves, there are also various styles that a person can choose from. Here are some popular scarf styles.

Over-Sized Neck Scarf

As the name suggests, the oversized scarf is a large piece of fabric placed around the neck while its two ends dangle in front of the wearer's torso.

Silk Square Scarves or Foulards

A foulard is a square-shaped piece of fabric that is tied around the neck. It first gained popularity in Europe, but in the 50s and 60s, it made its way to Hollywood and took over the fashion world by storm.

Pashmina or Oblong Scarves

Long or oblong scarves a sizeable rectangular cloth thrown around the neck with its hems going down to the wearer's thighs. Of course, they can have smaller dimensions too, but usually, they are pretty long.

An oblong scarf is a popular clothing article for wintertime as it resembles a muffler.

Long Scarves For Women 

A long scarf for women is a thin (fairly flimsy), medium-sized piece of textile that can be worn as a headscarf but is more often than not draped around the neck.


As the title gives it away, a neckerchief is a rather tiny fabric that is tied around the neck. Some people also sometimes use it as a bandana.

A Twilly

A twilly falls under the umbrella of scarves, made with 100% silk. It is a long and noticeably narrow rectangular garment that goes around the neck. However, in some cases, it is also used as a headscarf, hairband or bag accessory.

A twilly is generally associated with women than men, but of course, both can wear it.

A Bandana

A bandana falls in a subcategory of scarves as it is a small piece of textile that is originally squared but folded to make it a triangular accessory.

Bandanas can be synonymously used with neckerchiefs. They are relatively more famous among men than women. However, there is no restriction on women in terms of wearing a bandana to transform their look.

A Shawl

A shawl is a large piece of fabric that covers up the entire (or most of the) body, unlike a scarf that covers the neck, chest, or head.

Shawls are used in the winter than in summer as they keep the body warm. This is why shawls are typically made of woven textiles. They are equally popular in men and women.

A Stole

A stole is a more refined version of a shawl made of luxury fabrics to match formalwear. People tend to wear stoles at parties and evening events to accentuate their looks. It is also used as graduation sash. 

A stole is a decorative accessory rather than a functional one, but it can also be used for the latter. It is believed to have originated in Ancient Rome, where men used to wear a toga and the female version of which was the Roman stole, hence the name stole. 

A Wrap

A wrap is essentially just a term used to refer to all kinds of upper wear, including shawls, wraps, stoles, etc. It can be pretty confusing as many people can use it as a separate accessory altogether when in reality, it is a general name given to all clothing add-ons.

A Quick Recap

A Scarf

A Shawl

A Stole

A Bandana

A Wrap

A Twilly

A scarf is typically a square or triangular (it can also be rectangular) piece of garment that’s used to drape the shoulders or wrap around the neck.

A shawl is markedly longer than a scarf or stole and is draped around the upper body.

A stole is primarily a rectangular piece of clothing used to cover the neck or chest area of the body.

A stole is pretty much like a shawl but made with much fancier fabrics appropriate for grand gatherings and evening parties.


A bandana is a rather small triangular (or square-shaped folded such as to make it triangular) fabric usually wrapped around the head.

Some people tie it around the neck as well, in which case it’s called a neckerchief- which is a subtype of scarves.

A wrap is just an epithet given to all sartorial accessories used over any outfit to enhance the look or cover the body.

A twilly is a type of long and narrow scarf made with 100% silk.

Scarves are mainly associated with women.

Generally speaking, shawls are unisex.

In some cultures, it is also used as a headscarf.

Bandana is more commonly seen in men. However, women can wear it too.

The term wrap is used for all clothing add-ons, regardless of the sex of the wearer.

Twillies are more common among women than in men.







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