For the discerning gentleman, a collection of scarves is an essential part of his wardrobe. Once you master how to wear a scarf then it will provide color, variety, and personality throughout the whole year.
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But which scarf do you choose and how do you wear it? With so many shapes, colors and textures out there, it’s important to choose the right scarf for the occasion and know how to tie it properly.
Otherwise, you’ll be uncomfortable at best and at worst you’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.
How to Wear and Tie Any Scarf
1. How to Tie Long / Winter Scarves
A quality winter scarf should last a lifetime if well looked after. Whether your scarf is knitted out of the finest cashmere or woven out of a silk-wool blend, a good winter scarf will keep you feeling warm AND looking super cool.
There are endless ways to wear a scarf. Throw one loosely around your neck for a relaxed, bohemian feel or let it hang straight down for a no-nonsense look. However, tying a scarf looks polished and is actually a lot quicker and simpler than it looks.
- Start by folding the scarf in half.
- Lay the folded scarf across the back of your neck and over the front of your shoulders so the folded side makes a loop.
- Insert the two loose ends into the loop and tighten it up until it feels comfortable.
In terms of style, guys tend towards dark and plain designs as it’s felt that the accessory should match the coat.
However, if you’re feeling bold, think outside the box and go for bright red, burnt orange or turquoise scarves instead. It will go with most winter outfits (or clash delightfully with them) and you’ll really turn heads.
When: Autumn, Winter, Spring
For: Outdoor Activities, Getting from A-B, Keeping Warm in General
Scarf Materials: Cashmere, Wool, Alpaca, Silk-Wool Blend
2. How to Wear Thin / Silk Scarves
Wearing a scarf instead of a necktie is a way to level up your style game completely. It’s a bold look that’s better suited to social events or fashion-forward workplaces.
This look is the perfect antidote to regular conservative suits so don’t be shy! It’s a way to show off your personal taste and style, and don’t forget to add a complimentary pocket square.
The first trick is to pick a proper scarf. The silk square is the classic ‘foulard’ (French for scarf or neckerchief). Although often perceived as a lady’s accessory it can, of course, be worn by men. Generally, gentlemen wear a slightly smaller size of silk square at around 65cm x 65cm.
Pocket squares can also be repurposed as miniature neckerchiefs. Check that your square is the right size to do this… it must be around 42cm x 42cm or it will be too tight for all but the most waif-like amongst us.
How to Tie A Scarf as a Neckerchief
You can fold the scarf into a triangle and knot the two corners together behind your neck for a sheriff’s bandana look.
If you are wearing a collared shirt, place the scarf or pocket square inside the collar with the shirt left open at the neck and it will look like a cravat.
Alternatively, you can roll this into a thin strip and tie it around your neck with the knot at the front.
You can also fold it in half to create a triangle and drape this around the neck for a bolder look that displays more of the pattern and color.
Look out for scarves with ‘hand-rolled’ hems. This is an individually finished touch that shows that your accessory is not mass-produced. It also helps the scarf drape with a delightful luxurious feel.
When: All Seasons
For: Indoor Events, Red Carpet, Cocktail Parties, Street Fashion, Festivals
Material: Silk Twill, Satin Georgette, Silk Crepe de Chine, Linen, Cotton
3. How to Wear Chunky, Dress, and Short Scarves
Chunky, dress and short scarves are each quite different but ultimately can be worn in a similar way.
• Chunky scarves can be bulky and difficult to layer under your jacket or wrap around your neck.
• Short scarves are often too short to gracefully loop around your neck or be folded.
• Dress scarves are used primarily for aesthetic purposes, they’re about displaying color and personal style rather than actual warmth.
In all these cases, sometimes the best solution is the easiest. Let your scarf drape around the back of your neck and hang down straight in front. If it’s windy you can tuck the ends into your jacket or coat to make sure the scarf stays in place.
Since your scarf is highly visible when worn over your clothing in a simple drape, make sure it complements the rest of your outfit. While it doesn’t have to match exactly, it should be a similar weight and color-scheme.
When: All Seasons
For: Winter Days, Summer Evenings, Street Fashion, Indoor Events, Festivals
Materials: Cashmere, Wool, Alpaca, Silk-Wool Blend, Linen, Cotton
What fabrics are scarves made of?
This is the most famous silk for scarves with a slightly ribbed texture that runs along the weave. It comes in several weights and drapes elegantly but has some stiffness.
Importantly the ribbing gives the scarf grip so that once knotted it will stay in place better than other more slippery silks.
Satin is a lustrous and super-soft fabric usually made from 100% silk or sometimes man-made materials.
There are a variety of weights and weaves including Satin Georgette which is beautifully sensual and flows like liquid. It’s great for a glamorous touch and looks like pure luxury.
Crepe de Chine
This weave of silk is fantastic for print and you can achieve the crispest designs with great colour penetration through to the back of the fabric.
It has a soft touch, a slight stretch to it and in the light it has a delightful lustre. The crepe refers to its slightly rough texture, a bit like crepe paper.
This is the wool of the alpaca, which is a type of South American mammal similar to the llama. The wool is like a sheep’s, although warmer and not as water repellent.
It can be considered ethical as the animal can only be shorn once a year and the relatively light demand for this fleece means that there is less pressure on farmers to maximize production. It’s shiny, soft, gorgeous to wear and makes for a superior scarf.
This is often considered the king of fabrics (which is reflected in the price!). The wool comes from the cashmere goat. The fibers are softer, stronger, more lightweight and much more insulating than traditional sheep wool (up to three times).
Most of the world’s cashmere comes from around the Gobi Desert and perhaps the finest comes from Mongolia.
Most wool is created from the fleece of the familiar sheep. It’s warm, relatively inexpensive (depending on the variety) and will last a lifetime if looked after properly.
A little known fact about wool is that it is also water resistant. If left untreated it contains a fatty lanolin and can be almost waterproof. Even the more processed, finer wools retain some of the waterproofing qualities.
Cotton provides a cool fabric and a practical choice for a scarf as it’s easy to wash and pretty durable. It’s perfect for a less dressy scarf for more relaxed occasions.
Linen is made by spinning and weaving the fibers from the flax plant. The fabric is famous for being breathable and very absorbent, making it perfect for hot climates or summer wear.