Scarves have a history that go back thousands of years all the way to the ancient Egyptians, who used to wear them so that the heavyweight of their jewellery was protected against their skin. This might be a long way away from how gents wear them today, but there are still similarities in that a well-chosen scarf can go a long way to adding an air of luxury and class to an overall look.
Today scarves are also be worn in a number of ways, such as the classic criss-cross fold which complements a suit and briefcase, or the single fold, often the knot of choice for indie mods. Choosing the way you are going to wear the scarf, and more importantly, what with, should be seriously considered before any purchase.
Whether you’re looking for something to stop the cold creeping through the gaps in your overcoat, or something light and colourful to protect you from the summer rays, there are endless opportunities when it comes to elevating your ensemble with a scarf.
With many choices on the market now, we’ve come up with what we think are the best designs from the best brands around, for all kinds of occasions. So, if you’re buying your first scarf or adding one to a specific new look you’re sampling this winter, check out our essential guide.
Scarf lengths range from 50 to 90 inches. For an average height men, a scarf of at least 60 inches is appropriate. Width should from 6 to 14 inches.
Scarves are typically made from either wool, cashmere or angora. Cotton, linen, silk and synthetic materials, even combinations, are also great options. Your choice of fabric should depend on the season.
Only tie knots you are comfortable wearing. The scarf length and thickness often limit knot style options, so experimenting is good. Always keep your scarf loose.
Barbour is another brand that specialises in the great outdoors. Founded in 1894 in South Shields, England, a place more associated with seaside fish and chips and soccer teams than luxury clothing brands, they’ve truly stood the test of time. This Tartan Scarf looks like something you would usually find further north of the border, with its beautiful tartan design. It’s one of the cheapest scarves on the list price-wise and made from locally sourced lambswool.
If you’re looking for quality country autumn winter wear then British brand Peregrine has been leading the way since 1796. They only use British wool in their collections, and you certainly get great value for end product. This Ecru Alpine Scarf is a cheeky nod to vintage European ski wear and is made from 100% Merino wool, offering solid warmth along with natural breathability.
This Danish brand has made a name for itself over the past few years from its production of organic tees and hoodies, designed and constructed in Portugal. Their Colourful Standard Remade scarf is made from Merino Wool that offers comfort and warmth as well as natural breathability to stop overheating. It’s also great value for a scarf that will work nicely with most winter outfits.
Quality and luxury inspired by the Mediterranean is the best way to sum up Dutch brand Aurelian, and when the sun sets on those flat waters, you may want to reach for this Extrafine Scarf. It’s made from 100% merino wool and handmade in Italy. It’s very contemporary in its design and ideal for spring or autumn temperatures, as it looks great worn over a light jumper or under a denim or trucker jacket.
Paul Smith is a designer held in the highest regard in his native UK, where he started creating and selling high-end fashion in his stores nationwide. Now firmly established globally, Paul Smith is a label of quality, with a touch of eccentricity for the stylish extrovert. Many of his garments and accessories incorporate a trademark collection of colourful stripes, as is the case with this Wool Scarf. It wouldn’t look out of place under a bit of tweed, accompanied by a nice pair of polished brogues.
Masters in the art of natural fibres, the team behind Joshua Ellis have a history of scarf making that goes all the way back to 1767. Their recent designs have become more colourful and modern, but it’s classics such as this Cashmere Pinstripe that really stand out for the well dressed modern gent. Made from 100% cashmere to keep you snug in colder climates, it’s woven to remain soft and lightweight. And above all, its great value.
Mirror In The Sky
Holding traditional cashmere production methods in high regard, Mirror In The Sky offers a wide range of authentic products made from the famed Asian fabric. This Midnight Red scarf is perfect for those chilly nights and breezy days and is about as comfortable as it gets against your skin. It’s made with 100% pure cashmere and made in Nepal, where the fibre’s productions have been mastered over hundreds of years.
Japanese label WTAPS has been the go-to brand for high-quality streetwear for the past 25 years, and have pretty much stayed on top during that time. There’s always a touch of creativity to their creations that easily separates them from the rest, and the recent revival in 90s street clobber has thrust them back into the consciousness of those in the know. This Evation Muffler is for a more casual look altogether. It’s made in Japan, and features the coordinates of WTAPS Subuya studio across its length, a nice nod to the brand’s heritage.
Back in 1996 a group of Swedish creatives formed a collective, Acne Studios, creating timeless fashion pieces in anything from ready to wear lines and footwear to denim and accessories. Their Skinny Black Scarf is made from 100% pure wool and finished with fringed edges. Simplicity is key with this scarf, as it works with just about every type of wardrobe collection, and it’s soft and comfortable enough to be worn all day, every day throughout the colder months.
First formed in East London back in 1977, Drake’s are masters when it comes to scarves, shawls and plaids. Their designs are a picture of elegant class, such as this Geometric Jacquard creation. Handmade in Scotland from a blend of cashmere and merino wool for excellent warmth and comfort, its minimalist look means that it effortlessly slips into any winter wardrobe.
From The Road
From the name of her highly successful brand to the look and feel of her creations, it’s easy to see that Susan Easton, founder and creative director of From The Road, is fond of a bit of travelling. Made from 100% fine linen in Nepal, her Tanu Scarf is featherweight when worn, and looks great with a more casual outfit. It’s one of those pieces that once put on it’s difficult to take off, like some sort of comfort blanket caressing your neck. Ideal for spring and summer when the evenings close in.
Luxury accessories with a designer edge are not the first things that pop into your head when you think of Wales, but that’s exactly where Corgi comes in. They’ve been creating scarves, socks and knitwear in a small Welsh village since 1892. Their Ribbed Scarf is perfect for winter and made from an equal blend of cashmere and wool. It’s incredibly soft for optimum comfort and handmade in the UK.
Burberry was in London back in 1856. Their concept? To protect British citizens from torrid weather. It’s safe to say they have come pretty far since then, and like Paul Smith, Burberry has managed to create a pattern that is unquestionably associated with their brand. That pattern is on offer here with this Classic Check Cashmere scarf, which has become one of their most well-known accessories. It’s the priciest scarf on the list, but I’m not sure there’s many of us who wouldn’t want to be seen wearing one!
Trivero is a district of Italy famed for its textile production, and it was at the turn of the 19th century that Loro Piana set up shop in the region. Move forward to today and the brand is famed for its high-end luxury offerings, such as this exquisite Fridged scarf. Made using a blend of only the best cashmere and silk, sourced from northern China and Mongolia, it’s incredibly soft, and aching to be worn with a loose knot over smart casual attire.