Scarves are usually more of an afterthought for most men. If it is cold outside and you face a long walk to work, a wool scarf is functional and warm. But when it comes to accessorizing with scarves – whether they be wool, cashmere, knit, or men’s silk scarves – men have even less of a clue than many women. Scarves, however, have long been a staple for men’s wardrobes, and when you know a few simple rules, you can use scarves with confidence in all formal, dressy, and casual situations without looking odd.
Choosing a Scarf
Most men prefer unobtrusive scarves, meaning that the colors and patterns are not too eye-catching. For men, function is paramount, and a functional scarf is generally long and fairly thin. Depending on your height, choose a scarf that is between 50” and 90”, with 70” being about average. The width should be around 10” wide to keep it from being too thin (which is a more feminine look) and too wide (which makes it very bulky). There are no absolute rules, of course, and your scarf shape, width, and length are entirely up to you and your personal preferences. Choose formal fabrics for formal attire or dressy business attire (silk or cashmere) while saving the more casual knits for your blue jeans days, and select a color or pattern that is to your liking. Darker colors, a nice accent color that isn’t too frou-frou, simple plaids, and other muted patterns are perfect.
To Knot or Not to Knot?
After you’ve chosen your scarf or scarves, the hardest part is already over. Wearing the scarf is almost purely academic at this point. For fall or winter weather, a warm wool or soft cashmere scarf around your neck provides warmth and style. The simplest method is to drape the scarf around the back of your neck and let the ends hang down in front. Tuck the ends under your coat for security on windy days, if you wish, overlapping them for added protection to your chest. To increase warmth, you can also choose to wrap the ends once or twice around your neck, depending on how much length you have to play with. Or you can use an easy overhand knot for a classic look. Finally, get European sophistication with a Parisian knot by folding your scarf in half, holding the folded end in one hand and draping it over the back of your neck; with your other hand, slide the two ends through the folded loop. For situations where formal dress is required, draping cashmere or men’s silk scarves around your neck with no further ornamentation or knotting is understated elegance.
What If It Isn’t Cold Out?
Can you wear men’s silk scarves or other scarves when you aren’t also wearing a coat? Of course. Chilly weather is the perfect time to find and use a great scarf, but when you take off the coat, the scarf can stay on. A Parisian knot, mentioned above, is perfect for scarves worn over your shirt or sweater. Even in warm weather, a linen or cotton scarf can protect your neck from sunburn. With a little practice, you will be able to pull off wearing a scarf with ease and confidence, enjoying the benefits of its functionality while allowing it to add just a touch of sophistication to your everyday apparel.