Would you rather brave the cold than figure out how men are supposed to wear scarves?
If so, you’re not alone!
How to wear a winter scarf in a way that looks both manly and smart (as opposed to the absent-minded-professor or walking-the-dog-in-the-park look) is something that baffles many men.
So they steer clear of an accessory that has huge potential for them – both functionally and stylistically.
We wondered if what unnerves men most is that scarves are so different from ties. Ties are precise. One glance in the mirror and you know whether you’ve got it right. Whereas scarves are not only altogether more individual – but they seem to have to be worn with a certain nonchalance. As if the wearer isn’t trying.
And it’s impossible for anyone to effect that nonchalance when they’re not 100% sure what they’re doing!
With that in mind, we decided it was high time we put together some tips for pulling off the chic, effortless, ‘nonchalant’ look – quickly and confidently – before you dash out of the door.
Start by choosing the right man’s scarf
As with all accessories, your choice of scarf is very much a matter of personal taste. But there are a few things it’s worth bearing in mind when you buy.
So, before we get into the business of the easiest, most effective ways to knot your scarf, here are some selection tips …
The ideal men’s scarf can be anywhere between 16 and 30 cm wide (that’s around 6 to 12 inches) and between 140 and 178 cm long (that’s around 55 to 70 inches). Any shorter and you’ll be limited as to how you can tie it. Any longer and, unless you’re unusually tall, it risks being too bulky or peeking out below the hem of your jacket.
And it has to be cashmere
Yes, a smart winter scarf does need to be cashmere.
This isn’t just to be elitist. Comfort-wise, cashmere is soft and warm – and, essentially, it will never prickle or chafe. Style-wise, the fineness of the yarn ensures that it’s not too bulky. And nobody wants either an itchy neck or a big, snowman-style knot.
An investment in a high quality fine cashmere scarf is an investment in years of stylish, cosy warmth.
By contrast, anything hand-knitted (however lovingly) will be too chunky to tie neatly. And, at the other extreme, anything super-lightweight will fail to serve the essential purpose of keeping you warm – and risks looking effeminate. Ditto anything excessively fringed or adorned.
Pattern or no pattern?
A brightly coloured, boldly patterned scarf gives you the opportunity to make a statement. Or to transform a sobre outfit.
But unless you specifically want to have lots of different boldly patterned winter scarves, it’s probably easier to do this with bright ties and pocket squares. And stick to one or two single-coloured scarves.
Colour is such a personal thing.
A brightly coloured scarf, just like a bright tie, can always be relied upon to liven up a bland outfit.
But if it’s a quieter sort of elegance that you’re after, our advice is to play safe and stick to strong, chic masculine colours – like charcoal, navy and black – that tone with the rest of your outfits.
How to tie a man’s winter scarf
There are lots of knot options. (And then there’s the classic drape too, which doesn’t involve any tying at all – see below.)
The purpose of this article being to make smart masculine scarf-wearing easy (and to give you maximum scarf-wearing confidence), we’ve picked two of the simplest knots: the Parisian and the over hand.
How to tie a man’s scarf in a Parisian knot
The Parisian knot is quick, easy, stylish – and failsafe.
Fold the scarf in two, end to end. Drape it around the back of your neck. Slip both ends through the loop in front of your chest and adjust to achieve the tightness to achieve the look and the warmth you want.
You don’t need to pull the knot up too tight under your chin. Showing a bit of collar and tie above the scarf can be a nice touch – but it’s not worth catching a chill over!
The ends of the scarf can be worn either inside or outside your coat or jacket, depending on how much of a focal point you want the scarf to be – and how biting the cold.
How to tie a man’s scarf in an over hand knot
Drape the scarf around the back of your neck so that both ends hang in front – with one end twice as long as the other. Next take the long end across your body, over the opposite shoulder and around the back of your neck. As you bring it back in front of you, slip it under the loop that’s under your chin. It will now hang in front over you, over the top of the other end. Adjust the knot to achieve the desired tightness.
The over hand knot is a neat one that works best with the ends tucked into your jacket or coat.
How to drape a man’s scarf
The classic drape is undeniably the easiest, most nonchalant way for a man to wear a scarf – but certainly not the warmest!
Simply drape the scarf around the back of your neck, with both ends (which should be even in length) hanging in front. That’s it.
A draped scarf works brilliantly under deep V-necked overcoats (as Barack Obama wore his on inauguration day) and also with suits and sport jackets.
Or, if warmth is not an issue, you can create an entirely different effect by wearing it outside your coat or jacket.
If your scarf is long and you would like to secure it neatly in place, you can wrap the ends together behind your back at waist level.
So! We hope we’ve convinced you and you’ll never have to suffer cold draughts creeping down inside your coat or jacket again!
If you’re feeling inspired to find your ultimate cashmere scarf, why not pop over and take your pick?