It’s that time of year again when it’s necessary to sprinkle vitamin D tablets onto your porridge and switch the on SAD light just to be able to haul yourself from out beneath the covers. And they call this the most wonderful time of the year?
One thing that does warm our cockles, however, is that the frostier months provide the opportunity to add an additional accessory to our sartorial arsenal. And speaking of Arsenal, well we’ll get to them in a bit.
We are, of course, talking about scarves. Beloved by Rupert the Bear, Lenny Kravitz and all knitting beginners, they’re a winter essential – but it’s not as simple as just throwing any old one on.
Winter Scarves Buying Considerations
When it comes to scarf shopping, take a practical stance, “The first thing to consider is the purpose,” says Chris Hobbs, senior style editor at MatchesFashion.com. “Is it a day scarf to keep you warm on the early morning commute? Is it more as a statement or a fashion buy? Or do you want to add a pop of colour into your wardrobe?”
Ultimately, like most items of clothing, there is a lot of choice, so being clear about why you want the scarf helps the decision making. “Personally, I like big scarves that envelop me – I want them to be fit for purpose and to keep me warm.” If the answer to all of the above questions is “yes” then it might be smart to buy a few different scarves for different purposes.
With shelves groaning under the weight of everything your chilly neck could desire, it’s an open playing field when it comes to choosing a style of scarf.
If you’re looking for a lifetime scarf, then natural fabrics like wool and cashmere are going to be best. Wool is warm, breathable, sustainable and biodegradable. The only concern is looking after a more traditional scarf. “Most are made from natural wools and cashmere and can snag easily,” warns Hobbs. “Be careful about how you store them and beware of moths.”
There is no right or wrong colour when it comes to a winter scarf. This isn’t LA in the nineties – you’re not going to be mistaken for a Crip just because the scarf your nan has knitted you is navy. But as with fabric considerations, if you’re looking for a scarf that will go the distance, then a neutral hue is the wisest choice.
“Without wishing to sound boring, invest in either black, navy, camel or grey,” recommends Hobbs. “These are classic colours that can work with any outfit and which rise above seasonal trends.”
5 Winter Scarf Styles To Consider
If you want a scarf that’s respectable enough to wear with a tailored overcoat for work but would also look good with a more casual weekend look, opt for a thicker knit in a neutral shade. Look for something made from 100 per cent wool for a sustainable, biodegradable piece which will keep you warm but not sweaty.
Today’s luxury scarf is either a beautifully soft, cashmere knit or a high-fashion statement. Both have their merits, it just depends on whether you’re looking for something to treasure, which you take out of the cedar chest every winter, or that have-to-have piece which, realistically, could be a one-season wonder.
Don’t believe what people say, size does matter. And shape. A comically long and skinny scarf is of no use to anyone, but a wide, blanket-style scarf will forever be practical. Buy in a neutral shade or classic print and it’ll make a brilliant everyday scarf. And don’t forget to take it with you on a flight as it will double up as a secondary blanket.
Although it might not be the done-thing to wear your team’s kit on the terraces (for fear of having your butt handed to you after the final whistle), winter is a good chance to show your beloved team that you care. Don’t have a team? Either swerve this trend or go global and pick the scarf of your favourite country. Be warned, there will be a general expectation that you understand the offside rule.
Just like a Prince of Wales suit, a patterned scarf – think stripes, camouflage, tartan or plaid – in good quality wool or cashmere, has the ability to become a wardrobe hero that will last for decades to come. Just ask Thomas Burberry, if you don’t believe us.
How To Wear A Scarf
Menswear has been in a state of flux ever since guys started pairing sneakers with their suits, meaning the rules that once applied now get a frosty reception. “Never say ‘no-no’ because we’ve seen everything from quilting and bright prints to fashionable versions of the humble football scarf,” says Hobbs.
The only style concern you ought to have is the dress code – if you work in the city and are expected to wear a shiny shoe then a Givenchy technical logo scarf might look a bit incongruous. Ditto, if you work on a building site, then a fine-knit cashmere scarf that could be snagged in a second probably isn’t the wisest of moves. Ultimately though, it’s like Hobbs says, “Anything goes, really.”
Best Winter Scarves Brands
From the brand’s vintage check to its reimagining of the football scarf, Burberry neckwear is iconic. Half a century after it first appeared, the reworked version of the British brand’s traditional style is still ticking all the boxes. “I like the vintage feel of the slightly padded, vintage effect Burberry scarf – it’s an original take on the classic Burberry check.”
Exclusive to MatchesFashion, Raey creates expertly crafted scarves that you’ll be able to pass on to your grandchildren – supposing the world hasn’t heated up to the point that they’re rendered redundant. Snap up one of its feather-light cashmere styles for something that will pair effortlessly with a suit.
Acne Studios is the first port of call for (very) elevated basics. Its pieces aren’t cheap, but the selection is superlative and the quality is assured. “Acne Studios always creates great scarves – its ‘Canada’ style is really wide and a favourite of mine,” says Hobbs.
A Mod-favourite, Fred Perry recently collaborated with Nicholas Daley, a designer famed for his celebration of British manufacturing. And when you look at Perry’s scarf selection, you can see that their Venn diagram has a fair bit of crossover with its tartan scarves woven in Scotland and the archival logo scarves made in Leicester.
Crafted from ultra-soft wool, Weekday’s handsome selection of shawl-style scarves belies their more than reasonable price tag. From rich greens to classic shades of taupe, black and grey, this Swedish brand takes a typically Scandi approach, offering premium quality, for the many.
With shelves that ache under its impressive range, high street stalwart John Lewis is always a good starting place when scarf shopping. As well as its impressive roster of brands – Jigsaw, Mulberry, Paul Smith – the department store also houses exclusive collaborations with the likes of It’s All Good Folk, a sustainable spin-off label from British brand Folk.
You could get a designer version of a football scarf. Or you could get an actual football scarf. Sporting Kicks has one of the best selections online with International scarves like World Cup Winners France and World Cup Style Winners Nigeria to local teams like League Two’s Carlisle United.
Johnstons Of Elgin
In 1797, while George III was lounging on the throne, Mr Johnston founded his now celebrated textile brand. Crafted from the finest cashmere and merino wool, scarves by Johnstons Of Elgin are so luxurious that they’ve attracted the royal seal of approval from the next in line to the throne. And if it’s good enough for the Windsors.