We love a good scarf. It’s the grace note of a well-dressed man—a sliver of color in a gray season. And since we’ll be wearing one every day once winter ramps up, it’s easy to get emotional about things.

But for all the wisdom and hype in our corner of the blogosphere, there’s really only one thing that matters in finding a good scarf. And it’s definitely not how you tie it…

We like to have fun with scarf knots as much as the next blogger, but the truth is, they don’t matter. A scarf is not a tie. You don’t have to match the knot to your collar, or worry about it taking flight with the next gust of wind. Just wrap it around your neck a bunch of times and then stuff it down the front of your jacket. That’s genuinely all there is to it.

The only things you should be thinking about are the look and the fabric. The look’s simple enough. You’ll be pairing this with just about every ensemble you own, so you’ll want something that plays well with every last shirt. Our favorite solution is a dull shade of an unusual color (like the muted reds on display here), but any decently complex pattern will do the job just as well. It’s hard to go wrong here.

Which is to say, the only important thing is the fabric. Really. Don’t worry about anything else. It’s hard to overstate since, in the case of the scarf, that’s all you’re buying. There’s no tricky design touch, no skilled tailoring at work. Once you find the right fabric, your job is pretty much done.

That’s part of the reason Hill-Side has stayed on our favorites list for so long. Blanket scarves like this one are pretty much trend-resistant, simply because the fabric is that much better than anything else you’d pick up. We’ve also got a soft spot for Scottish wool and English cashmere blends, but the real takeaway is to have a hand on every item before you buy it.

For extra credit: it’s a year old by now, but all of the recommendations here should hold up pretty well.

But when in doubt, follow your fingertips.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom