Scarves are emerging. And they’ll continue to emerge as autumn becomes winter. They’ll come in droves. In cashmeres, silks and cottons. And it’s a confusing time because, like, what do you wear at what temperature? When does a scarf turn from practical to feeling like you’re being choked by a Brillo pad?
Winter means different things to different people—as we speak, it’s already in the 30s on the Eastern Seaboard, while it’s still teetering upon 60 degrees out west.
That’s the difference between needing a light-gauge cashmere scarf and a hefty merino wool one (and only a month away from considering industrial-grade alpaca). So to help you find the right gear for what’s happening in your neck of the woods, we’ve put together:
Winter may very well be coming to a close, but your neck could still use some protecting.
Yet you’re going to want to swap out those chunky winter wool scarves for lighter, more spring-ready silk and selvedge options as the bracing cold makes way for the brisk. They’re exactly what you’ll need to navigate the sun-dependent temperature dichotomy—while lending you some extra handsomeness. And as usual, we’ve found for you the best of them on the market right now.
And, as to be expected, they’re good looking, wrap around your neck and go for about a third of what you’ll spend at most shops for the same thing (it’s hard to find a good tasseled scarf these days). For the most part, they’re in 100% wool and the requisite plaids and a sharp navy blue, but there were a couple that especially caught our eye—and were vaguely reminiscent of our favorite knit tie, like the number above. All in all, it’s a handsome lot of mufflers that ought to have your neck protected and add a sliver of intrigue to an otherwise charcoal-gray season—which is all you can ask for in a scarf, really.
But with the seemingly infinite diversity of thicknesses, patterns, fabrics, dimensions and weaves out there... it can begin to seem just too great for one man to conquer single-handedly. So we took the liberty of rounding up some of the finest nape-drapery out there to help narrow the field—and keep you from accidentally tying on a throw blanket à la Kravitz.
Most of the US is still firmly in wool scarf season, but soon enough you’re going to want to reach for something a little lighter to keep the brisk wind off your neck. Something like silk—that will still keep you relatively warm, but without the scratchiness.
As much as we appreciate a good scarf knot, there’s not always time for all that wrapping, knotting and tucking of loose ends.
A better way, possibly: this endless cable-knit scarf from Knowledge that’s just landed at the Three Leaves webshop. It’s a lot like a cable-knit turtleneck... without the sweater part. Which means it’s the most effortless way to add a layer of neck protection to anything you might be wearing—but also, a little tricky to pull off. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story:Three Leaves, based in Brooklyn, opened up shop on the premise that you can still wear good-looking stuff while being conscious of how it was made—that means small knitting shops and organic cotton. Which is how they landed the US exclusive with Swedish knitting outfit Knowledge Cotton Apparel.
Who to Channel: Ernest Hemmingway in a turtleneck—from the shoulders up; a Japanese street-style photo; the model to the left here, who’s giving Workwear Jesus a run for his money with that rendition of Blue Steel.
When to Wear It: On days when you need to quickly add some neck protection to your winter coat, or turn your sweater into a temporary turtleneck. This is about convenient coziness above all else.
Degree of Difficulty: It seems to depend on how thick your beard is. The thicker, the less difficult.
A well-tasseled scarf can be hard to find. And now that we’re heading into brisker territory, you’re going to want a go-to woolen muffler that goes with just about any jacket you throw on before heading into the cold unknown. A good candidate for the position would be this Pendleton scarf that’s just landed at Stag Austin. Here’s what you need to know about it.
The Story: Oregon’s legendary wool mill, Pendleton, has been turning out rugged coats, blankets and the like for trappers and lumberjacks since 1863 (and since more recently, for heritage enthusiasts with a penchant for Native American patterns). This scarf comes from the Portland Collection, which means it’s even more city-worthy.
Who to Channel: Italian businessmen, WWI fighter pilots, Steven Tyler’s microphone stand.
When to Wear It: From the first morning it feels too cold for only a coat. Mandatory if snow is in the forecast. Never indoors (except on these five occasions).
Think of This As: The franchise player of your fall-to-winter routine.
Degree of Difficulty: Depends on the knot you’re going for. We’ve always been a fan of the Euro-leaning knot (fold it in half, pull the loose ends through the loop, tighten). But this particular scarf looks long enough to allow for a few wraparounds or even leaving it hanging at the nape of your overcoat in a Draper-esque manner.
There seem to be only two kinds of scarves out there: the woolen protect-ya-neck-in-the-dead-of-winter type, or the silk/cotton ones made for springtime (and bohemians anytime). Which leaves you in a bit of a lurch during the brisker days of fall—when your neck could use a wind-guard but isn’t quite ready for the itch of wool.
The answer: this flannel scarf from the newest batch of the Hill-Side’s always-on-point neckwear that’s just landed at Hickoree’s. It’s hard to believe there aren’t more flannel scarves out there for fall use—if there were ever an official fabric of the season, it would be flannel (if fall were a country, its flag would be woven from the stuff). And depending on how warm your neck runs naturally, it might even serve you well into early winter.