How to pick, tie, and wear a scarf like a champ

The first thing Lou Doillon did after signing with a major record label was purchase a sizeable Hermes scarf. This is a fairly common rite of passage, it seems, among the creme de la creme. That is, there is a high number people in a certain sect that treat the scarf as the ultimate happy birthday to me: a momento to indulge in during times when a little self-celebration is in order. A beautiful scarf can be a luxury item that still borders on the practical side. When it comes to being a man of fashion, it is also an excellent opportunity to show that you know what you’re doing.

As the sky trades in raindrops for snowflakes you deserve to treat yourself to something that will help you step with a bit more swagger over powder and ice. And though I’m sure your mom has knit you something darling for the upcoming season, I urge you to consider the following in the event that she isn’t the high fashion seamstress she fancies herself to be. Here is a guide to scarves!

First, consider the material


Left: Burberry Check Merino Wool & Cashmere Scarf ($450 at Nordstrom); Right: Johnstons uni-stripe extra fine merino wool scarf (£60 at Selfridges & Co).

Wool scarves are common and that’s OK. Just be sure to consider the type of wool that you’re investing in. Avoid a high priced scarf that doesn’t specify the type of wool, as it is likely a sign that you’re blowing money on the name brand instead of the quality. Cashmere blended wool will have warmth that that added softness that helps ensure the scarf isn’t itchy – an important thing to avoid in a winter accessory that you aim to enjoy daily use of. Merino wool is a European favorite, and for good reason. It is breathable and when worn close enough to the skin, i.e, around your neck, it helps to regulate body temperature without overheating. The adaptability of this wool is often reflected in the price tag, but you won’t be sorry.

Next, consider the occasion


Left: Paul Smith men’s navy “Bees” print silk scarf (£110.00 from the Paul Smith website); Right: Richard James houndstooth scarf ($240 from the company website).

A scarf suited to every occasion can be a bit of a challenge. For instance, you aren’t likely to want to show up to a business dinner in the same scarf that you make your daily commute in. Where one occasion is all about first impression and perhaps requires a bit more of a dressy edge, the other occasion is more about functionality and casual sophistication. Let’s examine two instances: dinner, and the office.

To dinner, be bold and consider a silk scarf. The material provides warmth but often comes with a subtle sheen that creates a material contrast with a cotton blazer that shows you’ve put some thought behind your appearance. What dinner company doesn’t feel flattered knowing you dressed for them and the occasion?

Next, when looking for the everyday piece that will be worn into the office each day, choose something you’re sure to be warm in, and that can withstand the wear and tear of being donned and removed a few times a day for the whole season. Something a bit larger in width that you can wrap a few ways provides the functionality and versatility that keeps your wintery style anything but mundane. Keep the colors basic too, to match all your other seasonal wear more easily.

Lastly, consider your tying style

how to tie a tie

The way you tie your scarf does not need to be complicated. This seems to be an area of anxiety for those who don’t wear scarves often, so rest assured that there is no ‘right’ way. If you have a bulkier scarf, a simple drape around your neck, leaving the front open, is perfectly fashionable and effortless too. If you’re cramming onto the train every morning though, try out a style that won’t slip off so easily: loop the scarf around the neck once ensuring that the ends hanging down both rest evenly. This style can also be worn in reverse, where the ends of the scarf cascade down the back instead of the front. If you have extra material to work with, wrap twice or even create a circular neck by tucking the scarf up into an infinity loop. Ways to tie are endless and a way to personalize the scarf even further, so try all of them until you have one down that is both suave and comfortable.

Top image from The Nordic Fit

Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards is a fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. She has worked as Associate Publisher of Private Islands magazine and Lifestyle Editor of Style Empire, and has contributed to NOW Magazine.