Scarves can be one of the best accessories for men everywhere, but sometimes they can be a tricky one to get right. With our ultimate guide, we make the humble task of wearing a scarf easy, versatile and above all, stylish.
Accessorising can be tricky for guys. We get it – any item of clothing which swings away from the purely functional toward the more ‘decorative’ end of the spectrum has the potential to incite jeers over beers. And while no one’s denying that, in certain weather conditions (i.e. all year round, if you’re lucky enough to live in the UK), a scarf can come in handy.
But what kind of scarf will net you respect rather than ridicule? Can you wear one to work? With a T-shirt? And just how are you supposed to tie the thing so it doesn’t become a trip hazard? No worries – with our ultimate need-to-know guide, we’ve got it (and you) all wrapped up. Read on to find out how to wear a men’s scarf.
How to Find Your Perfect Scarf
Scarves are one of the best male accessories for guys. So, it’s time to invest in your all-purpose ‘starter scarf’. When it comes to the basics of scarf buying you need to consider size, material and colour. Your perfect scarf is probably somewhere between 16 and 30cm (about 6-12 inches) wide and 140 and 180cm (about 55-70 inches) long. That gives you enough length to play around with if you fancy getting creative without it bulking you out.
If you only buy one scarf, does it have to be made of wool? Well, it might be the obvious choice, but don’t dismiss cotton and acrylic blends either – they often wear better and give rise to fewer cases of the itchy-scratchies. If you can afford the investment, though, a cashmere scarf will repay you in multiple years of happiness.
When it comes to colour, there is a time and a place for look-at-me prints and rainbow brights, but, if you’re nervous, we suggest starting neutral. Remember, though, neutral doesn’t necessarily mean black – in fact, grey is probably your best bet in terms of versatility. Take a look at your wardrobe. Wear a lot of brown and cream? If so, beige might work for you.
How to Tie a Scarf For Men
There are numerous ways to tie a scarf, and believe it or not, each one can make a big difference to your outfit. Get it right with our step-by-step guide to the ten key techniques you need to master. They’re easier than they look, promise.
The draped scarf look is achieved by quite literally draping it around your neck – it’s so easy and requires zero effort. You’ll look even cooler if you don’t carefully match up each side centimetre for centimetre, however, don’t mismatch the ends too much either. The scarf drape is just the thing to give a more formal look a bit of oomph – no tie required. Simply tuck into your blazer or suit jacket, allowing your scarf to sneakily peek out from under your lapels. Just be wary of this style – it is easily unravelled by strong winds and annoying mates.
This style is just as easy as draping the scarf. Begin by draping the scarf and then toss one side of the scarf over the opposite shoulder – easy. This way of wearing the scarf will keep you warmer than the ‘standard’ drape. This is another great look for when you want to use the scarf to add another dimension to your smart outfit.
The Once Around
Yep, we’re starting out with our good old friend the drape again. This time, make sure you leave one side longer than the other when you drape it over your neck. Then simply wrap the longer side around your neck again creating the loop around it, making you nice and snug. This style will mean wind-related mishaps are much less likely, although you may well be late for work thanks to the additional hour you’ll have spent adjusting your end lengths in order to perfect the ‘too cool to care’ look.
The All Around
Feeling the chill? This technique builds on the once around, above, but takes things a step or two further. Start from the drape, leaving plenty of extra length on the longer side. Then, wrap the longer side around your neck a couple of times, so that the end hangs down your back. Throw the other end over your shoulder and you can stop here if you like, or go ahead and tuck the ends in. This style will keep you warm in the colder months and you can rest easy in the knowledge that, however blustery things get, you won’t be slapped in the face by your own accessories.
The Parisian Knot
OK, time to step things up a gear. Once you have it down, this practical, timelessly slick knot (also known as the European or French knot) will become your go-to, trust us. Fold your scarf in half, end to end, and throw your (folded) scarf around your neck in (you guessed it) a drape. Thread the loose ends through the loop and pull to tighten. This look will have you toasty and secure and it works with smart and casual gear alike.
Inspired by the tie knot of the same name, this one is also known as the overhand knot or, slightly less appealingly, the bib. Start by doing they standard scarf drape and then cross one end over the other. Thread one side under the other and pull it over the top. This style looks great with a suit and it can be loosened for a more casual look.
The Fake Knot
This deceptively simple knot is perfect for the guy who wants to make a statement (or cover up a nasty stain on his T-shirt). This is good if you don’t know how to tie a long scarf, as this tie easily gathers up excess material to create something more manageable. Drape the scarf around your neck so that one end is longer than the other. Tie a loose knot on the longer side by taking the end under and over itself to create a loop, then loosely pulling the end through. Thread the other end of the scarf through the loop, too and then tighten it and adjust. Your first few attempts will probably require a relatively clear head. And a mirror.
The Reverse Drape Tuck
OK, we’re into intermediate territory now. Don’t panic – you’ve got this. This double-wrap style is perfect for chillier weather. Let’s jump straight in from the once around (you know the drill – drape and wrap). Now, take one end and thread it through the loop then repeat with the other end and adjust to taste. This style works with both casual and formal gear and it will make you look pretty darn sharp.
The Reverse Drape Cross
This is basically a slightly less fussy version of the reverse drape tuck. Take it from the once around again and thread one end over and under the other. Pull to tighten (yes, you’re basically tying the ends together – it’s that easy). The reverse drape cross looks good worn over a casual bomber or biker jacket and it’s perfect in cold and/or windy weather.
The Four in Hand
Don’t worry – this has nothing to do with the tie knot of the same name. Try this out when you’re ready to get a bit fancy, but beware: kit yourself out in this knot and there’s no getting away from the fact that you are making a statement. Follow the instructions given for the Parisian knot, as above, but, this time, only pull the top piece through the loop. Follow this by twisting the loop, creating a second opening beneath the first (a bit like a figure ‘8’). Pull the other end through the second loop and tighten to adjust.
The blanket scarf, sometimes called a shawl, is something that doesn’t really come with a rule book. Spread out it creates a neat square, thus the name, it can be draped over your neck and shoulders to easily warm you on cold winter days. A common way to style a blanket scarf is to wear it looped around your neck as well as your shoulders, making it the main focus of the outfit. Because of its bold style, this isn’t really a scarf for you if you want to blend in. Try getting one in a unique print or colour to emphasise its look.
How to Wear a Scarf in Spring/Summer
Can you really get away with a scarf once the clocks have gone forward? Firstly, guys, allow us to remind you that, if you’re in England, you can pretty much always use the weather as an excuse (we really do get snow in April, remember). On all but approximately three days of the year, wearing a scarf will mark you out as both stylish and switched on. Anyway, the Italians have been wearing lightweight scarves all year round since the days of the old – and they can’t even fall back on the weather excuse. So own that summer scarf!
A lightweight cotton scarf can be tied in exactly the same way as your winter heavyweights, and you can rely on them to add a bit of je ne sais quoi to a simple blazer and chinos or jeans and T-shirt combo. Look to David Beckham and True Blood’s Joe Manganiello (if a werewolf can rock one, so can you) for inspiration.
How to Wear Scarves in Autumn/Winter
Feeling the chill? Then it’s time to work on those knots… Stay snug with the Parisian, reverse drape tuck, reverse drape cross or all around. If you’re feeling flashy, why not give the four in hand a whirl? A scarf is obviously one of the best accessories to own in the winter, gloves coming a close second.
Dressing it Up
Not a tie fan? A well-chosen scarf can mark you out as a guy who not only treads his own path but looks spot on doing it. Not convinced on wearing a scarf indoors? Look to David Gandy, who OWNS this look. Dress your suit look down with a nonchalant drape or once around or let a lightweight scarf peek out from your lapels. When dressing up your scarf don’t tuck it into your shirt. It’s just not hot. Even on Brad Pitt.
Keeping it Casual
If the whole Rebel Without A Cause thing is your bag, it’s time to put your own stamp on the look. A loose Parisian knot or once around wrap will have you hitting the sweet spot between ‘woke up like this’ and ‘woke up in this’. Keep your casual scarf look loose and relaxed and let the ends peek out from under your jacket.
How to Wear a Coloured or Patterned Scarf
Colour and print are probably the trickiest things to get right when it comes to accessorising. Mastering the four in hand is a downright breeze in comparison. But, as always, we’re here to help. You have two failsafe options.
You can make a full-on statement. Yes, a brightly coloured or patterned scarf may as well be a neon sign screaming ‘Look at Me!’, but it is possible to turn the subtext from ‘overdue for my eye test’ to ‘born snappy’. The most foolproof method? Throw a coloured or patterned scarf on over a neutral outfit (head-to-toe black works particularly well). When going for this stand-out scarf look, let the bright colour speak for itself with a simple drape. There really is no need to overcomplicate the knot.
The second option is to keep it neutral. Neutrals don’t have to be boring. You can safely pair a black scarf with virtually any outfit. But matching the shade of your scarf to the colour of your outfit can pay serious dividends – we’re talking fifty shades of suave, here. Team a grey scarf with an all-grey outfit, or a beige scarf with a coffee-and-cream-flavoured look. Why not try a subtle two-colour pattern, like a grey-on-grey check. When going for this look, try not to worry about matching up your tones exactly – a subtle clash looks less affected.
How to Wear a Scarf for Men
- Scarves are a great accessory all year round. In England we are blessed with shitty weather, so don’t feel like a scarf isn’t acceptable.
- Tie it up! There are so many different ways to knot your scarf, some smarter than others. Figure out which style you like.
- Play around with the materials and colours of the scarves you own. Different ones will look better for different occasions.
- Try to match your scarf to your outfit as much as you can. Consider the colours and make sure you don’t clash them.
On That Note
If you were on the fence when you started reading this article, we hope we’ve managed to convince you that every guy should own a scarf (or three). Whether you want to sharpen up your go-to jeans and tee combo or retire that dusty old tie, bag yourself a decent scarf and you’ll be investing in one of the very best accessories a man can lay his hands on. Come rain or shine, work or play, there’s a scarf out there to take your look from dull to dashing. Learn your knots, get your colour combinations right and there’ll be no stopping you.
Feature image from Pinterest