The winter months are drawing every closer; darker evenings and colder nights mean only one thing – it’s time to start thinking about scarves!

They’re an easy way to keep toasty when traversing towns and cities, they make the perfect accompaniment to modern business attire, and they can even be worn during the evening watching live sporting events in the terraces.

Choosing Your Knot

There are plenty of styles you can use when knotting your scarf; below I’ve listed a selection of the more popular ones for you to give a trial run:

Simple Sling
Draped loosely around the neck and worn open, the simple sling stops cold breezes from hitting your spine without suffocating under layers of heavy fabric; ideal for those who want to wrap up warm without burying their neck in wool.

Traditonal loop
The scarf is wrapped once all the way around the neck and both ends hang freely. This is a commonly used style for a good reason – it can be worn symmetrically and asymmetrically (depending on the occasion) while providing good, choke-free neck protection.

Traditonal reverse-loop
Worn as the traditional loop only in reverse, with the free ends dangling down the back; has the advantage of keeping excess fabric out of your way, although it’s more difficult to make small adjustments while wearing.

European knot (a.k.a the Chelsea sling)
The scarf is folded in half and placed around the back of the neck. The loose ends are then threaded through the loop and pulled taut. The euro-knot is ideal for maximum neck coverage without extending too far down the body. Neat and warm, but a little bulky and suffocating at times.

Choosing the right fabric

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to your textile preferences. Each fabric has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the effect you are attempting to recreate:

Traditional woolen scarves are reasonably priced and have a rugged construction. Though not as graceful as other fabrics, wool has the benefit of durability and a thickened weave.

A luxurious goats’ wool; light and strong, cashmere is a better insulator than traditional sheep’s wool and is extremely warm by comparison. It’s more expensive than most, but still a worthy investment to make.

Economical and light, cotton can be spun into intricate designs with relative ease. Good quality cotton scarves will survive astoundingly well when pitted against the elements, not to mention the fact they’re easy to launder.

Silk is lighter and softer than the other materials listed; fine and delicate, silk needs a degree of special care and attention, but will hang with a graceful poise like no other material can.

Finding the right look

There are a number of style variations you can create with scarves. It’s astonishing how subtle changes can create dramatic differences in your appearance. Here are a few archetypical looks for you to test:

The Business Executive

businessman scarf

Smart, chic but formal. Either silk or thin cashmere worn under an overcoat with a simple knot (e.g. the traditional loop); stick to simple patterns or solid blocks of color.

The College Professor

college professor scarf

Think “eccentric”, but with a degree of self-restraint. Bold multicolored stripes or dynamic shapes offset by an asymmetrical knot with a simple loop will maximize this look’s potential.

The Disorderly Dandy


It seems wearing your scarf like an everyday accessory has become a new youth phenomenon. Light cotton or chiffon with strong, simple patterns combined with thin, modern cuts look great layered around the neck.

Casual Chic


Relaxed weekend-wear for the modern man, simple designs look effortless and elegant. For this look, I’d recommend strong wool or durable cotton worn with a loose European knot.

What to avoid when choosing men’s scarves?

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear me say, once again, novelty scarves are to be shunned, as are wacky designs and riotous patterns. Once again, clean and elegant will serve you far better in the long run. Cheap scarves may seem like a quick, easy buy, but if you’re going to suffer with an itchy neck every time you wear them, it’s ultimately a poor investment – you’re better off spending more on soft, smooth textiles every time!

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

2 Responses

    • Johnathan

      Personally, I’m more a ‘casual chic’ fan. I like having something substantial around the neck; it feels heavy and warm, and blocks the light autumnal breeze from chilling my spine 😀

      Thanks for the comment!