Plunging temperatures aren’t the only reason to brush up on scarf knotting skills. Scarves from cotton to cashmere and polka dot to paisley are becoming increasingly stylish for men. “A scarf serves a purpose,” said Stacy Puttick, a Port Jefferson-based personal stylist at J. Hilburn. “You can make a strong style statement in the scarf you choose to wear and how you wear it.”
For starters, there’s material: Lightweight linen or cotton scarves, noted Puttick, are more of a fashion statement, as they don’t offer significant protection against the elements. Wool scarves are practical, but can also be stylish depending on the pattern. Of course, cashmere scarves are the crème de la crème. “This wool blend material provides warmth and because cashmere holds colors better than any other material, the design options are practically endless.” A final option, silk, offers a tailored look and some warmth. In terms of scale, scarves may be long and wide or short and thin (also known as ascots), but the typical size is 5- to 6-feet long and 6- to 8-inches wide. Puttick advises always going with a longer length: “Men can always shorten a scarf that is too long.”
Finally, there’s the art of tying one on. From the most basic drape to the overhand knot, here are four knotting techniques that even novices can pull off.
The drape: For a casual affair when color trumps warmth.
Best with: A wool scarf, whether it’s solid, plaid or striped.
How to: Uh… drape the scarf around your neck.
The overhand knot: A dressy look that’s ideal for a night at the theater or a black-tie affair.
Best with: A patterned, medium-length scarf.
How to: Lay scarf over the shoulders. Cross one side over the other, then pull up through the loop. Adjust the front side to smooth out.
The slipknot: A great everyday look that provides warmth and flair.
Best with: A cashmere scarf goes well with this European-style knot.
How to: Fold the scarf evenly in half. Drape around the neck. Tuck the loose ends through the loop and tighten as desired.
The twice-around: For the office or sporty occasions, like when tucked into a leather bomber.
Best with: This romantic style is best with a scarf 72 to 90-inches long made from a thin material like silk.
How to: Wrap twice around the neck with the two ends in front.