The Right Way To Wear A Scarf

Here are the fashion-forward virtues of wearing a scarf.
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There are few ways left for a man to express his personal style on a day-to-day basis. Until recently, a tie was perhaps his main point of difference, but dress codes have slackened so dramatically in recent years that he doesn’t even have that any more. The poor, open-necked simp. He has cuff links, but anything other than sleek, simple metal—such as those made by Alice Walsh—runs the very high risk of being heinous. (To that end, I would swerve novelty, avoid color and dodge heft.) 

Shoes are shoes—nothing is more appropriate and stylish than something sleek, shiny and made by a Northampton Cobbler—and you can dabble in hats, but you probably shouldn’t. I’ve recently taken to warming my bonce with a little red burglar beanie, a la Steve Zissou, but am yet to be convinced on the nautical-teat look. The scarf, then, is one of the last bastions of individuality, and more pertinent than ever after a recent visit from a certain Beast from the East. 

It was Pep that got me thinking. As an Arsenal fan, the only fillip I could take from the Carabao drubbing was that the most looked-at lad in the stadium could demonstrate such a deftness with accessories. (It pains me to say this, especially after all the good will set out in that L'Equipe shoot, but the same couldn’t be attributed to his opposite number.) The erudite Spaniard was keeping the Wembley chill out with a MASSIVE pashmina thing. It went around his neck about 17 times, and I was like, ‘yeah, nice one Josep, you’ve thought about that.’ 


A well-accessorized Pep Guardiola during a recent Manchester City match

It’s a very Neapolitan way of warming the neck (which chimes with me, and most probably every man. That slouchy, elegant way of dressing should be considered a fail-safe for us all: if ever in doubt, and financially capable, just get a dusty-coloured suit from Boglioli—but not super trendy.  Right now, if you want to align with the fashions, then your scarf should be from a football club (or at least look like it), or be so ridiculously oversized that it could double as a yacht warmer. Stella McCartney, Gucci, Topman and Valentino all do a good line in the former, while Balenciaga is leading the charge in the latter. The football-y ones don’t actually look half bad with a suit.  A

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Honestly; it has a sort of school-boyish charm (another imminent trend, I reckon). The big scarves, less so, but if you’re the kind of person that spends £600 on a trendy strip of wool, then pairing it with the rest of your wardrobe probably won’t be an issue.

The football scarf trend on display at Milan fashion week 

If those don’t appeal, there are other, more straightforward options. Block colors (charcoal, navy, camel) and soft fabrics will see you right, and if it’s double-wide then it will be cosier and billowier, if that’s what you’re looking for. And not to be snobby, but cashmere is preferable; it’s warmer softer and will hold those virtues for longer. 

Chunky cable knits are good, especially those in richer winter colors like mustard, wine, and other gouty foodstuffs. And you can dabble in silk, but I’d go for a blend, otherwise it won’t be warm, but it will make you look like a land owner up to town for meetings with his gun maker


Finally, scarves to avoid: those black and white Keffiyehs from 2003 (unless culturally or geographically relevant, of course), tie-dye, and anything with a matching hat. Pep would never wear a woolly combo, and neither should you.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Charlie Teasdale
Esquire Deputy Style Editor
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