A Serious Winter Scarf

The one thing you need to maintain your sartorial character—and your core temperature—no matter how low the mercury falls.

Photo: Everett Digital

While we’re all for topping things off with a swath of lightweight silk or linen in the warmer months, there’s a time and a place for everything. In this case: Summer. (And around the neck.) When the frost rolls in, things change. It’s time for a proper winter scarf. After all, you have to stay warm. And covering your neck with a big strip of wool or cashmere—yes, your scarf should include at least one of those two materials—is the way to do it. Simple? Almost painfully so. Effective? Absolutely.

When it comes to choosing your cold weather defense system, proportion is key. You need something long enough to get a good wrap going and still have enough space left at the ends to tuck everything away inside your jacket—or tweed sport coat—and lock in the extra body heat from your core, should the occasion arise. You also don’t want to go too skinny (a lack of coverage) or too wide (a surfeit of fabric). The sweet spot is somewhere around a foot wide and six feet long, give or take.

Of course, it’s not all about function. In an anonymous sea of gray and navy outerwear, a colorful scarf let’s add some personality to your winter attire. Bold tartans, burnt orange, racing greens, rich burgundies—these are all in play. Of course, as the gentleman at right shows, there’s nothing wrong with going neutral if your topcoat speaks for itself. Just be sure to take advantage of your options. As for the divisive issue of whether to opt for fringed or finished ends? That’s a call we’ll have to leave up to you.

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