man wearing scarf in autumn

The Ultimate Guide to this Season’s Must-Have: The Scarf

When the weather turns cold, the dapper man’s front-line against the chill is the humble scarf. Far more than a length of fabric to ward off the cold, a scarf can make or break your outfit. Worn well, a scarf can augment your look, adding an air of sophistication and charm whilst also, importantly, protecting your neck from the cold. Worn poorly, a scarf can make you look like a Harry Potter wannabee or worst of all, a failed boy band member. The key is in how you tie your scarf.

In this post, we’ll tell you a little bit of the fascinating history of this statement piece and how to wear it well every time.

A brief sartorial history of the scarf

Scarves have a unique place in sartorial history. Dating way back to the times before the birth of Christ, few other items in your wardrobe have the same impressive 2,200 year-old legacy behind them.

The first scarves were worn by Chinese soldiers in the 3rd Century B.C.E and were used to denote the rank of the soldier. Evidence of their use can even be found in the garb of the terracotta soldiers in Qin Shi Huang - pretty cool, right? The Romans also took to wearing scarves, adorning their necks with bands of linen cloth known as a ‘sudarium’ which they considered to be an essential part of a gentleman’s wardrobe.

From these ancient beginnings and right through to today, the scarf has never gone out of fashion. Perhaps most notably, the scarf has a distinguished history in military dress and has long been used as a means of identifying rank and status.

Warriors to statesman to artists and Hollywood heroes - to wear a scarf is to partake in a long and impressive sartorial legacy.

How to tie a scarf in 5 ways

1. The Drape

First up is the easiest way to wear your scarf with casual elegance - the drape around. It couldn’t be easier to master; simply drape the scarf over your neck and let the two loose ends dangle down over your chest. It’s the go-to styling for formal affairs and times when you need to add a splash of colour and suaveness to your look.

Be warned, this style of wearing your scarf will not keep you warm in the bristling cold, it’s more of a style statement than a practical choice. To avoid looking like a member of Boyzone, go for a high-quality merino wool or cashmere scarf. Also, keep an eye out on the length of the scarf, if it extends below the bottom of your jacket, you may end up looking more awkward schoolboy than Hollywood heartthrob.

2. The Twice Around

If the weather’s too cold for the drape, the twice around is an elegant alternative. As the name suggests, this tying technique requires you to wrap your scarf around your neck twice, leaving two short ends hanging at the front. This style works equally well with a tweed suit or a jeans and t-shirt combo.

A long scarf, at least 72 inches in length, works best. Similarly, a thinner scarf is also a good shout if you want to avoid looking like you’re wearing a neck brace.

3. The Parisian Knot

The Parisian knot is the firm favourite of businessmen and actors alike. Also known as the ‘slip’ or ‘simple’ tie, this way of tying creates a large knot right at the collar of your coat or jacket. It’s a great knot for protecting your chest from sharp winds and looks great to boot.

To tie it, simply fold the scarf in half, hold the doubled-over bend in one hand and pass the loose ends through the hole. Pull snug and adjust as needed. Once again, a thinner fabric such as silk works better for this knot. Anything too hefty will make the knot look bulky and out-of-place.

4. The Four Knot

The four knot is a must-have knot in your scarf arsenal. Excellent at protecting the neck from the cold and a dashing stylistic choice, you can’t go wrong with the four knot when the weather gets cold. But, this knot is pretty intricate and takes some practice to get right.

As with the Parisian knot, start by folding the scarf in half both length and width wise and drape over your neck. Take the loose ends of the scarf and pull them through the loop. Now, this is where it gets complicated- twist the loop you’ve created and pull through the other end of the scarf and tie into a knot. It may be fiddly to do, but boy does it look good!

5. The Over Hand

Not keen on elaborate knots but want something that looks clean, functional and can protect your neck? Well, look no further than the over hand.

Simply drape the scarf around your neck and pull the ends so that one is longer than the other. Cross the long end of the scarf over the short end and bring it under and through the opening. It’s just like tying a tie. Once you’ve got the knot in place, simply pull on both ends to tighten. Easy!

Scarves are an autumn/winter essential. To really weather the cold, pair with one of our tweed suits and stay cosy all season long.

Back to blog