Functional and fashionable, a scarf is a must-have item in any man’s wardrobe.
For light packers, the goal is to bring the fewest items possible, while still having enough versatile outfits. With a scarf, you can add some ‘pop’ to your outfit, and transform one outfit into something completely different for the next day. Additionally, many jackets leave the neck exposed, and it’s important to keep such vital area warm. Wearing a scarf over your nose has even been proven to prevent colds.
With those benefits in mind, here are our top scarf picks for men this winter:
1. Arc’teryx Diplomat Scarf, $69
Who wouldn’t want to be a diplomat? With the Arc’teryx Diplomat Scarf, you can at least look like one. Made from a merino wool blend, this scarf is sharp and professional. The Diplomat Scarf comes in 6 solid colors, ranging from pink to moss.
The good: Quality you’d expect from Arc’teryx.
The bad: It’s not pure merino wool – there’s 14% nylon (although the nylon does give it a bit more durability).
2. Scotch & Soda Refined Scarf, $65
If you’re looking for great designs, Scotch and Soda is one brand you shouldn’t miss. The Refined Scarf has a elegant pattern and is something you’ll definitely want to grab out of the closet if you want to look as the name suggests, refined.
The good: Great looks. The pattern is subtle, but not boring.
The bad: Not much, although quality-wise the materials could be better.
3. Aether Cashmere Scarf, $165
If there was one word to describe the Aether scarf, it would be “sleek”. This scarf has a modern and clean look which will go with any outfit.
The good: Versatile, sharp and clean. And 100% cashmere.
The bad: The hefty $165 price tag.
4. The Classic Cashmere Burberry Scarf, $435
Let’s be honest, most designer scarves are a stupid waste of money. Many of them are virtually indistinguishable from their $10 counterparts. Others will go out of fashion in a few years. Sure, some might be made of vicuña, but are they really worthwhile?
One scarf which bucks the trend, though, is the Burberry scarf for men in the iconic Burberry check. At $435 it is what you’d expect from Burberry, made of the finest cashmere “at a 200-year-old mill in the Scottish countryside”. It’s a classic, and has a decent resale value – just take a look at some of the eBay listings. (There are a number of fakes out there on eBay, so be careful if opting for something used.)
The good: A classic you’ll probably use for the rest of your life.
The bad: Costs as much as a round trip flight from Seattle to Shanghai.
5. Uniqlo HEATTECH Scarf, $20
Simple and no-frills, this Uniqlo scarf keeps you warm with HEATTECH technology. It comes in 6 solid color options which are easy to match. The scarf is 85% acrylic and 15% wool.
The good: Inexpensive and versatile. It works with casual and formal outfits.
The bad: Slightly boring.
6. Buff, $20-$39
A Buff is a versatile headwear accessory that can be used as a cap, neck gaiter, and more. Buffs are basically seamless pieces of polyester microfiber which are stretchy and can be used in both hot and cold climates. They’re perfect for adventure travelers, in fact I own two. For more information, read my Buff review.
While the original Buffs are made from a thin microfiber material, the brand also sells winter specific models, which are thicker and warmer. The Polar Buff, pictured above, is like an original Buff, except made of fleece.
The good: Versatile, lightweight and great for travel.
The bad: You might not want the hiker, traveler look. Won’t match with an overcoat.
7. J.Crew Lambswool Scarf, $40
Made from lambswool, this modern scarf will go with anything from a blazer to a parka. It measures 74 inches long.
The good: Stylish, simple, warm, and chunky knit.
The bad: Lambswool is warm, but not as soft as merino or cashmere.
Scarves are one of the best items to buy while traveling abroad. Handmade artesian products are in abundance in countries Asia and South America; great alternatives to the mass produced scarves that all look alike. From my own experience, there are numerous places scarf and knitted headwear options in highland countries like Peru and Bolivia. Plus they’re usually inexpensive for American standards.
What are your thoughts? Which scarf was your favorite? Leave a comment below.