To Scarf or Not to Scarf

by Mackenzie M. | April 20th, 2012 | Men's Shopping

During the winter, scarves are often thought of as a necessity by men, rather than a fashion accessory to an outfit; however, once spring rolls around, the fashionable men are separated from the rest through their tactful use of a casual scarf. When I say fashion scarf, I am not talking about a giant knitted scarf that you would find at an outdoor supply shop. Instead, I mean light, colorful, and inexpensive scarves for men that are found at most clothing stores nowadays. With light sweaters, sweatshirts, and even tee shirts, the right scarf can take a man’s outfit to the next level.

In the past, the scarf was seen as a feminine accessory, but walking the streets of any major city today points to the opposite. If anything, dare I write – scarves are the new necessary accessories for every man. Let’s begin with the simple pairing of a sweater and a scarf. No matter what kind of sweater it is, a light cotton scarf is usually the way to go. For example, I like to pair a simple, solid black J. Crew sweater with a nice cotton scarf that I purchased on sale years ago from a second-hand store. The gray and blue pattern of the scarf contrasts nicely with the pure, deep black of the sweater. Together they cost around $30, and they form an outfit that is both sensible and fashionable.

A trend that I have noticed while walking the streets of Tokyo was the use of a cotton scarf with a plain-colored sweatshirt. Discount fashion stores like H&M and UNIQLO sell men’s plain sweatshirts for a mere $12, and often have the matching scarves pre-matched on mannequins throughout the stores. A light gray athletic sweatshirt can be easily paired with a number of scarves. For the more modest male, a neutral-colored cotton scarf works perfectly. For those who want to stand out a little more, orange or red patterned scarves also match.

One note to keep in mind with men’s scarves is the price. Stores like H&M and UNIQLO sell men’s fashion scarves for anywhere from $10-15. It is strongly suggested that the most to be paid for a men’s scarf is $15. Stores like J. Crew, Banana Republic, and other common mall stores have been known to charge from $40-100 for a simple men’s cotton scarf. In fact, I was in a Japanese men’s fashion store a few days ago, and men’s cotton scarves topped out at around $600 USD. There is no reason for any man to pay that much for a plain cotton scarf.

The final, and most interesting, combination is a cotton scarf with a simple tee shirt. Although the clothing items seem contradictory, a nice patterned scarf can class up any plain colored tee shirt. My favorite combination is a simple red tee shirt for under $10 with a neutral gray scarf with an interesting pattern. Not only does that outfit ooze fashion sense, the outfit can be constructed for under $20.

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