The right scarf worn well is more than part of a gentleman’s front-line against the elements. Knotted the correct way, a scarf can add boatloads of charm and personality to a your look, as well as augment oft-neglected elements of your ensemble: dimension and movement. Scarves should not be reserved for frigid climes or winter months. A scarf can be wholly appropriate for rainy or chilly weather, windy days at the beach or down at harbor, and whenever one is ducking in and out of frosty air conditioned buildings on the hottest of summer days. Here are six of our favorite scarf-knotting styles.
The City Slicker
This is a simple, no-nonsense knot that keeps your scarf neat and fuss-free. Fold the scarf in half length-wise and wrap it around your neck; then pull the loose ends through the loop that was created by the fold. The City Slicker knot is both functional and easy to adjust while on the move. This classic knot also keeps your scarf on, and in place. This is very important if you are cycling or in a convertible. Riding a bike, Vespa, or motorcycle, or driving cabriolet, is a being perfect situation for the summer scarf. This knot adds a clean, put-together element to your ensemble.
This style of knot strikes a splendid balance between thoughtfully put-together and comfortably indifferent. Drape the scarf around your neck, leaving one end shorter than the other. Wrap the longer end loosely around your neck once, twice if you want a chunkier look or need more bundling. Allowing one end to be slightly longer than the other gives a more natural and spontaneous look, but the length can be adjusted to your preference. The Sophisticate works well with winter outerwear, and is perhaps the best way to wear (e.g.) a lightweight linen scarf in the summer: worn atop a T-shirt/blazer or T-shirt/cardigan ensemble, your lightweight scarf will add that bit of baffling you’ll want when a onshore breeze whips-up, or the AC in the cafe has indoor temperatures a tad too frosty.
The Ivy-Leaguer will be the best first-choice for formal wear and whenever the scarf is intended mainly to add an element of color to the top-half of your ensemble. There are two variations: the scarf may be worn draped over the shoulder (Step 1), or tucked into a buttoned jacket/blazer (Step 3). Go with this style when sporting an opera scarf over a tuxedo/dinner jacket. The overall suitability of this style is contingent upon the length of the scarf. If (once draped around your neck) the ends of the scarf extend below the bottom of your jacket, think carefully about whether the ensuing look is appropriate. When wearing a topcoat, we do not recommend wearing a scarf under the collar/lapels — a common but unfortunate arrangement. With topcoats and outerwear, either tuck the scarf inside (as in Step 3) or opt for another style of knot.
The Connoisseur knot is reminiscent of the knot used for an ascot, and for that reason results in a very contrived look. This is not a criticism of the style, but a polite reminder that it can look affected. To create The Connoisseur, lay the scarf around your neck such both ends are parallel in the front. Bring one end over and then under the other end. Drape the front end over the back, adjusting the length to your liking. This style may be worn loose and on the outside of your ensemble (Step 4), or slightly snagged-up and tucked into a sport coat or blazer. We have seen The Connoisseur set inside a V-neck sweater to great effect — it depends on (inter alia) the depth and width of the sweater’s “V,” and the thickness of the scarf. If one is going to wear it snug-and-inside (Step 5), silk scarves often work best. Because this is a secure knot, The Connoisseur is another appropriate choice for those on the saddle of a two-wheeler or in an open-top vehicle. For classic roadsters, go Connoisseur. Hardtop off the Jeep? See below.
The Jet Setter
This style maximizes the motion impact of your scarf. There’s no knot here, just a light drape around your neck that leaves one end shorter than the other. The longer end of the scarf is thrown across the front of your neck, and hangs over your opposite shoulder. If the scarf is extra long, wrap it around your neck once before placing it behind your shoulder. This the most casual and insouciant of these styles, and the just thrown-on look is one reason it successfully communicates activity and mobility. This knot suggests moderate indifference to style, while the presence of a scarf is itself a nod to style.
The Weekender is casual scarf knot, and it is the knot one is most likely to see on the streets of Rome, Paris, and Shanghai — and on the meaty necks of Special Forces operators, too. (Make of that what you will.) Start with one end in the front, close to your neck, and wrap the long end around your neck until it is short. Tuck both ends into the wrapped scarf. For volume, fluff-out the knot. If the hardtop is off the Jeep, look sharper (and feel even more comfortable) with a scarf knotted Euro style. Wearing a scarf is a great way to put your signature on your ensemble. A good-looking high-quality scarf needn’t be a costly purchase, and scarves are one of the few easily-sourced male accessories that can turn a by-the-numbers look into something eye-catching.