December 4, 2012  ·  style

Choosing a Scarf

We're in peak scarf-buying season here in North America. And while colour, pattern and fringe are all matters of taste, consider these few basic parameters when choosing a wearable, useful scarf for yourself or as a gift.

Don't sell yourself short.
A scarf shorter than about 70" or narrower than maybe 10" is not particularly useful, as these are the minimum dimensions necessary for the most commonly deployed knots. Anything smaller than that is consigned to the decorative drape.

Wool is overrated.
Nicer merino and lambswool yarns can be very soft and comfortable, and there are plenty of wool variants that make great scarves, but most of us will find at least some wool fibers a little bit scratchy. For that reason alone, don't assume that a wool scarf is inherently more desirable than a non-wool one.

Acrylic is underrated.
As far as thermoplastic polymer resins go, this is a pretty good one. Acrylic knits can be extremely soft and are highly durable. Most are machine washable, which is kind of a nice trait for something worn in close proximity to sweat glands.

I put on women's clothing and hang around in bars...
You ready for this? Now that women's fashion borrows so heavily from classic menswear patterns and palettes, the women's department is probably going to have many of the same scarf styles as the men's, only in considerably larger sizes. Don't get all giant pashima shawl up in this jawn, but if the men's department carries a too-small scarf that you otherwise like you might as well check the other side.

High-resolution scarf pr0n photos courtesy of Massimo Dutti.

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