Finishing Touches: The Lightweight Scarf


I have been doing a lot of research recently into ways we can take our outfits to the next level. It always comes back to the small detailing touches and flair pieces that the rest of the male population would probably never consider. I already showcased the shawl neck collar last week, and even though some of you may not like them, it was there to get you thinking about a new cuts, styles and pieces that you may have never considered before. In this case it was a subtle and graceful change to your current tailoring and knitwear – but a difference all the same.
However, today we will be focussing on a particular accessory. In fact, it happens to one of my all time favourites. It is of course, the lightweight scarf.

The Lightweight Scarf
The lightweight scarf is definitely what you would call a true ‘fashion accessory’ – unlike its brother the knitted or wool scarf, this is not a piece that will keep you warm. Scarves are traditionally designed as practical items that protect your neck from the elements, but lightweight versions are usually made from thin cotton or silk – neither of which are going to keep the chill away. The only real reason to opt for one of these would be to make a statement or add something extra to your look.
Of course, this is what a lot of males would shy away from. If you purchase and then utilise a scarf like this in your outfit, then everyone knows it is purely for fashion purposes and to ‘look good’. If you are not confident in wearing one and dealing with the usual negativity that comes along with being an individual, then these will never suit you. You will probably get some stick from your mates, and you may even get snide remarks from people you don’t know – but this is the case with any item that is not considered the ‘norm’.
You could wear a thick scarf or even a snood these days without anyone batting an eyelid, but the lightweight scarf is one of those items that can set you apart – so let’s utilise it to our advantage because when you pull it off, it looks superb.
NOTE: For today we will be focussing mainly on the high quality silk or cashmere type lightweight scarves. These almost always have a more formal appearance, but they fit in perfectly with the direction menswear is going – an increased focus on tailoring, slim cuts and an overall more refined look.

How To Wear: The Silk Scarf
This entire article was inspired by Paul’s recent one on adding subtle touches of elegance to an outfit. He actually noted the silk scarf and neckerchief as specific accessories that work well when it comes to individualising your outfits in a refined and sophisticated way. In my opinion, this is when they really come into their own.
They compliment smart-casual looks beautifully and provide a great alternative to the tie when dressing down a suit. This is due to the overall delicate nature of the scarf. It should be considered a graceful and gentlemanly finishing touch – one that doesn’t demand attention in showy or garish ‘look at me’ sort of way. Consider it in the same bracket as a pocket square and you will be adopting the correct mindset.
First things first, we have broken down the body types this type of scarf works best on before, so I would read up on whether this is going to suit your frame here: Dressing For Your Body Type A/W – The Skinny Scarf. As a quick summary; they work well with structured items (hence looking great with a suit or blazer) and are not particularly suited to extremely large muscular men – as they can become a bit ‘lost’ against your dominating frame.
Formal Styling

As previously mentioned, this is my favourite way of utilising the lightweight scarf. Paired with a shirt and blazer is the ‘go-to’ look that most males can pull off. Take a look at the examples above for a variety of ways to tie the scarf; you can wrap it round a couple of times [top left], create a loop and pull it through on itself like many will do with their current scarves [top right], drape it casually over your neck without tying [bottom right], or use the over, up and under loose tie [top centre & bottom left].
Each way looks great and it really is dependant on what looks best on YOU. You can tuck the ends underneath your blazer for a clean look, or show the scarf off fully by layering it over the top. You can even use it more like a neckerchief or cravat and push the ends into your shirt, creating a flash of colour around your neck only. It is the perfect alternative to using a tie; it still gives off a refined aesthetic but is less stuffy and offers some of that effortless Mediterranean flair.
As you will be pairing with blazers and tailoring, your jacket will often be a neutral colour, allowing you to be more bolder with your scarf choice. Sticking to a neutral coloured shirt and then injecting a shot of life through a striking complimentary colour or pattern is a way to showcase some personality, so go as wild as your style dictates. Just be sure to note the basic rules when it comes to colour matching (complimentary or contrasting colour schemes) and you shouldn’t go far wrong – the other pieces will anchor your choice.
However, you can also go the opposite way and simply utilise your scarf like you would a subtle pocket square. In this scenario, you would pick a scarf that coordinates with or matches your current colour scheme – sticking to the 3 coloured outfit principle of a modern gentleman, or fans of the minimalist approach. This could be as simple as matching your scarf to your blazer or suit, or simply varying the hue slightly so that it still contrasts against your dominant pieces. Don’t be afraid to integrate patterns such as polka dot or stripes, or even muted prints such as paisley or floral – these are perfect for standing out subtly in more formal occasions
keep it chic n trendy... fashion blogger (arthur)

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