Scarves are the unsung heroes of any man’s wardrobe. They punch up the colour and flavour of any outfit and make a guy instantly stylish.
Scarves are traditionally worn in the winter to keep our necks warm, but consider a lightweight scarf in the spring for a little added warmth and a lot of style in the early days of the season.
Gentlemen, no matter how much you spend, know that you’re going to make an impact in a spring scarf.
I find that menswear in general can be harsh in colour, casting a dark light on a man’s face, and giving him a hardened look. Spring colours are much more flattering, softening a man’s features and making him look more approachable. While scouting locally owned menswear shops in Toronto for this post, I’m happy to see that this season’s colour choices in scarves are soft and powdery.
I looked at a gorgeous, tone-on-tone striped sea green linen scarf at high-end men’s store, Via Cavour at 87 Avenue Road. Their amazingly soft, handmade, Pal Zileri 100% linen scarves come in unusual colours, and are priced from $350 to $750.
When the temperatures get warmer, linen scarves are the go-to accessory because linen is one of the lightest and coolest clothing materials – air constantly moves through linen’s weave, keeping the wearer physically and visually cool. (Read more about linen.)
Marc de Rose at Via Cavour says, “Scarves are one of the best pieces to update an outfit.”
He describes his scarves as “funky” that dress up a traditional suit. He likes to loop his scarves loosely around his neck with the ends draping over his chest, giving him a youthful, comfortable look. Draping the scarf over a suit this way “frames” the collar (and tie) beneath.
- Style tip: Scarves are meant to look “thrown on” but they are nothing but – you’ll want to spend some time arranging the fabric
Owner, Philip Zappacosta, says, “A scarf is a great investment for men to coordinate with his wardrobe, and tie everything together.”
He showed me a large, versatile, slightly crisp, colourful, square-shaped Corneliani scarf (below), made in Italy ($295), and explained how many other colours and pieces could be worn with it.
Scarves at the philip store go well with soft-shouldered sports jackets and other more casual pieces like loose-knit spring sweaters. They can be worn wrapped around the neck to create volume around the face, and longer types can be worn European style, folded in half lengthwise and draped around the neck with the ends pulled through the loop at the front.
Here, we wrapped the fabric around Philip’s neck. Notice how the added bulk seems to bring in his shoulders and torso – a trick of optical illusion, good for larger men who want to appear smaller.
- Style tip – Look for balance in your clothing and avoid mixing warm winter weights with lighter spring weights
Queen Street West favourite, Grreat Stuff, offers reasonable price points for men on smaller budgets who like to add some pizzazz to their wardrobe. Grreat Stuff is a grreat store for menswear oddities and interesting wardrobe pieces.
They carry long, double-sided silk English scarves in traditional patterns with a natural silk fringe for $95, striped 100% gauzy cotton GEOX scarves for $60, and cotton Matinique gingham scarves in a dense weave with a dry hand for $45.
Co-owners, Frances and Adam Yalonetsky, recommend wearing cotton or silk scarves loosely with a cotton blazer or lightweight outerwear.
Adam suggests that in the cool of the early spring, fold your scarf in half lengthwise, wrap European style, then tighten the loop to bring the scarf closer in at the neck. This will give more bulk to the scarf and keep the warm air close to the throat.
Adding a scarf will get you noticed and for style-savvy men, there is scarcely a better accessory.
Having the idea to wear a stylish scarf that ties your clothes together makes you awesome. Actually doing it for real triples your awesomeness.