As the weather starts changing, it’s time to think about layering up. One of the most stylish ways to stay warm? A scarf! Scarves are the perfect way to accessorize your look without feeling like you’re trying too hard. Some men avoid stylish scarves because they worry they are wearing them wrong or not matching them well, but it’s simpler than you think.

So, how do you wear a scarf without looking like you have no idea what you’re doing? In this post we’ll look at colors, patterns, fabrics, ways to tie them and what to wear them with. We’re going to focus on colder weather scarves because the timing is perfect.

Whether you want to go for a simple solid scarf or push some boundaries with print, it’s totally up to you and your personal style. I’ll show examples further below, so you can see what speaks to you.  If you’re new to scarves and have no idea what you like, there’s a tip for that too!

 

What color should my scarf be?

The color(s) you pick for your scarf will depend on a couple of things, but let’s start with your coat.

A Neutral Coat Color

The easiest way to know what color scarf to go for is to pick a color that goes with your outerwear since that’s what people see first. If your outerwear is a neutral color (black, blue, brown, grey etc.) your possibilities are endless because neutrals work with a lot of colors and prints. However, further below, i’ll explain how the color of your shirt or sweater can help narrow down your choice. 

 

Photo Credit: I Am Galla

Outfit breakdown: Navy Overcoat + Brown Textured Scarf + Olive Henley + Black Jeans

Unique Colored Coat

If you have a unique color in your coat or jacket, you can pick a printed scarf that also has the color of your jacket in it.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit breakdown: Tan Chinos + White Shirt + Sage Green Jacket + Camo Scarf + Red/brown Hybrid Derby Shoes + Red Belt

 

He can easily wear a neutral jacket color like brown or navy and it will work well with that camo scarf.

Can he wear a solid color with that jacket color? Yes, the key would be to pick a color the compliments the green (I.e. brown, burgundy etc.). I’m not going to get too much into complimentary colors just yet, but I have something cooking up for you. Make sure you sign up for my email list to know when it’s released, it’s going to be a really good one on color matching!

Printed Coat

If you are wearing a printed coat, take a color from your coat and wear it in your scarf.

Photo Credit: The Sunglasses Man

Outfit Breakdown: Camo Bomber + Brown Scarf + Beige Sweater + Blue Chinos

Note: He can also wear a complimentary color in his scarf (I.e. burgundy) to make it look cohesive.

Printed Scarf

Let’s dive a bit deeper into printed scarves! The easiest way to match a printed scarf is to look at what colors are in the scarf and pick a color and wear it in your top (i.e. could be your in your jacket, shirt or sweater etc.). You can also wear a neutral color shirt or sweater (i.e. black, white, beige, navy, grey etc) because neutrals always work.

In the example below, he is pulling the yellow/orange from his scarf in his shirt, making it look cohesive. He could also pull burnt orange, rust or purple in his top too because those colors are in his scarf. The colors don’t have to be an exact match, but the closer the better. 

Photo Credit: Gent With

Outfit breakdown: Blue Knit Blazer + Yellow/orange Turtleneck + Plaid Scarf + Medium Blue Jeans (ripped jeans optional) + Shoes (boots will top this outfit off really nicely)

 

Solid Color Scarf

We briefly discussed a solid color scarf when wearing a printed jacket. However, you can wear a solid color with a non-printed jacket too. When going for a solid color scarf, having a pop of color helps bring your outfit to life. For example, I like how the guy in the example below took the red accent from his shoe and pulled it in his scarf. This is a bolder color choice, but it works for his personal style. Also, remember what I said about neutral colors? He’s wearing all black, so the red totally works.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: All Black (coat + sweater + jeans) + Red Scarf + Red and White Sneakers

You can also go for a tamer pop of color like the brown scarf in the photo below. Notice in both photos the guys are wearing outfits that have a lot of dark colors, but a pop of color in the scarf brings the look to life.

Tip: Pick a color that works well with your skin tone and flows with your outfit. In the example below, he went for a more earthy tone look, but a lot of colors can work with a neutral blue.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Navy Coat + Black Sweater + Brown Scarf + Black Joggers + White Sneakers

 

What print should I go for in a scarf?

When it comes to the style of print your scarf should be, it all depends on your personal taste. Stripes and plaid are pretty classic, but if you like to push boundaries, go for a fun print. Let’s chat prints options!

 

Striped Scarf

Stripes are a safe and easy option, while also giving you some pop in your look. In the look below, you can see that scarf is the focus of the outfit and it looks great.

Photo Credit: I Am Galla

Outfit Breakdown: Black Bomber Jacket + Denim Button Down Shirt + Black Jeans + Grey Tonal* Striped Scarf

*Tonal = many shades of a color

 

Geometric Scarf Print

Geometric prints are my favorite because they give you boldness without feeling like you’re going over the top. Bold patterns are a fun way to add more flair to your look and the scarf below is a perfect example. In the look he is wearing a classic camel color jacket, but brings his outfit to life with a diamond printed scarf. Also, do you notice how he pulls the tan from his jacket in the tan in the scarf? Looks great! The beauty of the scarf print and color is that it’s pretty neutral, he can easily wear a lot of colors with that brownish burgundy color, like a denim shirt or black jacket and it will still look great. Burgundy is on my favorite colors for fall/winter because it feels so neutral, and it can totally be pulled off via scarf.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit breakdown: Camel Trench Coat + Brown/grey Long Sleeve T-shirt + Grey Cardigan + Diamond Print Scarf + Light Tan Jeans + Shoes (brown boots and a belt would look perfect with this look)

Low Contrast Scarf Prints and Patterns

Boldness not your thing? Not to worry. Going for patterns with low contrast (i.e. two darker colors creating a print) is a great choice as well. Prints in general help add a depth to your look and they don’t have to feel so loud. This square pattern is perfectly stylish without feeling over the top.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit breakdown: Black Coat + White Shirt + Black Jeans + Navy and Brown Scarf + Leather Gloves

Textured Scarf

Not feeling patterns or pops of color? Go for texture! Textured scarfs are awesome because they are classic, timeless and you won’t get sick of them. Textured scarves help bring your look to life and are so neutral that you can wear them with everything. What I mean by texture is the way it’s knit. Notice the knitting between the blue and white to create that texture in the scarf.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Navy Pea Coat + White Tee + Black Jeans + Blue/white Textured Scarf

 

 

Scarves by Style Type

Picking a style of scarf that suits your personal style can help narrow down which type of scarf you should get. The biggest things that play a role in this is fabric and print, and of course, what you wear it with.

Casual Scarf Style

When wearing a scarf with casual pieces like a bomber jacket and sneakers, you can go for all types of scarves like printed, solid, textured etc. I like this photo below because he plays with color in a fun way. Of course, if light pants aren’t your thing, you can easily wear dark blue jeans with this look.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit breakdown: Burgundy Bomber Jacket + Burgundy T-shirt + Stone Color Jeans + Tan Converse + Grey Fingerless Gloves

Note: the guy in the photo tucked in his t-shirt, you don’t need to do that.

 

Smart Casual Scarf Style

When wearing a scarf with a smart casual look, you can have fun with prints, colors and tying styles. For a smart casual look, you can have everything be pretty casual (I.e. jeans and a t-shirt) and add in an element or two of dressy (I.e. coat and boots).

Photo Credit: Magic Fox

Outfit Breakdown: Camel Coat + Black T-shirt + Black Jeans + Black Boots + Burgundy Scarf

 

Dressy Scarf Style

For a dressier scarf look, you can have as much fun as you want or stay as classic as you want. For example, going for silk scarf to compliment the formalness of your blazer can looks really good. If you like fun and bold style, pick a louder print that compliments your blazer (purple + orange + blue = compliment). However, if you are a classic guy, you can pick a plaid pattern like in the 2nd photo, but his scarf is still made of a nicer material that flows with his outfit (I.e. cashmere, wool, silk etc.).

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Blue and Red Plaid Blazer + Red and Blue Gingham Vest + Printed Purple and Orange Scarf + Blue and Orange Pocket Square + Pants (he can wear any color in the scarf or vest in his pants like white, navy, burgundy, orange etc.)

Note: okay, so you’re thinking this guy has a lot going on with all the patterns, prints and colors, but notice blue and red is in all of his clothing, while blue, purple and orange are in his accessories (scarf and pocket square).

 

Photo Credit: He Spoke Style

Outfit Breakdown: Long Navy Pea Coat + White Dress Shirt + Charcoal Suit + Blue/white Tie + Black Shoes + Burberry Scarf

 

 

Scarves by Fabric

Picking a scarf fabric is not only a personal choice, but is a budget choice. Here are scarf fabrics to see which ones vibes with your needs…

Wool: Wool scarves are warm and thick because they are made out of sheep’s hair. Wool scarves can work for all types of outfits and are a great choice for places where winter gets really cold.

Silk: Silk scarves are for the dressier guys out there and will cost you a pretty penny. Silk scarves are smooth, luxurious feeling and work well for dressy looks.

Cashmere: Wool feel too scratchy? Try a cashmere scarf that is soft, warm and feels amazing. Cashmere scarves don’t come cheap. Cashmere scarves work for dressy looks, but can be pulled into smart casual.

Poly-blend: Most scarves in stores will be polyester-blend, don’t let his non-natural fabric push you away though. Poly is built to last and is affordable. Poly works for all types of looks, make sure it looks luxurious if wearing it with your dressy look.

Cotton: Cotton is classic and won’t steer you wrong. Cotton will be soft, warm and a budget friendly choice. Cotton scarves look better with casual or smart casual clothing.

Jersey: Jersey is a type of cotton, but has a lot of stretch. Think of your stretchy and soft t-shirts, those are made of jersey cotton. Jersey works with casual and smart casual clothing.

Fleece: Fleece scarves will keep you warm. Make sure you go for a nice looking fleece scarf, otherwise it can look to casual or sporty. Fleece can work with all types of outfits, but again, make sure it doesn’t look too casual if you’re wearing it with a dressy look (I.e. like a sports sweatshirt look).

Alpaca: Alpaca has emerged as a go-to winter fabric that is breathable and doesn’t absorb odor. Alpaca is warm and soft feeling, but will cost you. Alpaca can be worn with all types of looks.

 

How to tie a scarf

The way you tie your scarf depends on your personal taste and how easy you want it to be. We’ll go over some examples below to help you narrow down how you would want to wear it.

Draped

The easiest way to put your scarf on is a simple drape. Make sure It’s even on both sides. You don’t want the scarf flying around too much, so keeping it slightly tucked under your coat is helpful on a windy day.

Pro: it’s easy and looks good

Con: it won’t keep you warm on a cold day.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Camel Coat + Grey Cable Knit Sweater + Grey Scarf + Black Pants + Camel Boots

 

Thread Through

If you want more coverage around your neck and don’t want your scarf flying off in different directions because of wind, try a simple knot. You start by folding your scarf in half, drape it around your neck and run the bottom of the scarf (fringe end) through the hole the fold made.

Photo Credit: TheBKF.net

Outfit Breakdown: Navy coat + Grey Plaid Blazer + White Shirt + Blue Scarf + Navy Blue Pants

Loop

A loop is one of the most popular and classic ways to wear a scarf. You start by draping the scarf around your neck and then take one side and wrap around your neck once more. You then even out the sides if you want.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Black Coat + Blue/black Houndstooth Sweater + Plaid Scarf + Blue Jeans + Shoes (black or brown boots would look great)

Note: I like the print mixing of the houndstooth sweater and the plaid scarf. Since the prints are both the same color, they work well.

 

Knot

This scarf technique looks a bit more complicated, but it’s not too hard and will stay in place with the cool looking knot. Wrap the scarf around your neck like in the loop example above, then add a tie to keep it in place.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Camel Coat + Grey Scarf

Triangle

Triangle scarves are thinner scarves that are square scarves folded in half (creating a triangle). Start by holding the triangle (single point down) towards you and simultaneously wrap each top point around the back of your neck and have them come out on either side.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Taupe Blazer + Taupe Shirt + Stone White Pants + Brown Derby Shoes + Brown/Beige Scarf

What to Wear with a Scarf

I’ve listed the outfit breakdowns above, so you can see how to put an outfit together. However, your scarf possibilities are aplenty. For example, you can wear a scarf with a denim or leather jacket and they look great.

Photo Credit: He Spoke Style

Outfit Breakdown: Medium Denim Jacket + Orange Plaid Scarf + Light Blue Button Down + Navy Pants + Brown Shoes

Note: this guy is having fun with his dressy style, but you can wear the denim jacket and scarf look with jeans and a henley. Notice his scarf is silky to go with his dressy look.

Leather jackets pair really well with scarves.

Photo Credit: Magic Fox

Outfit Breakdown: Moto Leather Jacket + White Shirt + Textured Brown Scarf + Black Jeans + Black Chelsea Boots

You can also wear your scarf with a hat to really play up the fall/winter look.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Outfit Breakdown: Green Felt Hat + Brown Coat + Grey/Black Textured Scarf + Grey T-shirt + Grey Puffer Jacket + White Jeans + Black Belt + Black Boots

Most jackets work with a scarf, so don’t overthink your jacket style. For example, if you like field or bomber jackets, they work well with a scarf. Having some form of outer layer makes a scarf look styled well. For example, don’t just wear a winter scarf with a t-shirt, it will look out of place. However, you can wear a sweater or cardigan with your scarf and it will look fine.

 

Alright guys, that’s my 101 on fall/winter scarves. Hope you enjoyed this blog post! Keep a look out for my color coordinating guide, which will knock your socks (matching with your outfit, of course) off! Be sure to sign up for the email list and i’ll keep you posted. There’s no fluff with my email list, you only get an email when I release a new post or I have something major to share.

Stay stylish my friends!

 

Supreet Chahal

Supreet is a Fashion Stylist from San Francisco, CA. She helps both men and women establish a sense of style and dress with confidence. If you want to work 1:1 with Supreet, visit StyleBySupreet.com. If you're a guy looking to learn more about style, check out PocketStylist.io, a site dedicated to teaching men how to dress well.

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