A certain sort of man is overly eager to wear a scarf; perhaps because he’s insecure about his wattle or because he always wanted to be an architect. This sort tends to spend November looking down on a different group, the guys who are reluctant to wrap it up because they were burned by an early experience with a neck warmer or mocked for their pretensions back in middle school. What’s for certain is that – to aggressively misquote Freud – a scarf is never just a scarf.
And neckwear politics will get even more complex this year because scarves are having – if you’ll pardon the phrase – a moment. The practical solution turned statement piece is suddenly popular in San Francisco and Seattle, cities that have historically been scarf averse. Guys in Los Angeles are wearing them too, but guys in Los Angeles will wear anything.
As a service for men feeling nervous about the trend, here are 11 things to keep in mind. If any one of the below statements is true, you can wear a scarf without concern or apology.
1) You’re wearing a suit and want to add a bit of texture to your outfit or give it a bit more of wintery rakishness by losing the tie. Presumably you’ve got something a little chunky - silk need not apply - on hand and know how to tie a “Hacking Knot." (Here’s a refresher: Fold the scarf in half then pull it around your neck and slide the ends through the loop made by the middle.)
3) You’ve decided to be on trend this season and picked up something colorful from Lovat and Green.
4) You’re booked on a red eye and you’ve got a lightweight gamucha you picked up on a business trip to Mumbai that you can wrap around your face so the guy in the middle seat won’t bother you while you’re trying to sleep.
5) You're going to an impossibly fancy, black-tie event and you still have your grandfather’s evening scarf. You also have a date who knows how to tie a clove hitch around a bedpost.
6) You’re wearing a bulky, dark overcoat and you want to have a hint of color for effect. Maybe you’ll put on something red or blue. Maybe you’re running for office.
7) You’re in Milan.
8) You’re not as excited as you could be about your ski coat and you don’t want to look like a doofus at an apres event so you figure you’ll unzip a bit.
9) You’re a politically-active Palestinian and you own a keffiyeh.
10) You’re driving a Mercedes SL with the top down even though it’s not really the season. You’ve got driving gloves on and you’ve pulled your Clan Mackintosh tartan twice around your neck so the ends aren’t flapping in the breeze.
11) You’re cold.
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