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Trends & SubculturesWednesday, 13 November 2019

Trending: This Season's Best Winter Scarves

WORDS BY STEPHEN YU

 

Summer didn’t just fizzle out this year, it abruptly fell off a cliff, leaving fashionistas everywhere reeling. With no time to put together a winter wardrobe, we’ve all been left feeling like the squirrel that spent summer frolicking rather than storing any nuts for winter – cold, jealous, regretful, and worst of all, wearing last seasons winter wear. Whoops. Forget nuts though, thankfully there’s something much better suited to helping you survive winter in style – the oversized scarf.

 

Tartans, checks and plaids

 

Tartan has been around since the time of William Wallace, and chances are that even the least stylish member of your family owns a checked scarf, but that doesn’t make plaid any less cool. This season, everything criss-crossed and colourful is still very much in style, with modern day iterations of this timeless pattern taking classic tartan weave and cumber tossing it straight into the 21st century with big, bold and vibrant colourways. 

 

Yes, a big scarf wrap is an essential piece for your transitional winter wardrobe. We like to think of a chunky scarf as an extension of your knitwear collection, adding luxe materials and comforting textures to even the most functional  winter outfits. More than just an additional layer for added warmth, big scarves can also be the statement piece which you work your wardrobe around, especially when they come in eye-catching patterns, vibrant colourways or covered in logos. Don’t think of an oversized scarf as just a cape or poncho either, they come in all shapes and sizes ranging from a classic thick knit all the way up to blanket scarves and shawls. 

 

So while you might have forgotten to stash away some nuts, it’s definitely not too late to save your winter wardrobe. Keep reading for our selection of the best designer scarves and how to wear the trend.

How to wear it:

A vivacious plaid scarf absolutely can be the centre point of your outfit, keep all the focus on yours by pairing it with neutral colours. If oodles of colour is more your thing, contrasting your scarf against coordinated colour blocks of bold and pastel colours can elevate your whole outfit. Don’t be scared to layer patterns on patterns too, just make sure to place louder patterns next to something more subtle, for instance a colourful tartan scarf over a checked blazer.

 

Honourable mentions:

Looking for something more classic? Look no further than the makers of the most iconic check print of all time – Burberry – who’ve updated their Nova print in an array of new colourways and oversized configurations. Otherwise, you’ll never have to stray far from the British Isles for great plaid scarves, stick to classic heritage brands like Barbour or Pringle of Scotland for more traditional patterns like diamond knit or argyle.

Patterns and prints

 

As 21st century fashion continues its love affair with everything printed and patterned, scarves are only just beginning theirs. Eternally in vogue patterns such as leopard print, stripes and florals return in more vivid and saturated colours than ever before, while more contemporary patterns like tie-dyes, mismatched prints, Victorian wallpapers and psychedelic geometrics have come to the forefront.

How to wear it:

Avoid looking too busy when playing with patterned or printed scarves – stick to autumnal neutrals like beige, green or light blue alongside black and white. If you absolutely cannot fight the urge to show some colour, a tasteful piece of matching tonal outerwear can really frame your scarf.

 

Honourable mentions:

For the quintessential patterned scarf, it's hard to beat the must-have Alexander McQueen Skulls Scarf now in new neon colourways.

Contemporary colour pops

 

Outerwear can be super expensive, so if you’re the kind of person who only buys one coat a season, scarves can be an excellent way to work some colour into your winter wardrobe. Just like the fleece, oversized scarfing comes in every colour from classic hiking greens and greys, to trendy neon oranges, or classy pastel purples.

How to wear it:

You’re one of two characters this season – you’re either the classy minimalist who’s tastefully working colour into chic, neutral outfits; or you’re the fashion visionary layering three different shades over leopard prints and florals, and somehow making it look good too. Wear your scarf accordingly, let the colour shine against a muted palette, or use it as just one colour pop amongst a sea of clashing hues and mismatched prints.

 

Honourable mentions:

Forget the little black dress or black skinny jeans, a classic black scarf is your best friend when the temperature starts to drop. We like this version from Moncler.

Big brands and logos

 

Sans serif fonts and monogram prints. Every high-end fashion house is at it. Forget understated luxury, nowadays it's all about branding, and the bigger and more in-your-face, the better. Why would you expect scarves to be any different? If you’re not already using your scarf as another way to show off your impeccable taste in brands, then now is a good time to start.

How to wear it:

Make sure to never break up the branding, loose drapes are the order of the day. Logos and text are best displayed by tying a single knot like a cravat, or alternatively hung nonchalantly over one shoulder. For extra fashion points, cinch your scarf in at the waist by tucking it underneath your belt (preferably branded too). The more heavily branded you go, the more monochromatic or neutral your look should be. We’re also not big fans of mixing too many brands together, so pick one big name to be loyal to or otherwise you’ll end up looking like a walking advert.

 

Honourable mentions: 

Think of your favourite brand, and it’s likely they have their very own logo scarf. Feeling lazy? Here’s an alphabetical list of our favourites: Fendi, Givenchy, Gucci, Loewe, Moncler, Moschino, Off-White, Stella McCartney, Valentino and Versace.

Thick knits, silky cashmeres and comforting quilts

 

Winter is all about comfort, which is why we’re so glad that this season’s scarves come in a multitude of materials. Looking for a blanket that’s acceptable to wear in public? Go for a quilt scarf. Wishing you could cuddle your teddy bear at any time of day? Shearling is the material for you. Missing the soft caress of your pet? Reach for faux fur. We think you get it. From chunky cable knits, to soft cashmeres, whether it’s luxury skinfeel, comfort, texture or warmth you’re after this season, there are a variety of different fabrics and weights to get you there.

How to wear it:

There are no hard and fast rules for each material, but here’s what we recommend. With chunky knits, the weight of the material is perfect for a loose wrap round the neck with two hanging ends. Thick wools, mohairs, and fake furs don’t take to folding well, better to wear them draped over both shoulders. Cashmere is so soft we love to wear it close to the skin, loop it tightly around your neck several times. Ribbed scarves were made to be worn bunched around the neck, with one or two loose ends almost trailing the floor. The general rule with voluminous thick knits is to balance them with a more slim, feminine silhouette – think long knitwear, dresses and coats or fitted denims and boots.

 

Honourable mentions:

Nothing beats the warmth and traditional aesthetic of a classic cable knit scarf. Check out this matching set from Barbour. For those looking for something more unconventional, there are pleats from Issey Miyake, quilting from Isabel Marant or oversized hands (click and you’ll see what I mean) from Chen Peng.

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