Let’s face it, a scarf probably isn’t at the top of most men’s summer shopping lists. After all, scarves are for keeping your neck warm, right? And why would anyone need to do that when it’s 20+ degrees outside?
It might seem ridiculous at first, but a lightweight scarf can actually be a useful accessory in the warmer months – ‘lightweight’ being the operative word. Choose your fabric wisely and a summer scarf can shield your neck from the sun, spice up your warm-weather looks and, oddly enough, even help to keep you cool by providing shade and wicking moisture away from the skin.
But enough with the sales pitch. If you’ve landed on this article, chances are you’re already considering investing in a summer scarf, and below you’ll find all the information you need to do so, from how to wear it to which brands to shop.
Why Buy A Summer Scarf?
Out of all the seasons, summer is without a doubt the easiest to dress for. Shorts, T-shirt, white sneakers, done. But this can be both a blessing and a curse, because while it certainly makes life easier, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for creative expression. If you’re not careful, summer looks can become boring and uninspired.
This is where a lightweight scarf comes in. It may be little more than a length of thin fabric, but it can be styled in a multitude of ways and deployed to bring a stale summer wardrobe to life. Are you going to wear it every day? Probably not. But will it be useful for adding a finishing touch to the odd warm-weather look? Absolutely.
The Best Summer Scarf Fabrics
The best summer scarf fabrics are lightweight, breathable, comfortable and quick-drying. There’s one material in particular that ticks all of those boxes: linen.
Linen should be your first port of call when it comes to buying a summer scarf. It’s light, it’s more durable than cotton, it wicks sweat away from the skin and the loose weave of the fabric and low thread count mean that it’s highly breathable.
Linen is actually the oldest woven fabric in the world and has long been relied on in hot countries for making all sorts of clothing, scarves included. But it’s not your only option. Cotton can work too, provided it’s thin enough, and there are also blended options like, linen-silk and linen-cashmere, that are great for adding a premium touch.
How To Wear A Summer Scarf
Throwing a scarf around your neck might not seem like rocket science, and for the most part it isn’t. However, summer scarves and their thicker winter counterparts are two entirely different beasts and what works with one might not necessarily work with the other.
There are a number of different ways to wear a summer scarf. Some of these are just the same as any other scarf and a few others apply only to the summer variety. If you’re stuck for inspiration here are a few key ways to wear.
For peak nonchalance, simply drape a summer scarf around the back of your neck so that one end hangs freely on each side at the front.
Much the same as with a winter scarf, a summer scarf can be worn tied at the front. Try this method with smarter looks, or even just with a T-shirt or Oxford shirt.
With tailored attire, wearing a shorter summer scarf as a cravat is always an option. Just make sure it’s not tied in too perfect a knot – cravats are always in danger of coming across as pretentious. Keeping things loose and laid back will help to mitigate the risk.
Just like you would with a winter scarf, simply drape the scarf over the neck, leaving one side longer than the other. Toss the longer end over the shoulder, making sure to leave it nice and loose around the neck.
The Best Summer Scarf Brands
Before you invest in your new summer scarf, it’s worth knowing which brands make the best ones. Generally speaking, the best bet is to stick to labels that specialise in either linen fabric or scarves in general. There are plenty of names in both camps but the ones listed below are our favourites.
Starting out as a maker of men’s ‘Scarves, Shawls and Plaids’, British brand Drake’s certainly has pedigree when it comes to neckwear. Although it has since evolved to produce a full range of men’s clothing, the label remains true to its roots by offering a wide selection of scarves in lightweight, intricately printed fabrics that will certain inject personality into any warm-weather ensemble.
Linen has long been a staple for Italian label Brunello Cucinelli, which works with only the finest mills in its homeland. The brand’s linen output spans everything from shirts to cashmere-blend knitwear, but even smaller items like scarves boast the same premium quality and meticulous attention to detail.
Founded in 1924, Loro Piana is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of luxury fabrics. The epitome of timeless Italian elegance, its range of lightweight scarves come in a wealth of versatile block colours and classic patterns like checks and stripes, each meticulously crafted from arguably the world’s finest linen and cashmere.
Begg & Co
Born in the Scottish town of Paisley, Begg x Co has been setting the bar for woven goods since the mid-1800s. The label began life making shawls but after relocating to Ayr on the southwest coast of Scotland, Begg x Co began to invest in new machinery and expand its offering. Today, the brand still specialises in scarves and wraps, including lots of lightweight linen options perfect for summertime accessorising.
Anderson & Sheppard
Anderson & Sheppard has been making bespoke suits on Savile Row since 1906, but it also does an excellent line of premium accessories. The brand stocks a range of lightweight scarves and neckerchiefs, all made using the finest materials, right here in England.
Missoni has long been regarded as the ‘King of Prints’, and for good reason. The Italian brand certainly isn’t a wallflower, but this vibrant, contemporary approach to design lends itself particularly well to accent pieces like the lightweight scarf. Available in a range of breathable materials including cotton, linen and fine-gauge merino wool, if you want to make a statement this summer, look no further.