It might seem like the scarf was destined to go the way of the fedora: once de rigueur, now painfully out of date. The thing that sets scarves apart from old-timey hats, though, is the undeniable practicality of a scarf. Scarves keep the face and neck warm in a way that few other garments can, and it’s easy to pull a scarf tight when the wind chills hit and loosen it when you’re inside. That’s why scarves won’t ever really go out of style, whether worn with rakish intentionality or thrown on when running out the door, they’re something that everyone can benefit from when the season calls for it.
Winter, believe it or not, isn’t the only scarf season. People in traditionally arid regions like the Middle East have long worn lightweight cotton scarves for protection against sunburn, dust, and sand. Shemaghs, or keffiyehs, are popular as fashion, military, and traditional wear. “Summer scarf” might seem oxymoronic or just plain silly, but it’s a reasonable thing to own for periods of extended sun exposure.
The great thing about scarves is that good ones don’t have to be expensive. It’s worth spending money to get quality shoes, for example, but since scarves are simple strips of fabric that are worn seasonally, even an affordable one can last a long time. The three options below include two cold-weather scarves and one warm-weather option.
1. Plum Feathers Winter Scarf
These scarves are not cashmere, but numerous reviewers were nonetheless impressed with how soft they are. They come in a lot of vibrant tartan prints, but we’re partial to the more understated black and gray herringbone option. It adds a little visual texture without being too loud.
Pros: Soft, available in various prints, good length to tie it.
Cons: Thin, so not designed for very cold temperatures.
2. Hirbawi Premium Arabic Scarf
Since shemaghs/keffiyehs are traditional items, avoiding cultural appropriation is an important consideration. That’s why this scarf is a good option; it’s an authentic shemagh that is made in Palestine. The fabric is cotton, so it’ll be breathable on hot days. It can also be used to keep warm in cooler weather, too.
Pros: Authentic shemagh/keffiyeh, available in numerous colors.
Cons: Somewhat delicate.
3. Plum Feathers Solid Color Winter Scarf
Patterned scarves are great, but they can be hard to match with. These affordable scarves from Plum Feathers come in a wide range of colors, so there’s less to worry about regarding pattern clashing. Since they’re so affordable, you can pick up a few to swap out with different outfits.
Pros: Variety of solid colors, soft feeling, long enough to tie.
Cons: Thin, so may not be ideal for very cold weather.