Scarf or Snood?

Scarf or Snood

Clockwise from top left: Dolce & Gabbana, Scotch & Soda, Tom Ford

With respect to men’s outer neckwear, the 2010 fall/winter season gives us several options.  First off, owning a single raggedy scarf was fine when you were seven, but as an adult you really should have a selection of a few pieces with casual and formal options.  You should experiment with different colour and pattern options as well.  To make things a little more interesting this season, we’re seeing a move away from the played out desert scarf (the traditional scarf alternative of yesteryear), towards the trendy new up-and-coming hood/scarf hybrid – the ‘snood’.  Whoever invented the snood may have had the lazy guy in mind.  It’s certainly given men a cool new outerwear style option.  In the same way that you would flip between standard neckties to trendier skinnier ties for casual outings, you could do the same by alternating between your scarf and the snood.

A snood is basically a casual looking scarf, similar in style and material, with the ends sewn together to make a complete loop or circle.  You can fold it in two, or three loops around your neck, instead of tying it around the way you would a scarf.  Some of the thicker snoods also dub as a makeshift hoodie – not my style, but it might work for the younger guys.  I picked up this jersey snood from Topman for £14 ($23) when I was in London back in August.  It adds some contrast to my patterned or coloured sweaters and looks great against a leather biker jacket, or even alone with a plain coloured v-neck.  This particular one is not too warm so you can get a lot of wear from it.  If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional scarf or want to try something casual or more trendy, I would suggest giving the snood a shot.  They are relatively inexpensive and come thin or chunky, patterned or plain.  They first started appearing hear and there two or three years ago, but now most of the major fashion houses are making them.

In my previous post, I had mentioned GQ’s recommendation of the Chunky (Knit) Scarf for FW10.  It’s been prevalent in most of the runway shows this season.  The cable knit, the fairisle pattern, the tassels, and the stripes are all big hits for this year.  Like the snood, I see the chunky scarf as a little more casual and a little awkward for semi-formal or formal wear, but it could creatively be pulled off.  It’s great for ski weekends and looks amazing without a coat if you’re going for the layered look with a cardigan.  I think that the patterned or brightly coloured Chunky Scarf is also effective against coats and sweaters with more simple earthy tones by adding some punch to the outfit.  Mixing and matching patterns and bright colours together can get a little challenging, so I’d get some help from someone with a good eye or a retail sales person.  When choosing your scarf, don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson questions and take note of what they would suggest matching it with and without.  Costs you nothing to ask.

I also wanted to talk about the thinner cotton/wool/cashmere scarves, of which we’ve seen a lot of over the past few seasons.  These too are also coming out in brighter colours, stripes, and the popular fairisle pattern.  One thing to take note of with the thinner scarves is that they are like your tie – they need to be tied or wrapped properly and not thrown on.  The right thin scarf, neatly wrapped, can add some polish to an outfit. There is a great Esquire article that demonstrated several ways to tie or wrap your scarf.  This season, I’m going to try a new method, different from my traditional loophole.  Not sure what it’s called, but I found a great demonstration by David Kadavy on YouTube in less than 30 seconds no less.  That’s about it for scarves and snoods for FW10.  Let me know if you have any questions by posting a comment below.

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