Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. And sometimes it’s one big thing requiring zero effort, like an oversized scarf.
This winter’s XL scarf is more like a pashmina, proportionally speaking, but thicker and woollier and a lot more fashionable.
Let’s call it the Super Scarf, just to be clear that it is a scarf in a league of its own: super-scale (your scarf should be roughly 40cm wide and long enough to wrap around your neck and then tuck into your belt if you wanted to); super-useful (if you’re spending more time outdoors this winter, as you almost certainly will be, chinking glasses across the garden fence, this scarf is going to be a godsend); but also super-cool.
Along with snoods, all the top designers have done some version of a super-size muffler this winter, which is lucky.
Shane Watson shared her advice for embracing this season’s super scarves trend, as seen on the Michael Kors catwalk (pictured)
They weren’t to know we were going to need comfort and hygge in clothing form, they were far more interested in the swagger appeal of a Super Scarf and what it can instantly do for an outfit.
Here’s what designers know: if you want to give something pretty standard — a shirt and trousers, or a long-sleeved midi-dress — a bit of extra dash, just add a Super Scarf.
Do you want to add texture and interest to a plain outfit, or soften up masculine-looking tailoring, or create a nest of warm colour near your face, or give something light and pretty a rugged Winter 2020 reboot? Then your easiest bet by far is a Super Scarf.
Wear it slung around a shirt instead of a cardigan; wrapped around your neck as an alternative to a high-necked blouse; draped over a shoulder like a Highlander’s cloak; or with a buttoned-up jacket instead of a top — a big scarf is all the protection you need.
The Super Scarf is very versatile. And, best of all, it allows you the opportunity to dabble.
SCARVES: THE NEW RULES
- Try a two-tone Super Scarf or one in plaid.
- Look for a wide design, 40cm minimum.
- Wrap around or wear over one shoulder.
- Double up with a polo-neck or snood.
If you are one of those people (and I am) who sees a red-and-pink plaid jacket and thinks, ‘Love that, but I’m not in the market for a jacket that doesn’t go with all my clothes’, then the super scarf is the answer: all the colour and pattern you want in one instantly removable hit. Plus, it will cover up last year’s uneventful separates and make them look newly on the money.
The message is, get a scarf quick. And if you’re getting a scarf, go XL or don’t bother.
Starting at the pricey, designer end of the scale, Isabel Marant does an ombre — pink turning into red — alpaca blend, fringed scarf (£255, net-a-porter.com). Note: some alpaca in the mix bulks it out and gives it that all-important chunky, dramatic, extra special feel.
Loewe also has a two-tone cranberry and charcoal-fringed scarf (£225, net-a-porter.com).
Admittedly, these are big numbers to be spending on a mere scarf, but they make more sense if you think of this as an accessory that’s going to dress up all your clothes all winter.
Sling one of these over an old cream silk shirt and dark trousers, add some baroque pearl and gold earrings and you’ve got yourself a brand-new outfit.
Top of the oversized scarves on the High Street has to be Cos’s alpaca wool-mix beige scarf with a wide turquoise strip of colour (£59, cosstores.com). Also a bargain at £45 are & Other Stories’ wool, fringed, ‘blanket’ scarves (£45, stories.com), so-called because they’re huge (50cm x 183cm). They also come in a range of colours to go with, or clash with, everything you own.
Otherwise, Reiss does an oversized, textured scarf in cherry (£85, reiss.com); and Toast has a big mohair scarf (£125) in a hazy, dull gold plaid or a giant (185cm x 52cm) tile-print lambswool scarf (£95, toa.st/uk).
Topping the scales at a whopping 195cm x 75cm is Arket’s checked wool scarf, terrific value at £69 (arket.com) and you’ll be picnicking on it next summer. What’s not to love?