Scarves have had a number of callings, and names, throughout history. As sudariums, ancient Romans used them to wipe sweat from their faces. As cravats, 17th-century Frenchmen wore them like a sort of necktie. Other types of scarves have also been worn as religious garments, as shields from dust and wind, and to signify rank by military personnel. Today, most people use scarves to stay warm in the winter. Yes, style is important, but a scarf’s main purpose is to keep the neck warm — to protect where a beanie and winter coat cannot. These scarves come in all kinds of fabrics, from silk to lambswool, yarn and cashmere, at least one of which is sure to match your style.
Polo Ralph Lauren Reversible Scarf
Best Overall Scarf
Ralph's had this scarf in the collection for years because it's a great scarf. It's made in Italy using a perfect mix of luscious wool and nylon for strength. Plus it's double-sided so you're really getting two scarves in one. There's a grip of colorways to choose from every season, too, so you're not limited to this handsome windowpane version.
Kapital Compressed Wool Scarf
Best Upgrade Scarf
One of our top picks when the cold comes around, Kapital's scarves are legendary and come in dizzying patterns, illustrations and colors every year. Made in Japan, it features buttery soft compressed wool that naturally rolls at the edges.
L.L. Bean Irish Lambswool Scarf
Best Affordable Scarf
It's tough to find a scarf made entirely of lamsbwool at a price like this. L.L. Bean's outshines others in value thanks to its sweet lambswool, woven in Ireland by a century-old mill.
Uniqlo Patterned Heattech Scarf
Made from an acrylic-wool blend, this affordable scarf uses Uniqlo's famed Heattech technology to keep you warm without adding bulk. It comes in a handful of colorways, too, should you be tempted to nab a few, especially at this price.
Barbour Tartan Lambswool Scarf
Barbour's all-lambswool scarf serves up quality at a comfortable price point. The soft doodad comes in several different tartans so you can choose your clan (or just whichever goes with your outfit).
Colorful Standard Merino Wool Scarf
We like Colorful Standard's Merino Scarf for balancing great materials and construction with a solid pricepoint, packing in some serious value.
Battenwear Either Way Warmer
One thing we saw way more of this year was neck warmers, otherwise known as neck gaiters, a tubular variation of the scarf. This one from Battenwear uses Polartec recycled shearling to keep you warm and can either be tucked into your collar or be used as a head warmer with a cute little brim.
Taylor Stitch Baby Yak Scarf
One of the softest scarves out there, this scarf uses nothing but super soft and rare baby yak wool. It feels just like cashmere but without the price.
Inverallan Aran Scarf
Like the famed Scottish sweaters, this cable-knit beauty is hand-knit using 100 percent virgin wool.
Howlin' Moskow Discow Scarf
Howlin' turned up the funk on the traditional Fair Isle pattern while maintaining the made-in-Scotland pedigree.
Alex Mill Boiled Wool Bandana Scarf
If you're not about to drop potentially irresponsible dough on a Kapital scarf, Alex Mill's Boiled Wool Bandana Scarf will get you half-way there. It features a super textured, but super soft boiled wool and a jacquard-knit paisley pattern.
MHL. by Margaret Howell Pocket Scarf
Margaret Howell's collection of quality goods is the definition of understated elegance. This piece features a warm, silky smooth all-wool knit that's made in the UK and features a pocket because, well, why not?
Mr P. Fringed Checked Wool Cashmere-Blend Scarf
If you took a classic Pendleton wool shirt, added a dash of cashmere, cut it up and turned into a scarf, you'd have this one from Mr P. It's made in the UK and features a vintage-inspired check pattern that'll pair well with any outfit (even the bad ones).
The North Face Brown Label Insulated Scarf
A quilted fleece scarf — need we say more?
Kiriko Boro Scarf
Made from vintage Japanese boro fabrics that date as far back as a century or more, these scarves are one-of-a-kind. Each one is unique and dyed using indigo, so they'll get better with age.
Loewe Striped Brushed Mohair-Blend Scarf
This vivid scarf comes from none other than Loewe designer, JW Anderson. It's rich colors are complemented by the hairy texture of the mohair fabric and make for one of the most playful accessories around.
Johnstons of Elgin Cashmere Fleece Scarf
Just when you thought the far reaches of cozy have found its limit, this wild scarf shows up. Made in the UK by storied knitwear brand Johnstons of Elgin, this scarf features an luxe cashmere knit into a fluffy fleece fabric.