Silk scarves have got to be one of the most underrated fashion accessories out there. Even if you don't quite have the cash for Gucci or Hermès, the perfect scarf can add a touch of class to your outfit and really bring it to life. That's why it's crucial to know how to find a silk scarf that fits with your existing wardrobe. Pick the wrong one, and it’ll look like a mismatched blot on an otherwise perfect canvas.
If you’re unsure how to choose the right one, our buying guide is here to help! We’ll talk you through everything you should consider before spending your money. Ranking the finest accessories in the UK for women and for men, we’ll even introduce you to ten of the best silk scarves currently available to buy online in the UK from John Lewis, Amazon and eBay.
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The goal is to find a silk scarf that accentuates the colours of your clothing and adds a touch of elegance to your outfit. Luckily, we’re here to show you how to do just that! Read through our buying guide to find out which steps you'll need to take to find the perfect fashion accessory.
They’re called ‘silk’ scarves but, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to sneak in inferior materials in an effort to cut down on cost. The most common silk alternative you’ll encounter is polyester, owing to the fact that it bears a similar texture.
Outside of this, however, the two materials have very little in common. As a natural fibre, silk is breathable, hypoallergenic, and exceptionally soft. Polyester might be machine washable and more resistant to creasing, but its rough, petroleum-based fabric can aggravate skin that's prone to irritation. Luckily, most manufacturers selling online are required to detail the materials used to make their scarves, meaning you’re unlikely to be fooled.
But, if something seems a little off, how can you tell for sure? The first thing is to check is the price tag. Silk is significantly more expensive than polyester, so if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re lucky enough to see a scarf in person, another interesting method is to take a ring and try to slide the scarf through it. A silk one will slide smoothly through, while a polyester one won’t!
A silk scarf needn't only be worn around the neck or head, it's actually a much more versatile piece than you may have initially thought. But, how your silk scarf can be worn will depend on the shape and length of the one you buy.
Silk scarves will either be square or rectangle. It’s usually easy enough to tell from the picture, but if you’re not sure, it’ll almost always be detailed in the product description. Failing that, check the dimensions - two sides of equal length indicates a square, anything else is a rectangle.
The shape you should pick depends on how you wish to wear your scarf. Square scarves can be wrapped around the head like a bandana or around the neck as a neckerchief, whereas longer rectangle scarves can be used as shawls, wraps, or even as belts. There really are no limits to how creative you can get, but those looking for versatility should opt for a rectangular silk scarf, as the elongated shape gives you more fabric to play with.
As with any item of clothing, colour is key when it comes to picking your new silk scarf. So it’s a smart move to try and pick one that complements the rest of your outfit. Monochromatic pairings, which match two slightly different shades of the same colour, can create a subtle yet satisfying harmony, while colours at the opposite end of the colour wheel will create vibrant combinations that are sure to turn heads.
If you’re feeling bold, why not match the colour of your scarf with the current season? Reds, browns, blacks and blues are sure to brighten up the autumn and winter months, while pinks, yellows, and greens mirror the vibrancy that comes with the arrival of spring.
Some silk scarves feature dazzling patterns distinct enough that their very presence makes a fashion statement. For example, it’s hard to see a polka dot neckerchief without being taken straight back to the 1950s, making one a must-buy for rockabilly fans. In fact, the neckerchief was a popular clothing accessory for both men and women right up to the late 1960s, so it’s a great way to top off any retro look.
Silk scarves with quirky patterns allow you to express your interests or hobbies. You perhaps won’t find as wide a range of designs as you might with, say, a t-shirt, but you'll still have plenty of choice. Scarves based on famous paintings, such as Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ are great ways of expressing your artistic side. Likewise, a Star Trek themed scarf will surely be a must-buy for any avid Trekker.
Sometimes it’s less about using a fashion accessory to reflect your own interests, and more about reflecting the world around you. Floral patterns are popular within the world of shawl scarves, and are a fantastic way to celebrate the changing of the seasons. There’s nothing more cheerful in the spring than a silk scarf replete with daffodils.
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A Multi-Coloured Scarf That'll Enliven Any Look
Heritage Silk Scarf
Add a Touch of Elegance With This Hand-Crafted Scarf
Alphabet Silk Twill Square Scarf
Premium Quality and a Unique Design
Gustav Klimt Silk Scarf
An Arty Scarf With a Colour Scheme to Please the Eye
100% Mulberry Silk Polka Dot Print Scarf
A Retro-Styled Scarf to Complement a Range of Styles
Hand Painted Dragonfly Silk Scarf
A Hand-Painted Scarf That's Made With Love and Care
Story of Shanghai
Pink Floral Mulberry Silk Scarf
A Floral Design That's Perfect for Spring
Metallic Wrap Scarf
A Sheer Scarf Fit for Any Formal Occasion
Official Star Trek Ships of Line Scarf
A Cheery Star-Trek Scarf in a Lovely Shade of Blue
Not sure which colour scarf to go for? Then why not go for several in one! The 'swirl scarf', from world famous fashion designer Paul Smith, incorporates a whole range of complementary colours into its design from hot pinks to pastel blues.
It's bound to liven up any outfit and its range of colours means it'll match pretty much any colour scheme. You're bound to attract compliments wherever you go, especially as it's made entirely of high quality silk.
There were no half measures involved in the making of this heritage scarf from Joules. It's crafted from 100% silk with hand-rolled hems, so you can be sure that only the utmost care has gone into its production.
It features a unique pattern, consisting of an assortment of belts and buckles, that's sure to draw attention, no matter what you wear it with. But, we particularly like the navy and claret colour scheme for adding a touch of elegance.
Mulberry are a British brand famed for their high quality silk scarves since 1971. If you're looking for a luxury accessory to add to your collection, you can be sure that any product stamped with the Mulberry tree logo is of excellent quality.
This 100% silk scarf features a quirky design, complete with bold lettering, that would look great as part of a contemporary-styled outfit. Alas, this all comes at a steep price, so be sure it'll fit your wardrobe before you buy.
This unique scarf depicts Gustav Klimt's famous painting, 'The Kiss'. Just like the painting, this silk scarf features floral pinks and greens against a backdrop of luxurious gold.
For art lovers, it's a great way of expressing your passion, and it's a real conversation starter too. There's surely something for everyone to appreciate in such a beautiful colour scheme, with a warm glow that will complement most outfits.
This classic polka dot print is straight out of the 1950s, making it a great choice for those who love the retro or rockabilly look. We think it would look fabulous with a similarly vintage-inspired polka dot dress.
Its timeless appeal means it will look the part with pretty much any outfit. It's 100% silk too, giving it a smooth, soft texture. It may not be suited to those who prefer a more contemporary look, but this is certainly a scarf that has stood the test of time.
This beautiful dragonfly print has been hand-painted by a family of silk painters from Suzhou, China, famed for its silk since the Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago.
It's immediately apparent how much love has been poured into the design - which is meticulously painted one brushstroke at a time - and the deep blue colour scheme is just gorgeous. Such personal touches make this scarf a lovely alternative to its factory-produced counterparts.
This feminine pink scarf is sure to catch the eyes of passers by. Its floral design is just perfect for wear in the spring and summer months, evocative of the blossoms seen early in the season.
Floral designs can sometimes be too garish for some, particularly those keen to avoid stereotypically feminine designs. However, we think that in this instance, the pink colour scheme is vivid, without being gaudy.
This beautiful sheer scarf would make a great addition to any formal outfit. The translucency of the silk means it complements clothing without overshadowing it, a restrained design that makes it appropriate for wear at any special occasion, from weddings to summer parties.
Of course, some may find it to be a little on the plain side. It's not entirely made of silk either, as the fabric blend also consists of polyester and metallic fibre.
The world of silk scarves can be a little po-faced, and light-hearted scarves are hard to come by. That's why this scarf, decorated with an assortment spaceships, is sure to brighten any Star Trek fan's day.
The print is subtle enough that this scarf will fit well with a wide range of outfits, while remaining discernible enough to be recognised by fellow Trekkers. Naturally, it's Star Trek fans who will appreciate this scarf the most - otherwise, this scarf probably isn't for you!
Now that you’ve found your new silk scarf, you may be feeling inspired to rejuvenate your entire wardrobe. Whether you’re looking for an autumn staple, statement piece or just some more accessories, we’ve got the know-how to help you make the right choice!
If you haven’t already, perhaps we've convinced you that it's time to start browsing for your new silk scarf. We hope this article will help you find one that’ll add a new lease of life to your wardrobe and put a spring in your step!
Author: Ben Willimett
No. 1: Paul Smith｜Swirl Scarf
No. 2: Joules｜Heritage Silk Scarf
No. 3: Mulberry｜Alphabet Silk Twill Square Scarf
No. 4: Prettystern｜Gustav Klimt Silk Scarf
No. 5: TJC｜100% Mulberry Silk Polka Dot Print Scarf
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