In addition to substitutions, one of the biggest themes of business casual is subtraction to achieve a lesser degree of formality. Take away the blazer. Lose the tie. And so on.
However, the more you pare down, the more you might be inclined to feel like slightly underdressed or that you’ve just got to do a little bit more to feel be your regular stylish self. Or maybe you’re reading this and are looking for a way up the ante. Two different people. One similar problem.
Since we’ve already gone over substitution and subtraction, let’s talk about addition. (Apologies if we’re starting to make men’s style seem like something of a math problem.)
But, truly one of the best ways to spice up a look that you may consider a bit bland is by making a simple addition. And in this case, we’re talking about a lightweight silk scarf.
There is one prerequisite to complete before wearing a lightweight silk scarf in this manner: you’ve got to get over the fact that the scarf is not really going to keep you warm.
Yes, a lot of menswear exists today because it was originally intended to solve a practical problem. We get it. For example, Fur-lined bomber jackets were designed to keep military pilots warm. Button-down shirts were developed by polo players to prevent their collars from flapping as they rode.
Interestingly, though it seems logical that scarves were designed to keep you warm, there is evidence that the earliest scarves were used to keep the wearer clean or to keep them cooler in hot weather. Go ahead and take a moment to stroke your chin and ponder that.
At any rate, it should be clear that scarves – whether historically or the present day – have served a variety of purposes, which is why everyone should be comfortable adding “aesthetics” to a scarf’s repertory.
If you’re going to use a silk scarf in this way, think of it just like you would a tie, which you’re ditching for the sake of business casual, or a pocket square. That is to say that it should complement the rest of the outfit and serve to pull everything together.
Tuck it in and under a buttoned up blazer for some added depth or let it all hang out and flap in the wind if you’re feeling more dramatic.