A scarf can be worn in various ways but not all will work equally well on the same person. This usually depends a lot on the length and thickness of the scarf itself; more precisely, on how long and chunky it is in relation to the wearer’s height and physique.
Proportion is – as always – key to ensuring the scarf you’re wearing looks good on you. The longer a scarf’s ends reach, the bigger the impact on one’s visual height. On short men, a scarf’s length should ideally reach mid-torso. This will keep the focus on the upper part of the body, that closest to the face. Tall men can afford greater flexibility though a scarf is never flattering when it reaches too close to the nether parts.
A scarf’s length will also affect how bulky it appears when worn. One that is too long will require more turns for its ends to reach the desired length. This will result in added volume that will not only feel restrictive but also make one look too bundled up.
On the other hand, a scarf that is relatively short is best worn hanging around the neck. Alternatively, for added warmth, you could flip one end over a shoulder, in order to keep the neck covered.
However, it seems that the two most common ways – and to me, also the most comfortable – of wearing a scarf are either with a knot just below the neck or loops around the neck.
The first results in a ‘Y’ shape stretching from the neck to the point on the torso where the scarf’s ends reach. Apart from giving a very neat appearance, its vertical effect creates an illusion of added length and also has a slimming effect (assuming the scarf is not entirely covered by the jacket). It can be particularly flattering on shorter and/or bigger men.
The second, that with loops around the neck and the ends hanging on the sides, visually broadens the shoulders and chest, giving them more prominence. It’s ideal for men who want the emphasis to be on their these areas, especially if their hips are proportionately wider. This look will also work well on very tall men who should ideally focus on broadening their silhouette, rather than elongating it.
Whichever way you choose to wear your scarf, as much as it’s important for it to look elegant, it should never look too precise, such as with the ends reaching the exact same length. Nor should a scarf look too stiff. In fact, a scarf’s soft and flowing texture can balance the seemingly linear and sometimes rigid structure of a winter jacket/coat, effectively softening the look.