The best new silk scarves

The silk scarf is back in the spotlight this summer, says a top fashion blogger

My accessory of choice this season isn’t a polished stainless steel Apple Watch, but a simple silk neck scarf. 1970s-inspired scarves appeared in various guises on spring catwalks, from Gucci and Pucci to Saint Laurent Paris, and for me the timing couldn’t be better. I’ve reached a point where I feel self-conscious about my neck, so summer’s pleasing silk scarf trend is fortunate indeed. I do like it when fashion and function coalesce.


I’m approaching this trend with great gusto and have gone from naught to near double figures in a matter of weeks. Accessories designer Sophie Hulme’s collection for Liberty is a particular favourite – both the navy spirograph charm repeat silk scarf and the pink windowpane check silk scarf (both £190, second picture) are gorgeous and the perfect complement to navy tailoring. Anya Hindmarch’s small googly-eyed Nocturnal neon-orange silk scarf (£95, third picture) is fun, but be prepared to join a waiting list. For that retro 1970s feel, Jane Carr’s python-print silk petite foulard (£110, first picture) is the perfect choice and would look stunning with a tan suede jacket.

My preferred way to wear a scarf right now is neckerchief style. The last time I embraced this jaunty look was as a teenage Debbie Harry fan with a bandana and a second-hand biker jacket. Since then, vintage leather has been upgraded to Isabel Marant, and for a modern update on the neckerchief I’ve been looking at Margaret Howell’s two-colour spot silk scarf (£75, fourth picture), Sunspel’s Liberty-print cotton small square scarf (£45) and Emma J Shipley’s Amazon silk scarf (£265, fifth picture).

For inspiration on how to tie the knot, Helen David’s website The Scarf Gallery, “a place where art and fashion meet”, has a fantastic video showing “25 ways to wear a scarf in 4.5 minutes” by a blogger called Wendys Lookbook. To a born-again scarf wearer like myself, this feels like time well spent. David was co-founder of 1980s fashion label English Eccentrics, and after more than 30 years in industry has curated an online gallery of artists’ work, including her own beautiful Japanese Roses designs (£165, sixth picture) and those by paper-cut specialist Rob Ryan – his turquoise scarf And Most of All They Need Love (£95, seventh picture) is a highlight. “​For me a square neck scarf is a wearable canvas,” says David, “​a ​wonderful place to delight in colour on fluid silk and to express anything from a detailed drawing to a paper-cut print to a painterly abstract.” She couldn’t be more right.​


For more scarves with panache, see vintage scarves with artistic flair or for something more contemporary, try these new fashion and art collaborations.

Alyson Walsh is the author of Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous (Hardie Grant) and blogs as That’s Not My Age. @thatsntmyage.

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