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Men have historically always worn something at the neck – if it wasn’t a tie, it was an ascot or a workman’s neckerchief. Such things are practical, for work and for warmth.

Over the past six months we have been working with weavers Begg & Co on our own, modern equivalent. The result is a square scarf in ultra-lightweight cashmere, beautifully soft and luxurious, that is designed to be tied and tucked into a crewneck sweater.

I’ve been wearing mine regularly for the past 4 weeks, and I find it particularly nice during these transitional months – Autumn and Spring – when a big, long scarf often feels cumbersome, but having something against the neck is great to keep out the morning chill. 

You can buy it now, here. (The scarves cost £175 each; Begg are offering free shipping worldwide.)

The colours

We made our square scarf in two colours, navy and natural. These go with a whole range of colours of knitwear, just some of which are shown here. Navy is subtle and chic with navy itself, but also works with darker colours like charcoal.
  

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The ‘natural’ shade, on the other hand, is a great compliment to autumnal colours like rust, brown and green – as in the shetland sweater at the top, and tweed jacket below – as well as flannel grey.

  
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The cashmere

If one thing sets our squares apart, however, it is the Wispy cashmere they are made of.

Begg developed this style of scarf with an ultra-fine white cashmere. It’s so fine that it would normally snap under the tension of a loom, but Begg use a patented coating on the cashmere to allow it to be woven, and then wash the coating out afterwards.
  

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The make

The scarves are woven in Begg’s Scottish factory, on the west coast in Ayr. Begg has been the premier scarf manufacturer in the country for decades, but until recently only made for other brands (including some of the biggest designer houses). This collaboration is another stage in its emergence as the best weaver of fine scarves in the world.

You can read more on our visit to the Begg factory here.

We also decided to give the scarves hand-rolled edges, like a good handkerchief. Of course, hand rolling the edges adds considerably to the time of production and cost of the product. But we wanted to produce the absolute finest piece we could – and the wispy cashmere deserves it.
  

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The style

The square scarf is designed to be folded along its diagonal, creating a triangle, and then tied around the neck. The great thing about folding this way is that the point extends down the back, preventing the scarf from riding up and exposing skin between scarf and sweater.

At the front, the scarf can be tied simply over-and-under (like an ascot), in a square knot, or left to hang loose. It can even be tied in a four-in-hand, like a tie.

I’ll post more on ways to wear it later in the week, but personally I prefer a simple over-and-under (shown in all images above).

It is also nice to wrap the scarf around twice (as shown below) and secure it with a small knot. This creates a thicker band of cashmere, and is considerably warmer.
 

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How to buy

We have an initial 50 scarves available in each colour. After that they will be sold out, pending a second run next year. Scarves are £175 each.

They can be purchased through a special page of the Begg website here. There is free shipping worldwide.

Begg will be handling all payments and shipment. Their terms and conditions, as noted on the site, apply.

Other details:

  • The cashmere squares measure 70cm on each side
  • Dry clean only. Scarves can be pressed lightly, using a cool iron
  • If you’d like to read more about the development of the wispy cloth, Begg have a nice article on their site
         

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Photos: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

PURCHASE HERE

 

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Colin

On point as ever Simon, classic with modern twist. Also where is the shetland crew neck that you are wearing in the first shot from? A&S?

Matt

Not overly keen on the scarves – shades of old man Steptoe – but love that tweed jacket. What cloth is it and where can I get some? Thanks.

Adam Jones

The standard wispy is an amazing fabric, so thin you would never believe it is cashmere. This is a perfect piece for it.

They look much more textured and interesting than the normal fine wispy scarves. Or is this just the camera zoom?

Martijn

OFF topic reader question:

I am a long time reader but only recently capable (financially) of spending money on the kind of clothing and accessories featured here. I recently bought a couple of beautiful Emanuele Maffeis shirts (as have featured on this website). The shoulder is very, very pleated, and I am struggling to find a good source on the internet explaining to me in (relatively) simple language the need for this spalla camicia on my shirt and the nature of this tradition. I sort of understand that the sleeve on the shoulder side is larger than the armhole, but why? And why have (certain) Italians chosen to pleat it heavily on the top side and have it straight all over, instead of doing what every other shirtmaker does and pleat it subtly along the entire length?
Would really appreciate an answer to this to further my personal development on the subject. Love the website!

Kind regards,

Martijn Stolze

Martijn

Apologies! But thanks for the rapid response. I like it too (in moderation, as you say. I don’t need to look like a Swiss Guardsman) but I just wondered why it was so pronounced. Now I know.

Colin

Ordered the Natural I think the lighter shade is preferable and would look better with a navy crew neck…..sorry, Simon. Looking forward to seeing more ways to wear it.

Rabster

Thanks for answering Mart’s question I finally understand.
I’ve heard it explain before but not as well.
The dimensional aspects of tailoring is something that fascinates me and deserves more photography to demonstrate.

Christian W

Wow, that looks awesome.

I instantly thought of a roman soldier. Most depicitions of them have a scarf just above the armour.

And that is a compliment. 🙂

Christos

Hi Simon,

would’t you say that the navy one will work with flannel grey?

David Craggs

Jason King is alive and well and living in London.
Great look and one that I have been promoting for a while.

Fletcher

I am quite fixated on these scarves, Simon. Can they be folded and tied in such a way that they would fit under the collar of a shirt (similar to an ascot) or are they better suited to the bare, crewneck look?

Anonymous

Beautiful design Simon, a very versatile addition to any wardrobe. In warmer summer weather, aside from, perhaps, a lighter linen scarf, how does one soften the open shirt/jacket lapel disharmony that, in winter, a scarf/kintwear layer can tone down?

BespokeNYC

Absolutely beautiful. Just ordered mine in natural. Looking forward to reading more about different ways to wear it…

Ammar Khan

Do you wear a t-shirt under the sweater? Personally I think it looks nicer for a t-shirt not to pop out at the neck but on the other hand you need to wear something underneath. Any thoughts? P.s. I think the website is wonderful and check it everyday.

David

Simon,
Do you plan a repeat run of these?
Perhaps with an extended range of colours. Silver grey would be nice as would some heritage polka dot.
They are fabulous and I wear mine constantly

David

Any news?

G.

I’ve never seen these before. Here in Chicago it’s bone-chilling cold from early November to mid-May. Interesting concept. But I do balk at the price. Having said that, I see their practicality in less formal scenarios.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Between the natural and grey which is more versatile? It’s hard to distinguish which color is which. Do you have better photos with labels to distinguish them online? The natural kind of looks like grey and vice-versa. It’s hard to tell on my screen. Thanks

MBB355

Is a square scarf essentially identical to a bandana (e.g., https://www.drakes.com/usa/navy-red-and-yellow-paisley-print-cotton-silk-bandana)? And is the cashmere on these square scarves light enough to be worn in warm weather? I really like the look of a bandana or silk scarf tucked into a crewneck sweater or smart t-shirt (like the Colhays sport shirt you covered last week) under a tailored jacket. Seems like a great, interesting alternative to the dress shirt. And for those of us with long necks, the scarf/bandana provides some coverage, substituting for the shirt collar.