The PS square scarf: available again

Friday, November 23rd 2018
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The small, fine cashmere scarf I designed three years ago with Begg & Co - intended to be worn on cold days tucked into knitwear - is available again.

It's on the PS Shop now, in grey, navy and green.

I've reproduced some of the description from November 2015 below, with the original thought process and product details.

If anything, it seems more relevant than ever, and the experiences more true for three years of consistent wear.

[Do note, though, that the top image and tying images show the 'natural' colour of scarf, which is not in the current range.]

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.

We worked with weavers Begg & Co on our own, modern equivalent. It's a square scarf in ultra-lightweight cashmere, beautifully soft and luxurious, that is designed to be tied and tucked into a sweater.

I’ve been wearing mine regularly, and find it particularly nice when a big, long scarf feels cumbersome - but having something against the neck is great to keep out the morning chill.

The three colours - navy, grey and green - go with the whole range of knitwear, just some of which is shown here.

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

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

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).

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 adds considerably to the time of production and cost of the product. But I wanted to produce the absolute finest piece I could – and the wispy cashmere deserves it.

The scarf is designed to be folded along its diagonal, creating a triangle, and then tied at the front (as shown above).

The great thing about folding this way is that the point extends down the back, preventing the scarf from riding up and exposing the skin to the cold.

The knot can be a simple over-and-under (like an ascot), a square knot, or even a four-in-hand. Personally, though, I prefer a simple over-and-under, as it's the easiest and least fussy.

It can also be nice to wrap the scarf around twice before knotting. This creates a thicker band of cashmere, and is chunkier but warmer.

The shop also has a very small number of PS scarf rings available, which were designed in conjunction with Alice Made This.

The problem with most scarf rings is that they are usually decorative and fancy, often gold-plated. To counter this, we used solid brass (which looks substantial), tumbled it (which looks worn and matte) and made it highly practical.

The brass is uncoated, so it will tarnish over time (or can be polished to bring it back). The inside of the ring also naturally polishes with the action of pulling the scarf through repeatedly, creating a nice contrast.

Other details on the products:

  • The cashmere squares measure 70cm on each side
  • Dry clean only. Scarves can be pressed lightly, using a cool iron
  • Cost is £145 plus VAT for the scarf, available here
  • Rings are £54 plus VAT, here

Photography: Jamie Ferguson

 

 

 

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Richard T

Shame that the natural colour isn’t available. It would, arguably, be the most useful colour.

SC

Given the exposure direct contact with skin oils and sweat, how often would you need to dry clean this neckerchief or other scarves in general…I wear my Begg Kishorn and Burberrys often. Also, any tips on getting rid of the inevitable pilling, even on such finely made cashmere items?

Anonymous

Have you tried washing it in the washing machine?

Neil Tang

Hi Simon,

Any plans to make the ‘natural’ colorway available in the near future?

Peter O

I never saw gloves stored in the upper pocket of a jacket or coat
as in your photograph today!

Where did you get that idea?

Peter O

No, I’m not being sarcastic. I always except in summer wear gloves – lined and unlined Dents – when I’m under wegs. I’ve forgotten a pair of gloves I put on the small desk in front of me while sitting in one of those seatd in opposition on the train because my attention was diverted, but the Dents gloves were not brought to the Lost & Found.
My pockets are usually full. It never occurred to me to put them in the pocket of my covert coat, and my jacket vest pocket has a square. I don’t recall having seen any advertisement or film or picture in which gloves are put in the upper pocket. Nor have I noticed such in Germany or Switzerland. By the way, I have too much respect for you, Simon,
to be sarcastic.

Shoddy

Simon, I would not presume to doubt your views were it not a profound matter of conscience. But after a period of mild mortification and calm meditation, I cannot surpress the still small voice that tells me that the gloves-in-pocket trope is exactly the sort of thing which should be resisted at all costs. I’m not sure I can think of anything which more perfectly illustrates the preciosity which characterises the land of “too far”. It may be Italian style of a sort, but chiefly found in the denizens of Dante’s second, third and fourth circles. OK maybe a little strong , but putting it another way, the look -if it has a name- is “man who works in men’s clothes shop”.

Pull back from the edge. Look at anything other than your reflection. The circle must be broken.

With respect and hesistation, but ever sincerely and with your best interests at heart.

Shoddy

I’m glad I got that off my chest. I always put my gloves in the side pockets. Can’t see the problem plus it helps to remind me which is left and which is right, when my mum’s not around to help.
In all the outpouring about the sprezzatura I forgot to say though that the square looks great. Really good idea. For some reason I can’t put my finger on bare crew necks just don’t quite look right most of the time, and this provides an alternative to having to wear a shirt . In the early 80s I used to wear a rather lovely red and green silk square in this way under crew necked jumpers. I wonder where it is now.

Incidentally along similar lines I wonder whether the cravat will ever return to mainstream dress. There’s a lot to be said for them. But they got stuck somewhere between Roger Moore in the Persuaders and metonym implying pretension in Fawlty Towers.

James

Hi Simon, a little off-topic but can you share the details on the bottle green crew-neck pictured with the pea (bridge?) coat above?

Qaindi

Exactly what I was thinking! Also the details of what looks like a Brown flecked shetland crew-neck please?

Anonymous

That’s a beautiful sweater. Would you wear it under a jacket or is it too thick?

Christopher

Nice combination of navy jacket, grey knitwear with your great green scarf as colourful spot!

Neil

In the absence of natural would you recommend navy or green to go with predominately grey and navy Shetland crews and navy and green outerwear?

Neil

Can you add some more pics of the grey one and comment on its versatility please?

Tony

Love the gloves in the pocket and I try to mimic it often. I must not be doing it right and gloves droop over.

rups

Simon what suit is that grey glencheck(?) one?

Stefan

Hi Simon,
Can a neckerchief be worn with a wool sweater denim jeans and a peacoat or are the jeans to informal for that?

Rui

Dear Simon,

From the currently available colours that Begg & Co have on the Wispy Superfine Cashmere Scarf (army, navy, poppy, silver, indigo, black and snow) which colour do you think is the more versatile?