Scarves are considered a unisex fashion accessory. However, there are plenty of scarves that are considered gender specific to women because of the design, size or fiber. Scarves for males tend to be long and relatively conservative. Although most scarves for men can be worn equally effectively by women, the opposite is not true.
Traditional scarves for men are usually about as long as the person who is wearing it is tall, and men's scarves are typically wider than women's scarves. These same traits can also be found in women's scarves, but the size range is much large for women, who frequently wear shorter, narrower and circular scarves to augment an outfit.
Scarves for men tend to be dark or neutral solid colors. Some include stripes of solid colors. Women's scarves are often more colorful but they also make use of dark and neutral colors.
Rarely do men's scarves incorporate elaborate patterns into the design. They are often solid color, striped or cabled designs. Women's scarves can incorporate all of these motifs and others; open-knit lacework is often used in women's scarves.
Women's scarves are made from a wide array of materials, including luxurious silk and cashmere yarns. Men's scarves are traditionally hard-wearing wool or acrylic and often do not incorporate luxury fibers, although a long cashmere scarf in a solid color is a classic dress scarf for men. Novelty fibers such as furry or sparkly yarns tend to be exclusively the domain of scarves intended for females. Women's accent scarves are often made of colorful or patterned fabric.
There are exceptions to every fashion rule. As long as the wearer of the scarf is satisfied with the scarf and how it appears with an outfit and augments overall appearance, the gender it was intended for is a nonissue.
Elizabeth Tumbarello has been writing since 2006, with her work appearing on various websites. She is an animal lover who volunteers with her local Humane Society. Tumbarello attended Hocking College and is pursuing her Associate of Applied Science in veterinary technology from San Juan College.