We are mid-February, between winter and spring, which gets closer. The temperatures are fresh, sometimes even cold in the morning, and become nice during the day. It ‘s less and less needed to wrap up under heavy layers of wool. And meanwhile, we need something to protect our neck, but is not too warm at times.
Indeed, what are the important criterias to feel warm?
- Low air permeability … since frosty air surfing on skin, that’s awful;
- a thermal barrier effect;
- the breath-ability (not good if the fabrics prevents perspiration to go away);
- a rather fast drying (not ideal if fabrics keeps moisture)
The general consensus -for clothes or home- is that the most important is air impermeability. And this, for woven fabric, that’s a matter of weaving (dense, what does not mean thick).
The good compromise, for the mid-season, is then something tightly woven, rather warm, but breathable (what will avoid to feel too warm, and to sweat).
This gives us 4 possibilities:
- the thin scarves in tightly woven wool;
- the scarves in cotton and wool, or wool and silk. Personally, I love to have a side in cotton and the other one in wool, since I then can change the side on skin according to outside temperature.
- The scarves in tightly woven cottons;
- the scarves in silk.
Indeed, contrary to popular thinking, we can feel rather warm and well protected with a cotton scarf …. if it’s tighly woven with thin yarn, and if not making a physical activity (since cotton dries more slowly than wool or synthetic material).
The silk has a very good insulating effect, and is breathable. We can feel something fresh with silk, but this is a contact sensation, since silk is really a good insulation. issue is care, which is more difficult.
The thin wool tightly woven is also excellent: it keeps warm; it draws moisture away, and dries rather fast. And it’s a good quality, it is soft, and not scratching.
The lightweight scarves in cotton or linen, with a lose or mesh weave, together light and breathable, are the best options for summer.
What about synthetic? The general consensus is to say that the warmest is wool (or down).
For the synthetic fibers:
- compared to wool, it’s cheaper and dries faster;
- Very easy use: lightweight, easy to wash; easy to color, and keeping colors for long; almost wrinkle free.
- But several drawbacks:
- comes out of plastic, and then not really breath-able, and even rather repelling (hydrophobic), what increases perspiration;
- bad smells: since the perspiration is not that well evacuated, it stays more in fabric, what enables bacterias to grow; what can also downgrade the fabric;
- it generates static electricity;
- it attracts fluffes and dust;
- it’s very flammable.
After, the great substitute to wool is acrylic, to which we can add the following features, ahead of formers:
- it is the closest to the wool, in terms of touch-feel;
- it’s rather warm, soft;
- when it’s washed, it is generating microplastics that go away with water. We yet don’t filter this pollution, and it will go in our food.
Personally, I almost only work with natural fibers.