Why Everyone Needs An All-Day Scarf

Photographed by Tory Rust.
I'm an impulse shopper and my trigger finger gets even more jumpy when I'm traveling. ("You just can't get this in New York!") You can imagine, then, what a frenzy I was in when I went to Elko Nevada for the Cowboy Poetry Gathering last winter. I'm happy to report that I came back to Manhattan with a new (vintage) jacket, a new necklace, a few random souvenirs, postcards, and a silk scarf, which was the takeaway that really stuck. Only, I wasn't quite sure how to wear it.
Out west, this style would be called a "wild rag;" it's the type of thing real cowboys knot around their necks just so when they're on the range. I, on the other hand, couldn't master the intricate dips and weaves of the silk and, well, I've never even been on a range. For me, it was a chic upgrade to a button-front shirt — as well as a way to take home a piece of the story I'd been working on in Elko.
Back home, my love of the wild rag multiplied as I saw the style reflected back to me in fashion shows. Following my intuition (and the coincidental designer styling on spring '15 runways), I found I could tie it around my neck multiple times with the knot to one side to dress up a look and stay warm. Or, I could replace my knit winter scarves and instead tie my navy and white-trimmed silkie in loose triangles that hang in the front. Though I may not be lassoing any livestock any time soon, my rag helps me fend off the varying and inevitable heat zones in my office, since I can wear it inside, too. I love that it adds style instead of bulk the way a knit scarf would.
On the way back from Nevada, I may or may not have worn my wild rag and then tied it around my eyes when I wanted to take a nap. I may or may not have worked the scarf into every plane trip I've taken since then. Only regret? Not buying more — and that's a wild first.
Click through for silk scarf style inspirations from the runway and my very own wild rag.