The COVID-19 crisis has shown the world the importance of facial coverings. Still, with surgical masks in short supply, people are finding inventive ways to shield themselves from the virus without taking much-needed equipment from PPE workers on the frontlines. There are plenty of DIY projects that can assist with sewing your mask, but sometimes the best solution is the most straightforward one. Scarves, kerchiefs, and bandanas do not provide the same level of protection as an N95 respirator—but their bright colors and bold patterns make an accessory that is not just right for this moment, but essential.
Of course, not just any scarf will do. Tightly woven natural materials such as silk and cotton are preferable to man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester, which hold germs longer. The CDC recommends wearing any homemade or non-PPE option with a face shield that covers the nose and mouth, when that isn’t an option multiple layers—bandana, kerchief, or a shawl —can serve as a buffer for the wearer and anyone who comes in contact with them. All options should be appropriately secured using ties or ear loops and be easy to launder with routine washing.
The fashion benefits of a good scarf are more apparent; for decades they’ve served as an easy way to spice up a boring outfit. But their renewed relevance is exciting. Current demand is high, given there are social media accounts chronicling headwraps and scarf-loving most recently.
Here, the best scarves to buy now in every color, pattern, and floral print imaginable.