Scarves come in all manner of shapes, lengths, widths, textures, and fabrics. Accessories like scarves are a great way to try out a type of fabric or texture and get used to looking at yourself wearing it, such as if you love Shetland wool but don’t want to wear it on your torso as a sweater, then it may be better suited to a scarf. Same goes for an all-over floral print – if it-s not quite your cup of tea on a shirt, then see if you can find a floral print scarf. Scarves are a great, low-impact way test a new fabric.

But scarves aren’t all about accessorizing to make yourself look good. They are incredibly functional, and wearing one will kick up your warmth a notch this winter. It wasn’t until I started wearing a scarf that I realized just how much some coats leave necks exposed, and it’s rare that I leave the house in winter without one on.

1. Faribault Woolen Mills Scarves

A few days ago I featured Faribault Woolen Mills’s blankets, and now I want to mention their affordable wool scarves. They’re made of 100% fluffed merino wool and have a nice heathered look to them – there are a great many options of styles that include pin dots, stripes, solids, and a mixture of all three. If you liked their blankets, get ready to love their scarves.

Available in 35 different styles @ Faribault Woolen Mills ($55)

2. SNS Herning Private Scarf in Triple Grey Mix

SNS Herning makes incredible knit goods, and this scarf is one of them. Woven from three different greys, it’s an infinity scarf (circular, with no ends) that you can sport in a bunch of ways. It’s a nice change-up if you're looking for something different, and super soft as well. Good luck trying to stop staring at the pattern as it goes around and around.

@ Carson Street Clothiers ($67, on sale from $95)

3. Barbour Country Check Scarf

Barbour is known for their waxed coats, which are hard-wearing, long-lasting tanks of a jacket. What is less well known is that they make really great scarves, too. Constructed from soft lambswool, they are available in plaids of all types, so many that I don’t envy any gift giver trying to choose just one!

Available in 60 different patterns @ Bahle's ($69)

4. Howlin’ by Morrison Hudson Fair Isle Scarf

Howlin’ is an offshoot of the Belgian brand Morrison, and was begun in 2009 as a way for Morrison to experiment with more funky looks, colors, and fabrics. Their desirable sweaters are made in Scotland and Ireland, and this Fair Isle scarf is made in England from 100% wool. I’ve never sported a Fair Isle print, but I getting closer to doing so each year. If you’re not ready or interested in a sweater in such a busy print, a scarf could be just right.

@ Indigo & Cotton ($88)

5. Palmer Trading Company Solid Cashmere Scarf

Everyone should own a cashmere scarf. They’re refined and gorgeous, and so wonderfully soft. They have a regal quality to them, equally at home under a suit jacket in the fall or wrapped under a heavy winter coat. This bold blue provides a pop of color that’ll be a nice reminder of bright blue spring skies and keep you in good spirits throughout the winter.

Available in four colorways @ Palmer Trading Company ($108.75, on sale from $145)