A deep dive into the number one item on every Exeter girl’s Christmas list: The skinny scarf

Knotty or nice? Choose both with a skinny scarf that ties it all together!


With Christmas rapidly approaching, my housemates and I took the opportunity to re-watch the 2006 smash hit The Holiday over the weekend. Most focus was drawn to Jude Law’s piercing blue eyes but in an admirable second place was Kate Winslet’s character’s outfit choices. Her frazzled fashion includes sturdy woollen jumpers, lengthy trench coats and most notably of course, skinny scarves.

Whilst most things in life should never be skinny (lattes, jeans, body standards), there is one exception to this rule: The skinny scarf (maybe a skinny dip too but that’s besides the point). The skinny scarf has taken on a life of its own on campus regularly donned in the Forum, clustered in the Pret queue and trampled in TP. It is an iconic emblem, an ode to all scarves that came before, and the perfect present for that special Exeter girl in your life.

Yet, with the great power of this gift, comes great responsibility. The retort of “what’s the point?” is known all too well by wearers. The skinny scarf is surrounded by calculated controversy and malicious misconception that requires immediate debunking. King Charles may be the defender of the faith but I am the self-appointed defender of the accessory wraith: The ever-divisive skinny scarf. I hope to justify the greatness of the skinny scarf and convince everyone why they need it on their wish list.

I begin my defence by accepting that the skinny scarf may lack practicality. It doesn’t keep you warm and, in some cases, the insubstantial material may not even cover that embarrassing hickey that somehow ended up on your neck between TP Wednesday and your Thursday morning lecture (which after the age of 18 should not be happening anyway). But to disregard the scarf on the basis of “practicality” is to misunderstand it entirely. The impracticality of skinny scarves is, in fact, their beauty. Yet in this pointlessness, there is a point, or three points to be specific which I will now list to defend my beloved scarf and its position on your Christmas list.

1. Paying respect to fashion heritage

1. Paying respect to fashion heritage

2. Who needs econ boys when you have a skinny scarf?

I don’t know much about economics (I work off “The Freddo Frog Index”) but I do know about the hemline theory. For those unfamiliar, the hemline theory suggests that skirt lengths rise and fall with stock prices, a hypothesis I would like to extend to the width of scarves. If Professor George Taylor, the proposer of this theory, was still alive, I imagine he would be gagged by the y2k renaissance and be critiquing Met Gala looks on his Instagram Story. But, since he sadly never got to witness the meteoric rise of Acne Studio’s chunky scarves, I will posthumously rework his theory for him.

From my research, I gather that scarves get thicker in good economic times and thinner in bad ones. The distant memory of the blanket sized chequered scarf a couple years ago seems so far removed from a 2023 dominated by a cost of living crisis and a skinny scarf-aissance. Other evidence is provided by leading economics scholars aka the Jonas Brothers who, in 2008, were regularly seen on the red carpet adorning the miniature muffler all during the, you guessed it, Global Financial Crisis! This hard-hitting concrete evidence is indisputable, the “pointless” skinny scarf is in fact an economic indicator, so if you can’t get a boyfriend for Christmas get a scarf instead – it will mansplain the same things.

PS: Business School if you’re reading this, HMU xox

3. Dancing

From personal experience I can vouch for the skinny scarf being a great addition to a clubbing outfit. It can assist smuggling a bottle of wine into Fever (not that I have ever participated in this) and works as a perfect dance partner. Picture dancing to “Reach for the Stars” by S Club 7 while holding up both ends of a sparkly scarf to the air! You could also create a personal bubble in an instant by spinning around with an individual defence mechanism on your neck (think miniature hammer throw spin, Trunchball style).

The rarity of having space, especially on the bottom TP dance floor, cannot be understated and the skinny scarf can help this dream become a reality. I would, however, caution the skinny scarf wearing when using the club bathrooms. Depending on level of drunkenness and length of scarf one could find themselves in a highly compromised situation. So, remember, the skinny scarf may be a fun present but it does not come without its own risks.