Some accessories are born from practicality, but thankfully evolve into elements of the fashion echelon - bags, belts, footwear, hosiery and hats all falling into this category.
And while knit scarves fit the bill here - for keeping the neck and chest warm - the other kind of scarf, the silky, printed version, is almost purely decorative, the frivolous cousin.
But judging from recent runways and street style shots coming in from the fashion capitals, it's these pretty, slippery, lightweight numbers that are coming in strong as the accessory of the moment.
While they've long been used as an instant way to enliven and personalise bags simply by being knotted around a handle or strap, this season they're being worn by the fashion set as neckerchiefs, belts, turbans, bag straps, hair adornments and even as full head coverings.
A guest at London Fashion Week wearing her scarf "Queen'"style. Photo: Getty
Understandably, the British fashion media have perhaps latched the most enthusiastically onto the trend - it is after all an item that's been rocked by the Queen (who exclusively wears Hermes versions, FYI) for many decades.
"It's taken the retro printed silk scarf (the kind beloved by HRH The Queen) approximately six decades to get a re-up," writes Julia Hobbs of British Vogue.
"The Queen only attended one fashion show this month but her influence has seeped across continents: never in one season have we seen so many silk scarves," wrote her colleague Ellie Pithers in March.
Closer to home, Liam Bowden of Deadly Ponies, which has long been renowned for beautiful, original silk scarves alongside its leatherware, is set to up the ante on the scale of its scarf offering for 2018.
"Over the years we have designed and collaborated with artists and illustrators to create a number of iconic scarf prints," says Bowden.
"Much like the following we have for our bags, scarves have increasingly become collectors' items for our customers."
He says the recent rise in popularity comes from its unique fusion of luxury, playfulness and versatility.
"Not only can a scarf can be worn and tied on the body, but they can be tied or wrapped around a bag to add your own personality," says Bowden.
His favourite way to see a Deadly Ponies scarf worn is "wrapped and tied around the waist, pressed and folded like an obi belt".
Caroline Issa wearing a Peter Pilotto scarf choker-style at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Getty
Nicole Sykes launched Bess, a luxury accessories label focused on scarves, in June last year, and says she too has noticed a rise in the popularity of the scarf since then.
"Silk scarves are definitely having a moment. They have graced the past two seasons catwalks quite prominently and even featured on Edward Enninful's first British Vogue cover last December," says Sykes.
"I think they have always been a powerhouse accessory and so perhaps that's why now, in this new age of feminism, they are having a revival.
"They are a strong, sexy statement piece, one that shouts confidence and style. They are also an easy luxury item to add to your wardrobe as they tend to transcend trends and seasons."
A cool twist on a neck scarf at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Photo: Getty
Designer Karen Walker says her scarves have "always been popular".
"We're known for our prints, and scarves are a really versatile way to bring those prints into your look," says Walker.
"I'm wearing mine tied like a choker at the moment. I love matching the print of the scarf to my shirt so it's a layered sort of approach, matching and layering."
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