In drier, dustier climates, or in environments where there are many airborne contaminants, a thin headscarf, kerchief, or bandanna is often worn over the head to keep the hair clean. Over time, this custom has evolved into a fashionable item in many cultures, particularly among women. The cravat, an ancestor of the necktie and bow tie, evolved from scarves of this sort in Croatia.
Religions such as Islam promote modest dress among women; many Muslim women wear a headscarf often known as a hijab, and in Quranic Arabic as the khimar. The Keffiyeh is commonly used by Muslim men. Women in the Haredi Judaism community often wear a tichel to cover their hair. Several Christian denominations include a scarf known as a stole as part of their liturgical
Silk scarves were used by pilots of early aircraft in order to keep oily smoke from the exhaust out of their mouths while flying.
Members of the Scouting Movement wear scarves as part of their uniform, with different colours and logos to represent their scout group. They are also used at camps to represent units, subcamps or the camp as a whole. Fun scarves are also used as memorabilia at Scout events and country scarves are often traded at international gatherings.
Since at least the early 1900s, when the phenomenon began in Britain, colored scarves have been traditional supporter wear for fans of association football teams across the world, even those in warmer climates. These scarves come in a wide variety of sizes and are made in a club's particular colors and may contain the club crest, pictures of renowned players, and various slogans relating to the history of the club and its rivalry with others. In the United Kingdom, the most popular and traditional type is a simple design with alternating bars of color in the individual team's traditional colors. In continental Europe many Ultras groups produce their own scarf designs.
As part of pre-match build-ups, or during matches, fans will create a 'scarf wall' in which all supporters in a section of the stadium will stretch out their scarves above their heads with both hands, creating an impressive 'wall' of color, usually accompanied by the singing of a club anthem such as "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Liverpool F.C. or "Grazie Roma" at A.S. Roma. This was initially solely a British phenomenon, but has since spread to Europe and South America.
Scarf wearing is also a noted feature of support for Australian rules football clubs in the Australian Football League, and are always in the form of alternating bars of color, usually with the team name or mascot written on each second bar.
The craft of knitting garments such as scarves is an important trade in some countries. Hand-knitted scarves are still common as gifts as well.
A scarf is also known as a muffler in some dialects.