Scarves have been a fashionable accessory for thousands of years. From Egyptian queens to Queen Victoria to modern day, these pieces of fabric have proved themselves worthy for the wardrobe time and time again.

There are multiple types of scarves, each with its own purpose, floating around in today's fashion industry.

First is the dainty, silk scarf, which exists specifically as an accessory. This frail fabric would be no help in the dead of winter; the thin layers would flap in the wind, and all body heat would escape immediately. Light scarves can add pizazz to an outfit or increase the modesty level of a low-cut shirt. Donned only when the temperature is above 60 degrees, the silk scarf is closer to a necklace than a cold weather necessity.

Then there are the scarves that will keep you cozy. After spending the summer season tucked away in the back of the closet, moth balls protecting their integrity, warm scarves find freedom when temperatures begin to drop. From the classic cable knit to the full-on throat blanket, these scarves can save the day – and a frozen neck.

The Third Duke of Krakow is said to have invented the knit scarf in 1783. Women then adopted the hobby of knitting scarves. Thanks to the Duke, many beginning knitters are able turn to the scarf for practice with their pearl stitch.

The variance in warm scarves is great; the width, length and density of the fabric affect the level of heat preservation. If the wind is barely blowing, a six-inch wide scarf wrapped around the neck once should be satisfactory. Once the wind chill is face numbing, a thicker scarf is a must. The colder the weather, the more blanket-like the scarf should be.

A chunky infinity scarf, made of wool, shines in the winter with its solid wind protection. It could be pulled up to the face to prevent frostbite or used in sticky situations when the owner wants to disappear by providing a perfect hiding place.

After the polar vortex hit the U.S., causing temperatures to drop to 51 degrees below zero in some places, everyone reached for a scarf – and gloves and hats and other obvious winter clothes. The scarf should always go on before the jacket for two reasons: to preserve heat and to prevent loss of scarf caused by wind. Some even wrapped multiple scarves around their necks and heads in hopes of increasing the scarves' potential.

Scarves will consistently be a wise and chic addition to an outfit. Considering their historical past and the almost unlimited options available to current scarf acquirers, this accessory will remain a necessity.

Hannah Cather is a senior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at hcather@utk.edu.