BUFF neckwear, from £13, www.buffwear.co.uk

At its most basic, the Buff (from the Spanish bufanda, meaning scarf) can be slipped over the head and layered around the neck helping to keep you super warm.

It can also be pulled up over the face or even the back of the head to create a full or partial balaclava, along with numerous other wearing styles (check the website). 

Unlike a regular scarf, there are no dangling or bulky ends or knots to deal with. It's strengths are simplicity and effectiveness.

The range has grown significantly since we first encountered the Buff a decade ago in an outdoor store in the Yorkshire Dales. The cheapest available (£13) is the Buff Original, a lightweight synthetic model.

There's also the midweight Merino wool version (£21), which will need washing (it's machine-friendly) less often than the synthetic ones and provides a touch more comfort too.

There's also the Buff Polar (£23), which features a heavier Polartec collar and synthetic upper to give greater warmth in more extreme conditions.

Top of the range is the Buff Cyclone (£29), which uses a softshell collar and nylon upper to give maximum protection.

Our choice for London's mild winters is the Merino, which offers a best combination of value, weight, comfort and convenience.