If cowls aren't the hot item this season, I don't know what is. They're quick, easy (or hard if you like), take less yarn than a scarf, and of course are very trendy.
One favourite at work is the Honey Cowl from Madelinetosh. In fact, I just finished knitting my second one.
This one was knit in Tosh Sport, in the Jade colourway. I cast on an extra 10 stitches. The fabric is particularly drapey - a bit more open and looser than expected, but it is just fantastic when all is said and done.
Oh, and did I mention the colour? Just fantastic.