A Guide to Wearing Your Headscarves Fashionably

Sometimes, your hair feels gorgeous, clean and glossy enough for you to star in a hair-care commercial. Other times, your hair just doesn’t work for you-it is either dirty, frizzy or has developed a kink you cannot brush out.

Whatever the case, a headscarf can help you out; no matter what the occasion or your choice of outfit.

The headscarf is not really a new trend or groundbreaking in any way, but it is a great way to make use of silk scarves or thin pieces of fabric, and there are tons of different looks you can achieve with just one scarf. From intricately detailed hairstyles to the super simple. 

Headscarves come in many shapes and sizes. They are usually in a bold color or print and are often used to emphasize or enhance outfits and looks from the formal to the everyday. There are a variety of different prints used such as paisley, stripes, spots, polka dots, leopard and zebra print. 

Women wearing headscarves

Headscarves Through Time

Headscarves have been used as an accessory for hundreds of years. History has seen headscarves on women across the world, different cultures and religions but as it stands, the headscarf has come in and out of fashion all the time. 

Its origins start in Mesopotamian societies where linens were used to protect their heads  from the elements and to aid in sanitation. Headscarves were also used in India and was initially used to keep hair out of people’s faces, especially during the hot summer months.

In the 13th Century BC, headscarves were first written into law in ancient Assyrian text that mandated that women, daughter and widows to cover their heads as a sign of piety. Headscarves were also forbidden to women of the lower classes and prostitutes to wear. 

In conservative groups such as Catholic nuns who wear the habit and married women of the Orthodox Jewish faith don the tichel which is a type of headscarf. In Islam, the Quran dictates that women should cover their heads.

During many revolutions and social movements, headscarves have been used as symbols of their movement. For example, in 1786, the Louisiana legislators enacted the Tignon Laws requiring black or mixed-race women to wrap their heads in cloth. 

In the 1910s, fashion houses were designing and dreaming up headscarf designs that included colorful and embellished scarves- often showcasing bold patterns and often had jewels affixed to the scarf.

Jumping to the 1920s, flappers adopted the headscarf and would tie printed silk scarves around their heads and headscarves were seen worn on silver screen icons in early films too. Styles ranged from being worn to the side or in a turban style to add a touch of extra glamour to their outfits.

Hermes debuted their first headscarf in 1937 which was designed on imported Chinese silk. It was worn by high society including Queen Elizabeth II of England and Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.

In the 1940s, the headscarf went back to being a practical fashion accessory where they were used as an essential piece in workwear attire of the new working class of women emerging to take over daily jobs while the men were at war in the second World War.

It was used to keep their hair up and was a way they could show some individuality and style in a small way. 

During the 60s, they were often tied around the wearer’s chin to cover their hair; allowing the pattern of the scarf to be exhibited. Stars like Audrey Hepburn donned headscarves often, and so the wearing of headscarves were yet again seen as a must-have fashion accessory.

After a 30-year gap, the headscarf popped up again in the 90s with the emergence of street style, hiphop and R&B- and soon became an accessory for both men and women. Bandanas that covered the head were popular as well.

These days, the wearing of the headscarf is still very much in fashion and are still essential pieces coming out of all the major fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci and Marc Jacobs. They can be worn with any outfit, in any style, for any occasion.

The iconic accessory is a classic addition to any spring or summer look and can uplift any outfit into a chic fashion moment. They are a great way to play with color and patters and add a pop into your style. 

Different Headscarf Styles 

As a Headband

Headband styling of headscarves involves the tying of the scarf around your head and finishing it off with a bow or a knot. There are a few ways to do this, but it would be best done to use a larger scarf, or if you don’t have this, using extra clips or accessories to hold the scarf in place.

If you have longer hair, it can look fashionable to tie your hair up into a high bun. After the hair is tied up, fold the headscarf and wrap it round the back of your head and tie it in a knot or bow above your forehead. This can also be done with the hair down-the scarf must just be tied underneath the hair.

Alternatively, the scarf can be styled around your hair when it is loose for a boho-chic look. The scarf should be wrapped around your temples and tied with a knot at the back on top of brushed hair. 

If you are using a square scarf, fold it in half diagonally and then roll or fold the scarf starting at the widest side and working your way toward the pointed corners. Additionally, if you are using a rectangular scarf start folding along the long side of the scarf.

Then, you will need to tie the loose ends under your hair at the nape of your neck. The scarf can also be knotted in the middle after rolling it up to help it stay folded and will give you extra volume on top. 

As a Bandana 

Bandana styles are also wrapped around the head and tied. When doing this style, you don’t need to fold the headscarf too much.

It needs to be folded in half to form a triangle and tie the two opposite ends of the scarf under your hair and the scarf should be over your head with the long and folded edge on your forehead. This is a perfect option if you want to cover up your hair. 

Alternatively, the scarf can be styled in a bandana cap-this can be done by instead of knotting your scarf below your hair, you tie it on top of your strands and over loose corners as well. The excess fabric is then tucked under the knot to neaten it up. 

Wearing Your Headscarves Fashionably

Glamorous Styles

There are a few headscarf styles that were popularized in the 60s, including the babushka, which covers most of the head and is really simple to do. A square scarf is folded in half diagonally to form a triangle, and then take the two opposite sites and knot them underneath your chin. 

Another style was popularized by Grace Kelly and was beloved to wear, particularly when driving in convertible cars.

It requires a large scarf and follows the same process of the babushka but rather than tying the ends of the scarf under your chin, the ends are wrapped around your neck and over the back corner of the scarf before tying it into a knot.

Another glamorous style that was made big in the 20s s the turban headscarf style. You are going to need a large and oblong scarf. The center of the scarf should be placed at the back of your head and the two ends should be pulled around to your forehead.

The two ends should be tied into a double knot enduring that the entire back of your head is covered by the scarf. The one end of the scarf is twisted before wrapping it around the double knot and then should be tucked underneath. This must be repeated on the second side.

Casual Styles

Scarves can be incorporated into braids and ponytails and is the easiest to simply pull your hair back into a ponytail, tie one end to the elastic and use a third of your braid, tying the other end off with the second elastic or by knotting the scarf itself.

Another way is to weave the scarf in between your side braid with one of the three sections of hair, so it gradually gets tied in. This is a beautiful boho-insipred addition to your look.

Another easy way to incorporate a headscarf into your look is to simply tie it around a high ponytail and you can secure it with a knot or if you are worried about the scarf slipping out of your pony, you can loop the scarf through the hair elastic before tying the pony. 

If you are in the mood for a low bun, you can use a square or long scarf to wrap around your bun. Start by folding the top quarter of the scarf down before placing it on your head.

The two ends must be equal in length and then secured with a not at the nape of the neck, just like with a bandana. Cross each loose end up and around the bun and tie it underneath the bun and tuck any loose ends in the bun. 

Tips and Tricks

When wearing a headscarf, there are a few extra pointers which will help you make your headscarf more fashionable and it is important to see what styles, patterns and colors suit you. 

Securing Your Headscarf

Because headscarves are made from materials like silk, they are slippery and smooth, and so they can slip out of your hair extremely easily if not held in place-especially if you are intending on wearing it during a convertible car ride or a windy day. 

A Guide to Wearing Your Headscarves Fashionably

The best way to secure a headscarf is by using bobby pins and hair elastics. These are affordable and can be found in any store. These can be clipped onto the scarf and then into your hair. The best place for the pins to be put is around the front of your head. 

Another fashion forward way to keep your headscarf in place is to use a statement clip, and can be used to add to a maximalist look if that is the look you are going for. 

Adding Accessories to the Mix

Another way to update your headscarf look and keep it fashionable is to buy matching accessories to the patterns and colors. This can be done by having a bag or a pair of shoes that match the pattern and color can look very on trend.

This was a very popular trend in the 60s, so by doing this and choosing one of the glamorous styles of headscarves, you can recreate a timeless look. 

Adding accessories can also be done well by finding necklaces and other jewelry that match your scarf and wear them all together.

This style is particularly popular for those who enjoy minimalist outfits, as all the focus will be on your face. It can also be exciting to experiment with eye and lip color that matches with the scarf to accentuate the look.

Coordinating Scarves With Your Outfit

If you are playing around with bold colors and printed scarves, you can either go equally bold and clash the colorful and printed clothes with the headscarf, or you can go minimal in your outfit choice and let the headscarf do all the talking. 

Wearing neutrals like white, black, gray and navy with a colorful silk scarf is very fashionable and can be translated to casual office or workwear as well as with other casual outfits like summer dresses and high-wasted shorts. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Scarf Should You Use?

The easiest scarf to work with for most hairdos is a square scarf. The square headscarf should be big enough for your chosen style. If you are doing a headscarf style that covers all or most of your head, the scarf should be at least 28 by 28 inches in size. 

On the other hand, rectangular, oblong or long scarves are not as multipurpose as the square scarves, but they do offer a lot of benefits. A rectangular style scarf is going to be used if you like the look of excess fabric hanging down your back or front. The rectangular scarves are great for a full head wrap or turban style look. 

Is It Disrespectful To Wear A Headscarf?

There is no harm or disrespect in wearing a head covering to other cultures or religions. Incorporating accessories like headscarves into your wardrobe can be a great way to express style.

How Should A Headscarf Be Styled?

There are hundreds of different ways to style headscarves, and you can style it in any way that you like with any of the methods described above. 

Tying Up Loose Ends

Whether you are looking to add a pop of color or print to your outfits and styles, headscarves are the way to go.

They are so easy to use and can be styled in so many different ways. If you are in the market to buy a headscarf or have a few lying around, this guide will have hopefully helped you learn more on how to use a headscarf and their history to make your outfits more fashionable. 

Miranda Cole
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