The Essential Headscarf Guide – in 7 easy steps

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Continuing with my fascination and admiration for stylish Muslim divas, I had to make a post about headscarves. But this one goes out not just to Muslim women, hijab or no hijab, but also to women of all kinds who’ve lost their hair through alopecia or chemotherapy. I hope they find this guide useful too.

Without going too deep questioning the values of today’s society, it is a fact and a reality that how we look affects our self confidence, tremendously. I love fashion, and I do not believe it’s a vain or superficial thing. It’s a way of self expression, creativity, a tool to make people feel good. Women with cancer (just like everybody else) turn to the internet to look for beauty tips, tricks, solutions and illusions. Fashion is a very important tool to lift their spirits. Feeling attractive while going through cancer makes people feel normal, healthy, human.

The woman below, with the eternal smile, went through chemo during pregnancy. She looks amazing in her pregnancy body, post baby body and chemo body. She found ways to adjust her style to the changes and she radiates bliss no matter when or how you look at her. She’s a champion! A true inspiration. This one goes out to her.

Now let’s get down to business. Here’s my Essential Head Scarf Guide – in 7 easy steps

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HOW TO MAKE A HEADSCARF OUTFIT LOOK GOOD

This whole article is based on research and observation, and I have observed that to make a good hijab outfit stand out from the crowd, you need to consider 2 factors.  First is to pick the wrapping style that best suits your features, and then match the scarf nicely with the rest of the outfit. In a nutshell that’s it! but let’s see how to do it.

1- Picking the wrapping style that best suits your.  There’s plenty of tutorials online about how to match a hijab to the shape of your face, and endless videos on how to tie it. If I may add to the clutter, I think taking into consideration to your features is also important when choosing a headscarf. For example if you don’t have very sharp features, an exaggerated hood style of headscarf might not be the most flattering for you. Even if it’s the trend. It will put all of your face in the shade.

Chose the right hijab for your face shape

Image credit: misshijabi.com

Once we have the basics cleared lets look at different styles. From turban knot to high Arab princess crown, fully tucked , half tucked, lose on the sides or all wrapped around scarf. The possibilities are endless. Bloggers like Indah Nada Puspita, Hana Tajima,  or Nuriyah O. Martinez can give you a lot more ideas. Here you have my top 6 styles of headscarves.

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The Turban – with rolled tiara 😉 (by Indah Nada Puspita)

 

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The classic – two folds and fully tucked in

 

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The hoodie – with a bit of side scarf

 

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The full crown – My personal favorite. Lots of folds and texture

 

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The Knot – Playful turban with knot on the forehead (by Indah Nada Puspita)

 

The Turban + Scarf. Hip and modern way to create a full hijab effect combining with 2 pieces

 

2- Adjust the volume. If you are wearing a coat or a bulky structured top, opt for a headscarf with less volume. If you are wearing a very long flowing outfit, or a more fitting outfit, you can play a little and add more volume to the hijab. This is the key not to have an overdone look that can look exaggerated and artificial. Or like my dear boyfriend The Troglodyte says: trying to hard.

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High volume hijab with flowing long top and skinny jeans

 

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Low volume fully tucked hijab with big poncho


3- The one print per outfit rule.
If you are wearing a printed blouse or skirt, avoid an printed scarf, and vice-versa. Mixing prints and colors can look great but it can also look awful. It’s tricky! Keeping it to one print per outfit is a good way to be safe. You can find lots of examples in my Pinterest album.  If you want a few hints about mixing prints and being more adventurous, keep reading. There’s more below.

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Plain scarf with striped top. Mixing black white and orange, a trend for this season. Spring 06

 

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Printed Scarf – Floral patters, another trend for this season

 

4- Don’t make it too tight. One thing I have observed consistently is that ALL nice looking headscarves are not fitted tightly all around the face. Interestingly, that’s the most common style I see in the streets of Singapore. A little volume achieved with the folds of the fabric replaces the volume of the hair in a very natural way, and that makes all the difference.

When it’s 33 degrees with 90% humidity outside, I’m sure wearing an elastic ready made lycra hijab with a visor is very comfortable and cooling. Mmmmm… I get it, and I respect it. It just doesn’t look as good as a proper one in my opinion. Sorry, it reminds me too much of a swimming cap or a balaclava. It’s a bit like sports equipment, and where I come from we only wear that to exercise.

I found a very interesting article on the BBC suggesting that the lack of appropriate hijab options might be hindering Muslim women’s participation in sports.  Again another sign of how little attention has been given to this group of customers on a big scale. This young Canadian lady is Elham Seyed Javad. She started designing her own sports hijabs to fill the gap in the market. Nevertheless we are talking about fashion here.  This is super practical but not the most flattering option outside the field or the court. Kudos for the initiative, of course.

Seyed Javad wears a Resport Hijab, designed by her and to be marketed for female muslim athletes in Montreal on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. The head covering will be available in long sleeve and short sleeve depending on the athletes wish's. THE TORONTO STAR/Peter McCabe

Elham Seyed Javad wears a ResportOn Hijab, designed by her and to be marketed for female muslim athletes in Montreal – THE TORONTO STAR/Peter McCabe

 

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have to PAUSE and throw a little disclaimer here. I am not a Muslim, and I do not wear a headscarf myself. I understand the original purpose of a hijab is not to be a fashion accessory. Nevetheless I’m treating it as such in this post. In the most respectful and entertaining way I can. If you want to learn more about the meaning of the hijab and what it is to dress modestly, I recommend you read this article from Haute Hijab: An Interview “It” girl Farah. There’s also quite a bit of controversy around Muslim women wearing skinny jeans. I decided to leave that aside.

5- Matching an outfit to a print. In my previous post, Modest and very stylish. The rise of Muslim fashion, I mentioned that one of the easiest tricks to pull out a headscarf outfit is to first pick an item with a print, and then choose colors from that print for the rest of the items. This will create a very harmonious look of matching elements. Here you have a few more examples of outfits that follow this tip.

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The colors of the cardigan the blouse and the skirt come from the scarf

 

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Beautiful flower tunic and matching headscarf

 

6- Matching complementary colors.  Although it might shock us at first, this one comes from a scientific base. The chart below will help you find groups of 3 complementary colors. Pick one color, and then find the ones just opposite on the wheel to get the complementary brother/sister. I use this for my coloring too 🙂 To learn more about the theory of color  have a look at this article from Buzzle.

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Red and green with poka dots. It’s a bit Christmasy but it works

 

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Navy goes well will nearly anything. I love he shirt and skirt combination!

 

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Yellow with Navy. Contrast and matching the scarf that’s the same color as the flowers in the blouse

 

7- The ultimate art is to make different prints go well together. I’m particularly conservative when it comes to this. So I only dare to mix prints in monochrome, or stripes with a flowery print. I think that one print has to be very bold and the other very subtle or repetitive.

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Farah featured in Haute Hijab with a print hijab and striped skirt

 

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Bold printed scarf and polka dots skirt. This look is amazing

 

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“It girl” Olivia Palermo for Emirates Woman Magazine. Leopard print dress and heavily printed scarf

There are endless combinations that just work and I couldn’t explain you why so I’m going to leave it there. Layering and mixing of items is the gist of Muslim fashion so have fun!

Until the next one, ilah al-liqah!
إلى اللقاء

Modest and very stylish. The rise of Muslim fashion

When Uniqlo launched a collection with blogger with Hana Tajima I realized how little attention has been given to provide off the shelf, easy to combine clothing options for Muslim women in the high street fashion industry. Social Media has given this community a new vehicle to share tips and express themselves creatively (#hijab #hijabfashion #muslimah) but this step forward to brick and mortar validates a smashing online reality: Islam is not incompatible with style.

From my Western European upbringing, I grew up seeing Muslim women mortified in their clothing. It was more of a punishment in my eyes. I remember teenage Moroccan girls wearing thick long sleeve winter turtle necks under spaghetti strap maxi dresses, on hot summer days. I thought: God they must be suffocating! I realize now that part of it was the lack of suitable options available for them. Luckily nowadays I see many young Muslim women dressed nicely, modestly and wearing hijabs like proud crowns. They have more comfortable options at their disposal and they are able to express themselves. Fashion has empowered them. I see them in the streets of Singapore, dignified and with an enormous amount of creativity and style. Writing this article made me aware of this evolution and encouraged me promote the cause, to celebrate diversity in fashion. It will not be the last one on this topic.

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Faithful to the brand, the Hana Tajima collection for Uniqlo is a combination of comfortable, well cut basics and a few statement pieces you can mix in endless permutations. Lose fitting tops, slacks, tunics, cool airy dresses and subtly printed scarfs in white and deep shades. If you are not crazy about fashion or can’t spend much time shopping and putting outfits together, this is a fabulous option for you. If you want a little more this might be too bland.

It is bland for me. I was hungry for more, so I went online to find modest Muslim outfits with more sass and what I found really amazed me.

Here are my top 5 Muslim Fashion Blogger outfits –

Ethnic print scarf worn in the front and tied with a belt. Off white hijab and long black dress, from SincerelyMaryam.com

Jersey skirt and knit jumper in grey and whites. Soft colors and chunky trainers, by Nuriyah O. Martinez – Hijabhaul.com

Ethnic print trousers with matching the turban. Mustard blouse and green jacket are picked from colors of the print. This is a great trick. By Imaan Ali – modeststreetfashion.com

Khaki shirt with distressed jeans, brown stripped hijab and pointy heels, by street hijab fashion

Black, white and gold maxi necklace. Win win win! By blogger Essra Azim from Valessie

Out of all brands it was Uniqlo the one to move forward on this area and not Zara or Top Shop for example, high street fashion companies that come from countries that have much bigger Muslim populations than Japan. It surprised me because Japanese is not a very diverse and tolerant culture, from what I have seen myself and what I learnt from my friend Lara, producer of the documentary Hafu – the mixed-race experience in Japan. So kudos to Uniqlo for taking this step with Hana Tajima!

To be continued…

Check out more inspiring modest looks (and more to come) in my Pinterest Album: