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How to Pin a Headscarf - How To Tie A Head Scarf

Updated on March 17, 2011

Head Scarves - the Good, Bad and Ugly,

Lets be up front here: I don't regularly wear head scarves and I do not have a religious or other preference for modest dress. Head scarves fascinate me though: I have travelled through many countries where the head scarves are common wear for both men and women and on occasion I have worn them. too: either to try to blend in, as much as a blonde can which is not much outside of Sweden, or to protect myself from the dust and/or heat rather than anything else.

I also have an abiding memory of my mother from the 1960s and 1970s wearing a headscarf to keep her ears warm and hair in place in the "Coronation Street mode" of head scarf design. If you don't know what I mean check out the young ladies from Iran - though they do it rather more elegantly than many English women did it then.

Tehran bazaar, Iran Photo: kamshots via flickr
Tehran bazaar, Iran Photo: kamshots via flickr

Head Scarves Rule!

Scarves wrapped around the head for practical reasons are far from exclusive to the Muslim world and in fact the simple large scarf tied back on the Turkmenistan women is similar to what a lot of the hippies and flower power girls wore in the 1960s it keeps long hair out of the way and means you don't have to wash it very often: its the only style I can manage with any reasonable chance of its staying on. No pins required but its much easier to get a fine wool scarf stay rather than a silk or polyester one.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Girl, Tajikistan Photo: babasteve, via flickrScarfs, Singapore Photo: pinelife, from flickrSchool girls, Malaysia Photo: kewinchong from flickr
Girl, Tajikistan Photo: babasteve, via flickr
Girl, Tajikistan Photo: babasteve, via flickr
Scarfs, Singapore Photo: pinelife, from flickr
Scarfs, Singapore Photo: pinelife, from flickr
School girls, Malaysia Photo: kewinchong from flickr
School girls, Malaysia Photo: kewinchong from flickr

Head Scarves: How to Pin One

I'm assuming that the request is for a guide to how to pin a variation of hijab or Islamic headscarf. The problem is of course there is no one way to do this; and in fact a huge fashion industry built around head coverings: latest face it even the finest silk scarf is going to cost a whole lot less than the average amount the rest of us spend on hair dressers and products!

The big trick with pinning a head scarf is similar to wearing a sari - its all in the undergarment! Yes the scarf is the top level :in fact often a close fitting cap is worn over the actual hair to stop it showing and then the scarf is simply pinned: from a hijab point of view to hide the neck and possibly upper body - or for fashion for many Muslim women today. Without a the hidden covering you will never get the classic hijab head covering look of the Malaysian school girls here.

How to Tie a Head Scarf


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      hijab does not mean headscarf, infact Islam does not impose a standard dress for modest wear. It can be anything. This covering the head is an arab traditional mainly which has in recent 10-15 years spread to other areas. However it is not hijab. Hijab being an arab word in the Qur'an mention a handful of time, but ironically never in relation to womens wear or covering of the body. So there is not a "proper" way to wear the hijab which means seperation but there are many ways to wear modest clothing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I kinda had to laugh at the pic of the Iranian girls. There are some women who wear head scarves like that...mostly orthodox jewish women. The Iranian women wear it like that because they really don't want to waer it at all. They are forced! As for me, I do wear hijab and I wear it properly and proudly. (if there even is a proper way to wear it lol)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i love muslim woman Hijob i like life patner long life

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      There's are more like a turban yes? I like the Tarjik style in the photo - well its easy to do anyway and keeps your ears warm! I also love what Indian women do with long scarfs - but I suspect that is a skill learnt over a life-time - mine just falls off unless firmly attached!

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 

      9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      It's such a classy look, Lis! I absolutely love it! I want to learn to tie like the Jewish women wear their headscarves though, since DH isn't a fan of hijab. I have an Amish kapp, but it makes me look so... Amish lol

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      I have a current fascination on headwear: I have grown my hair longer than its been since I was 13 -and am fighting to figure out what to do with it!

    • 2patricias profile image


      10 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Good hub, on an unusual subject. I seldom wear a scarf - usually only when its raining or I want to hide my hair (less of that as I get older - lol).

    • jonixk profile image


      10 years ago from Lisbon

      I strongly believe you've made a great work in this hub, lissie. Congratulations.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is interesting. I have several unused scarves on my cabinet, now I know how to use them. :) Thanks Lissie.

    • Shannon Said profile image

      Shannon Said 

      10 years ago from Seattle

      I love reading this. Very nice I like it a lot.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      LOL Maddie: the request section has been my quiet keyword selection tool for ages: that and flagship hubs too -took google a little while to notice this one though! Also I always found it genuinely fascinating how women wear them so elegantly!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      10 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Ha!  Lissie!  I had a sneaking suspicion this subject might attract some traffic (and clicks), but I just didn't have time to write it myself.  I wore a headscarf/hijab for just about a year, and did lots of shopping online for head coverings.

      Great job!

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Thansk pjd - I am useless at proof reading! Karen: requests section is a great place for inspiration sometimes but I pick who's request I respondeto!

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 

      10 years ago from Central Oregon

      Interesting subject. You think of the darndest things, but then I always read them to the end.

    • pjdscott profile image


      10 years ago from Durham, UK

      Very interesting article - ironically, it is something which women from eastern and western societies have in common although, as you so elegantly observe, wear them in different ways.

      If you'll excuse me saying so, do check the opening paragraph, especially the word before "head scarves"!

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Sally your babushka's sounds like my Kiwi mum feeling the cold in the UK!

      dutch84 - thanks - I am very aware of the large number of talented Indian writers here so I was a little nervous writing this one - now does anyone have any advice for a white women who has grown her hair to should length (just) for the first time in her adult life had has to have it up in a bun for a dance competition tomorrow. Its heavy fine and very, very straight and very very determined not to stay up !

    • dutch84 profile image


      10 years ago

      When I saw the title of the article, I expected the writer to be Arab, Middle Eastern or Indian.

      Very creative hub!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Your hub brought back fond memories of my grandmother and her friends who were born in Poland. These wonderful ladies seldom went anywhere without their *babushkas* securely tied under their chins...light-weight wool or cotton for casual wear, silk for dressy. Thanks, Lissie!

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for commenting everyone: yes I remember Jackie O looking amazing too: can't quite manage the look myself really :-) Yes you can certaining get kid sized scarves and bandanas Paul- but for sun protenction she really should have a wide brimmed hat on.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I think scarves are beautiful on some women, but also practical. I recently tried to tie a head scarf to protect my dauther from the sun. Are there different sizes for kids?

    • DeannaAmsler profile image


      10 years ago from Woodlawn, Va

      Thanks Lissie.

      A very unique idea that I have not considered. I've tried scarves in the past but could never get them to stay on. Thanks for the thoughts. Who knows, I might get motivitated to try it again.

    • Sophie Esperana profile image

      Sophie Esperana 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for sharing, Lissie. You know, other than the usefulness of the material when visiting certain countries, headscarves always reminded me of Jackie O, and they can be ultra-fashionable when you wear it right! Well written article :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I was watching a documentary last night on Marabhata Mai (I may have spelled that wrong), the woman who was sentenced to gang rape in Pakistan due to alleged sexual misconduct on the part of her brother. Watching the program I was reminded of how lovely these scarves are and how I wish I had the nerve to wear one. I've always been fascinated by Middle Eastern women and their culture. I have a great collection of scarves I love and never wear because I always feel silly and affected if I try, but I still buy them. So beautiful. Thank you for this hub, it's lovely.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Maren - I've added another eBay module which features the hijab cap: they also double for head coverings for chemo sufferers which is a use I hadn't thought off. Basically tradtionally they appear just to have been a cotton cap- a bit like the Amish wear; held on with strings - the spandex version would be easier to wear in a cool climate but horrible in a hot one. Remember the traditional islamic dress evolved in the Sahara desert and othe Middle East hot places

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you, Lissie, so much for clearing up some of the mystery. I have tried to put on a scarf in Muslim ways and it just slid all around. So, what do these foundation caps look like and where does one get them????

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      When I've had to work outside in the Australian desert I have certainly covered my head and face - nothing worse than eating dust and brushing it out of your hair! Thanks for commenting Eileen

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Well written article, not something that I would probably wear at the moment but can see the necessity of knowing how to wear it properly when visiting different countries and under various circumstances.

      Thanks again for sharin lissie.


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