Where did you pick up your style?

A friend posed an interesting question the other day: How did you learn to wear hijab?

I’m sure that for a few years after I started wearing hijab, I probably looked rather weird. It takes some time to find your own style. Even now I don’t always have a handle on my scarf. There are bad hijab days, and that’s all there is to it.

But it seems that each girl I know who wears hijab has a very distinct style. I use two straight pins to put one flap on top of my head. It’s the easiest for me to do, and it keeps my scarf on pretty securely throughout the day. But I don’t remember when I realized that was best for me.

I also found that plain bandanas worked best for me under my scarf. The cloth, elastic umtas that are sold at hijab stores simply don’t keep my hair in place. But it took a lot of trial and error for me to figure that out. I think most of us just take notice of what other people are wearing and try out a few different things until we find what’s comfortable.

But did any of you have someone actually teach you how to wear your hijab?

I’ve never been able to get a handle on dupatta, or sheila, styles. No matter how much I try, that style just doesn’t suit. I’ve tried to have people teach me, and it still doesn’t work out. It’s a bit frustrating, since other people look so good in those hijabs, but some styles only suit certain people, I guess.

If someone asked me to help them put on hijab, I don’t know how helpful I would be either.

In fact, my sister started wearing hijab just a year after me, but she wears it in a completely different way. But I’m sure there are friends out there who help each other out with styles or sisters who teach the other one.

So where did you all learn? Is your hijab style still changing after many years? Or are you comfortable with the one you’ve found?

Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at info@hijabtrendz.com with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at www.twitter.com/nadiamalik or simply leave a comment below.

This article has 10 comments

  1. Zeynub

    I first started wearing hijab when I was 7, which was about 7 years ago. lol.
    I started wearing it because my mom wore it, and I thought it was the right thing to do.
    Anyways, when I first started wearing hijab I wore it the way my mom wore it. Which was the triangle style using one safety pin. Then a few years later I saw some of my hijabi friends wearing it by just tying the two sides together, as in the way you would when trying to tie your shoe laces, but before you do the bunny ears thing. lol. 😀
    Nowadays I usually wear it dupatta/shayla style. But I’m starting to use a one piece black al-amira hijab that is short enough to tuck in to my shirt, then I take a transparent hijab that has good length and put it dupatta/shayla style on top. And voila! I’m finished! 🙂
    I got my hijab style from my mom, and nowadays I’m picking it up from youtube videos.

  2. afshi

    i first learned to wear a hijab by my cousin. I remember we web-cammed each other and she was giving me step by step instructions on how she does the hijab. Then I started experimenting with my own style as well. I also look at a few youtube videos for inspiration and also to friends.

  3. Kelly

    I started out wearing squares tied behind and wrap the ends up like a crown. Then moved to pashminas, and al amiras. (I’m not really an amira kinda girl though). I wear almost all styles though, just kinda depends on my mood, outfit, event, whatever. When my children were little I did tend to wear more of the amiras, and also squares. As long as it was kept on my head I was cool lol.

  4. caraboska

    I have found that each scarf has its own length, width and drape properties which make one style better than the other. And so I have, true, viewed YouTube videos, but in the end I just had to experiment with each scarf to figure out what was best. I even figured out the dupatta style without anyone showing me – only afterward did someone tell me ‘that’s how it’s done over there in Pakistan’. I have a favorite store on eBay where I have bought a lot of dupatta-type shawls, many of them extremely large – some even over 9 feet long. That having been said, my favorites at the moment are an oval, cream tatted lace tablecloth and a generous length of black, mantilla type lace, both of which I wrap in a Khaleeji-type style because they have the drape for it. With an amira underneath of course. I like to have the two pieces of the amira in contrasting colors, and then the shayla in yet another color.

  5. Natalie

    I have to say that I also picked up my styles from watching youtube. It was very difficult at first, but once I kept practicing I got the hang of it. Now I am interesting in the hijab style bun (since its very hot) that I see other Muslimahs wear but can’t seem to find a good tutorial for that.

  6. Jen

    :o\ While reading this post, I started giggling to myself as I remembered the first time I put a scarf on my head. I reverted to Islam in 2008 and had no idea what in the heck I was doing. I knew nothing about underscarves, caps, or hijabi-fied pins. I started experimenting with hijab during Ramadan 2008.

    One day I was invited to my friends house to learn more about Islam and I proudly showed up at her door in my hijab-fied self. She looked at me in horror and then started smiling. My scarf was all over the place and held by multiple straight pins. She took me into her room, started taking out the pins, and gave me a underscarf. She then proceeded to show me how to wrap my rectangle scarf over my head. Only one straight pin was needed!

    Since then, I have experminted with my scarf and many different styles. I like watching the hijab tutorials on YouTube, but rarely does my hijab come out looking like what has been done.

  7. Carib Muslimah

    When I first started wearing hijab I looked frumpy and my hijab wasn’t placed neatly on my head. It looked like I just threw it on. LOL. For me, it took a while to implement my own style into my Islamic dress. It took breaking free from the ultraconservative idea of how Muslim women should dress. From there I looked at the Muslimahs around me. (Living in South Florida, I had plenty of inspiration!) I tend to wear my hijab in the same style you mentioned Nadia- one flap pinned to the top of my head with a straight pin and the other pinned across my chest with a broach or a hijab pin. I wear the shayla style sometimes but my issue is chest coverage. Not too many shaylas give me the desired amount of coverage. I wear Al Amirahs when I work out.

    As for the clothing part, I’ve been inspired by sisters on the internet. Since I first donned hijab I have learned to experiment with different colors, fabrics, and shapes of clothing. I tend to wear skirts with a top more than anything. When I feel like mixing it up I’ll wear pants with a long shirt, an abaya or a dress. Now, whatever I wear it has to be stylish, coordinated, and SO me. 🙂

  8. LK

    Honestly. Youtube. I had to wear it to go to a mosque for a Muharram lecture and since my friend was male he couldn’t help me. So I turned to Youtube and that is how I learned which allowed me to take lots of classes and learn lots more great things about Islam :).

    I like either the square with one side pinned on top or the long scarf pulled first on my head like a bandana, pinned behind my head, then wrapping the long end around. I think I got it from Muslima2Muslima.

  9. Deniz

    First i kinda winged it (didnt work) then i asked some friends to show me (didnt get it) then i bought a heap of rectangle scarves and copied styles i saw on youtube (friend suggested it – didnt suit me), then i watched and liked Hana’s tutorials (StyleCovered) but found that long scarves were just a nuisance for me with two babies with ends hanging all over the place, and finally i tried a small (1m x 1m) scarf (Turkish style) and that worked for me!

    I am Turkish myself but never knew how to wear it and never even considered it because i dont know many Turkish people personally who wear hijab. Anyway i use two closed pins and i have my own style (looks very similar to the usual Turkish style but i pin it up differently to suit whatever i am wearing). Its a very neat style with minimal fuss and no excess fabric hanging. I do like the loose casual style of wearing scarves, i think they look better and more relaxed, but for me at this stage in my life i think i need it to be neat and proper and not in my way.

    Mind you all this happened within a year – i started wearing hijab in October 09, so it just goes to show how much a persons style can change within such a short space of time.

    Good question by the way!

  10. Rania

    I learned from anywhere, from the people around me, from pictures on magazine, from internet, from people I see on the street, etc. But they never teach me directly (except the hijab tutorial from youtube). I only see/notice their hijab style, and then try it at home how to get the look. I think maybe when I get the look, the way I wrap my hijab didn’t have to the same with them. Sometimes I found a new hijab wrap myself that suit me 😉

    I also never stick to one style, I’m kind of person that like to try new look/style. So, I keep changing my hijab style… 🙂

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