How To Wear a Headscarf

On Instagram, there are two types of people: the influencers and the influenced. Of course, you can be both, but most of the time, things like ‘how to wear a headscarf’ evade you—you just can’t find the right look, the right outfit, or even figure out how to tie a knot.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to style a headscarf so you can stop fighting the trend and start loving it. In saying that, headscarves have been worn by a number of cultures for years, and will always be timeless in design (but we’ll delve into all that soon).

If you’re wondering how to wear a headscarf, stay tuned. Below, we’ll help you understand the following:

  • Different head scarf styles
  • How to tie a headscarf
  • How to wear a headscarf with hair down
  • How to wear a headscarf with short hair
  • How to pick the best headscarf for you 

What is a Headscarf?

To put it very simply, a headscarf is a large square of fabric worn on the head, in the hair, or as a covering. It can be folded, knotted, and styled in a variety of ways to achieve the desired look. 

Some people wear headscarves for religious reasons, while others simply like to wear them as an accessory. Regardless, many people have quite a few options in their collection of wardrobe essentials, given the simple yet fashionable touch they can add to any attire.

History of Headscarves

Headscarves have been worn and used by many different cultures for centuries, meaning they are embedded in ancestral heritage and religious beliefs for many wearers. This is always important to consider when styling and wearing your own headscarf. 

Headscarves have also become popularized for the personality they bring to any ensemble, suiting a number of different aesthetics and making even the most minimalist of outfits stand out a little more. 

They are also commonly worn by bikers—protecting hair from becoming unruly in the wind, while simultaneously completing the ‘biker chic’ look.

Headscarves are also worn by workers to shield their hair from dirt, worn by men and women to cover hair loss, and for a variety of different social conventions.

Today, headscarves are still worn for a number of different reasons, and they tend to pop up in trends featuring different colors and patterns that adhere to what is popular at the moment. But, there are always timeless designs and brands that will be in your closet forever.

When to Wear a Headscarf

Headscarves can be worn in any setting. They can be easily styled for work events, casual days, religious reasons, warmth, and a multitude of other different reasons. 

For example, headscarves can be worn in the car or on a motorcycle so your hair doesn’t turn into a bird’s nest blowing in the wind.

They are also ideal for keeping the sun off your scalp on beaches and boats on warm summer days, while thicker options for winter months will keep you nice and toasty.

How to Wear a Headscarf

If you’re wondering how to wear a headscarf, the simple truth is that they can be paired with literally anything in your closet. But if you’re opting to use it as an accessory, there are a number of different things to keep in mind. 

Depending on the look you’re going for, there are a number of different ways to wear a headscarf.

You can try different patterns and colors to match certain aesthetics, opt for different materials for different seasons, and try a number of different ways to style to find something that works for you. 

With that being said, let’s check out our top 10 outfit ideas with headscarves so you can pick out a few pieces in your wardrobe and get the idea train rolling.

10 Outfit Ideas with a Headscarf

1. Elegant

If you’re looking for something simple and elegant, an oversized scarf with a light color is definitely the way to go. Simply wrap once loosely around your head and toss the sides over your shoulder for a relaxed feel. 

Paired with a white, bell sleeve top and a classic pair of light wash blue jeans, this headscarf feels elevated and chic. Of course, the oversized black sunnies complete the look, adding a bolder touch.

2. Minimalist

If you prefer simple tones and a sophisticated style, try out a more minimal look. This way, your headscarf will be easy to style and pair with all the items in your wardrobe.

The deep black color of this headscarf has an elevated feel, wrapped seamlessly around the hair, no matter if it’s short or long.

Paired with a fitted white long sleeve and a matching pair of dress pants, this look is business casual and seamless. The dark shade of the headscarf is matched with a handbag for a thought-out look.

3. Bohemian 

Paired with earthy, natural tones, this headscarf has a boho and minimal feel. The linen texture of the top feels airy and light, while the soft blue jeans have a casual touch. The natural brown of the headscarf pairs seamlessly with a market bag and blue flats.

The triangle shape is ideal for short and long hair, simply tying beneath the hair and laying lightly over it for a casual vibe.

4. Patterned

A tail wrap is a styling go-to when it comes to headscarves, easily covering short or long hair. The neutral yet bold pattern adds dimension to this look, pairing seamlessly with pieces in the same color palette. 

The plain black long sleeve and wide leg light blue bottoms feel airy and simple, yet pair perfectly with the headscarf for a seamlessly put-together look.

5. Ponytail

Wearing a scarf in your ponytail is more ideal if you have long hair, though it can be worn in shorter hair and half-up, half-down looks. This seafoam green shade adds a bright and airy touch to the otherwise neutral outfit.

The pleated beige skirt and fitted sleeveless black turtleneck have a more sophisticated style, while the scarf tied into the ponytail has a whimsical and natural feel, creating a more balanced and youthful ensemble.

6. With bangs

If you’ve got bangs and aren’t sure what to do, the solution is simple: let them free! Simply wrap your scarf around your hair, tie or tuck it at the back, and pull your shorter tresses to the front. 

And for a more elevated and elaborate look, opt for all white. A pair of high-waisted white jeans is always a good call, while the tie front top has a summery feel and the white headscarf will keep your scalp protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun without making you overheat.

7. Long hair

If you’ve got long hair and don’t care, you’ll definitely change your tune for this look. We’ve all got an oversized button-down in our closet, and it may be time to invest in a bold, patterned headscarf too. 

For this style, simply fold to create a flat edge and wrap around the forehead, tying in the back for a seamless and trendy look. You can either tie your hair back as well or opt to leave it down and flowy.

8. Dressy

If you want something a little more elevated, opt for a stylish patterned scarf and a curled low pony. Pull your bangs forward to frame your face while tying the oversized scarf around the base of the ponytail.

Pair with nude heels and a beige a-line dress with a pleated skirt and long sleeves for a sophisticated and seamless look. The patterned scarf will add a little color and visual interest while still creating a professional vibe.

9. As a headband

On the other hand, if you’d prefer something more comfy and casual, try folding your headscarf a few times to create a thin band, wrapping it around your head, and tying in the top or bottom. This can be worn over a bun, ponytail, braid, or with your hair down. 

Opt for some oversized earrings and a color palette that matches the headscarf. This look features a light blue corduroy overall dress and a slightly oversized turtleneck sweater in a creamy white, matching seamlessly with the blue and white scarf.

10. Casual

Another way to create a casual look with a headscarf is to play with patterns. Just as Rihanna has in this photo, opt for bold shades, unique designs, and play with oversized and fitted pieces. 

The bold red and pink shades in the scarf are matched by the fitted tank and oversized patchwork cardigan, while the camo pants add another pattern into the mix to create more dimension and visual interest.

Pair with some combat boots or a pair of chunky heels for a street-style vibe.

The front knot style headscarf can easily be dressed up or down, though the pieces in this case create a casual vibe. If you’d like to opt for something dressier, keep on the same scarf but opt for a more sophisticated color palette and try on a dress or blazer instead.

What Type of Headscarf Can You Get?

Silky textures, bold patterns, and neutral colors are only a few of the different style headscarves you can buy. With that in mind, there’s a variety of options for all different preferences, styles, and aesthetics. 

Of course, there are plenty of variations when it comes to size, as well. Headscarves can range from quite petite, only wrapping around your head once or attaching easily to a ponytail, to large and draping over the upper half of your body.

The different types of headscarves really depend on the style you want to achieve and your personal preferences.

How to Choose The Best Headscarves

The question of how to wear a headscarf goes hand in hand with how to choose the best headscarf since you can’t exactly start wearing it until you’ve found the perfect one (or two, or three). Below, we’ll share a few things you should consider when shopping around:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Material
  • Style
  • Design
  • Reason for wearing

Depending on where you shop, headscarves range in price and quality. Of course, a real silk headscarf from a well-known brand may run a pretty penny, but it’s definitely something that will last you a long time with the proper care (more on that later).

But if you want a simple accessory to wear every so often, a more inexpensive option may be the way to go!

It’s important to choose colors, designs, and styles that you love and that pair well with your other clothing, otherwise you may not reach for the headscarf in your collection.

The same goes for the material, so if silks or heavy patterns are calling your name, try them out. 

Of course, the design can also play a large role in the reason you have for wearing your headscarf. If you’re looking for something that is more modest and fully covers your hair, opt for a larger size in a more neutral color.

And if you want something to attach to a ponytail or your purse, a smaller size may be more ideal.

How to Style a Headscarf

Putting a headscarf on seems simple enough, but then you factor in the million and two ways to tie it and the different possible outfit combinations, and suddenly it’s not all fun and games.

There are a lot of notes to consider when it comes to how to wear a headscarf, but learning how to style it is a whole other ballpark.

When you’re not wearing it, you can tie it onto your bag or around the strap, or even through the loop of your jeans. This way, you’ll have it on you if you need it, while also adding a little more visual interest to your wardrobe.

And when you are wearing it, careful knots and tucks are key. You can style your headscarf in a variety of different ways, transitioning it from a full head covering to a cute and simple headband or even a ponytail wrap. 

You can try folding it in a number of different ways to create a thinner shape, a triangular shape, or avoid the folds for a full head covering. You can knot it beneath your hair, around your pony, or even on top of your head. 

With all that being said, it’s clear that there are a number of ways to wear and style your headscarf. But what are a few things you should avoid? Check out our list of fashion no-nos down below.

Fashion Tips to Avoid With a Headscarf

With more information on how to wear your headscarf, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a few fashion faux pas that you may want to avoid. Below, we’ll share some tips when it comes to how not to wear your headscarf:

  • Avoid wearing a hat over your headscarf
  • Don’t wear patterns that clash, and instead opt for complementary colors and designs

With that being said, style is always a personal thing and you will look great no matter how you style your headscarf! Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that you should never wear a headscarf if they can get tangled in something such as heavy machinery or equipment.

How To Take Care Of a Headscarf

Of course, there is no “how to wear a headscarf” without considering how you should take care of it, otherwise, you may ruin it in the wash or shrink it in the dryer.

It’s always important to consider the material it’s made out of, and follow the washing directions from there. With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep your headscarf in pristine condition:

  1. Hand wash with a gentle detergent
  2. Allow the fabric to air dry
  3. Carefully shape it as it dries
  4. Do not spray any perfumes or oils on the fabric

Best Places to Buy a Headscarf

Now that you know a little more about how to wear a headscarf, you may be interested in trying out a timeless design or trendy pattern for yourself. Check out some of our favorite retailers down below:

  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • Walmart
  • Nordstrom
  • Target
  • Princess Polly

Final Thoughts

As a timeless accessory available in plenty of trendy designs, headscarves are easier to wear than you might think.

With our tips and tricks for how to wear a headscarf, we hope you feel prepared to start picking out a few pieces from your wardrobe and test out different tying and wrapping methods to get the look you desire.

Check out some of our other articles for the latest styling tips and guides:

How To Wear An Infinity Scarf

What To Wear To An Interview

What To Wear To A Summer Wedding

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