Different ways of how to wear a head scarf without cultural appropraition

How to Wear a Head Scarf Without Cultural Appropriation

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I remember the first time I wrote about 25+ ways to wear a scarf and the photo I included about how to wear a head scarf without cultural appropriation was with another woman’s image. Because I felt strange trying to wear a scarf that way.

Quote of the day: “You can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed.” Misty Copeland

Wearing a head scarf is not very different than donning a hat. It can feel like you’re standing out since it’s not something you see many women wearing in your community.
Yet it can be an excellent option for taming down a bad hair day as well as adding some extra color to an outfit.

Scarves are magical pieces of fabric because they can be rolled, folded, and tied in all kinds of ways to be worn as accessories or even as clothing items.

There is no shortage of articles about styling scarves on this site, and here are a few if you need more inspiration.

So let’s discuss a couple of questions I have heard as well as showcase the ways I have worn a head scarf in real life.

Who Can Wear a Head Scarf?

The best part about modern fashion is how the fashion rules are now made to be broken. It’s entirely possible to think about how to wear a head scarf without cultural appropriation.

Many times in our retirement community, I will see women wearing scarves on their heads to cover their scalps due to their hair falling out from chemotherapy.

Related post: What to wear for chemo

But women of any age, with any length of hair, and any head shape can rock a headscarf since there are numerous ways to style them.

If you are anything like me, then you may feel nervous about wearing scarves this way. Yet after you try it a couple of times, it will be old hat!
In fact, it could be one of the baby steps to wearing hats also.

Related post: Beginners guide for wearing a hat

Wearing a Head Scarf for Fashion

When we talk about how to wear a head scarf without cultural appropriation, the biggest reason to try a scarf this way is for fashion. Whether that’s because your hair is a mess or you are looking to add that “extra” to a look, you can style them a multitude of ways.

Of course, I have my favorites but don’t be afraid to experiment.

How to Wear a Head Scarf Without Cultural Appropriation as a Headband

Wearing a head scarf with short hair
Scarf: Long, rectangular, silky scarf

I love fun headbands, but sometimes they can be uncomfortable behind my ears. Especially if you already have eyeglasses that are creating pressure in that area.
That’s when folding a scarf to act as a headband can be an even better option.

In the example above, I left the scarf flat on the top of my head and used bobby pins to hold it in place behind my ears.
I left the ends hanging down with one end cascading down my back and the other falling over one shoulder.

Insider tip: Having one or both scarf ends down your back is a great way to add interest to the back of your outfit. Don’t forget that just as many people see the rearview, so why not give them something interesting to look at?

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Scarf Headbands with a Top-Knot

Another option for wearing your scarf as a headband is to create a little or a lot of vertical dimensions with a top knot tied into it. This is not unlike some of the bigger headbands that are available.

Insider tip: Knot the scarf in the middle of its length once for a small top knot and more times for a larger top knot.

Wearing a Head Scarf to Cover your Hair

Keep a head scarf in place with tools
Scarf: Long, rectangular, silky scarf

I always love a hat to help with a bad hair day, but a scarf can do the trick also.

In this example, I just secured the scarf to my hair with a bobby pin in front and behind my ear on each side.
Then instead of tying the ends into a knot in the back of my neck, I overlapped them and used one of my Maggie’s magnets to hold them together.

I could keep both ends cascading down my back, or have one scarf end fall over one shoulder.

Scarf Around Your Ponytail

Scarf: Small, square, silky scarf

Tying a scarf around the elastic of your ponytail is such a fun way how to wear a head scarf without cultural appropriation. Not only does it add some interesting detail to the rearview, but it can also camouflage the fact that your ponytail is short or thin.

There are scarves made just for this purpose too.

Insider tip: Or wrap the entire scarf around the hair elastic to make your own silky, scrunchie.

Wear Your Head Scarf Under a Hat

Scarf: Long, rectangular, silky scarf

You can always combine your scarf with your hat by wearing your head scarf under your hat. This is a wonderful way to protect your hair so it doesn’t get as mussed up under a hat.
I knotted my scarf on the side of my head so it was an obvious addition, but you could just as easily hide it under the hat.

Which Scarves Work Best as a Head Scarf

I have been known to experiment with any and all of the scarves in my collection. While these examples are all silky scarves, your cotton scarves can be just as stylish, and may not slip on your hair as easily.

As for shapes, the smaller scarves are more limited in their versatility, but if you have short hair, and don’t want the ends to hang down, this could be the perfect size for you. Just wrap the ends under the band you’ve created and secure them with bobby pins.

A square scarf can be folded along its axis if you want it shorter, or folded diagonally to create more length.

The longer, rectangular scarves can be folded or twisted to different widths, to fit on your head in a comfortable way.

Tools for How to Wear a Head Scarf

There are scarves made to be worn as a head scarf, and those can be shaped to curve around your head as well as be available with an elastic attached. Many of these are found on Amazon called turbans or head scarf caps.

If you are trying to tie a flat scarf around your head, there are a couple of tools that can make it much easier.

  • Bobby pins: As someone who has a small head, I find that a couple of well-placed bobby pins keep the head scarf secure and then I’m not futzing with it all day long. I usually slide one behind each ear but feel free to put them wherever works for you.
  • Magnets-combo pack: These magnets are wonderful for holding a scarf either to itself or another piece of fabric without damaging either item. These are larger versions of magnets and can be used in a multitude of ways as shown in this article
  • Glamour magnets: These magnets are much smaller and work fabulously with lightweight scarves. I use these many times to hold a scarf end over my shoulder.
  • Ortho elastics: Elastics also hold material together and I have used these with head scarves to keep the ends of the scarf together.
  • Hair elastics: For thicker scarves, a hair elastic can work better to keep the scarf ends together.

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Organizational Ideas & Where to Find Scarves

Scarves could be hiding in your bedroom as we speak. I think the best way to make sure you wear them is to create an organizational system where they are visible. If you can’t see them, then you forget that you have them.

I’ve shared a couple of posts on storing my scarves, but the most important aspect is to have them easy to access.

Insider tip: If you have a scarf that seems too big or it’s an infinity scarf that you never wear, you can always cut it smaller and make it the shape you prefer.

If you are looking to add more scarves to your collection, I have some inexpensive ideas for you.

  • Second-hand stores, estate sales, or garage sales.
  • Shein-a fast-fashion company that has inexpensive offerings.
  • Temu-an Amazon competitor. Search for scarves to find the options.
  • Ask a friend-some women have these items but never wear them.
  • If you ever have dresses or skirts shortened, the extra material can be a perfect skinny scarf.
How to wear a head scarf without cultural appropriation

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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