The Different Ways of Wearing a Hijab

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Tradition, modesty and contemporary fashion sense come together to create new hijab styles that debut in Istanbul, Cairo or Dubai, and are quickly adopted by fashion-conscious Muslim women. The basic scarf shapes -- square, oblong and triangle -- provide material for complex folds and layering. Newer shapes include those that slip on like a tight-fitting cowl, or bonnet styles that are designed to be worn with a high-necked dress or layered with a second scarf.

Square Hijabs

Square hijabs are popular in the Levant, North Africa, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Fold a square hijab in half diagonally, drape it over the head with two ends draping over the chest, and pin at the chin for a basic, traditional style of the Levant. It may also be the beginning of more contemporary styles. Tie the ends for a style popular in Turkey and Eastern Europe. Pin one end to the opposite side of the chest, or drape the end around the head and pin at the back or the side of the head for a style popular in Gulf Arab states. Layer a square hijab with a cap, bonnet or another scarf to create a layered look that forms part of many formal hijab styles.

Oblong Hijabs

Oblong scarves are worn in Gulf Arab states and South Asia. They can be layered and pinned, but are usually not folded. Drape the oblong scarf over your head, with the short ends facing your shoulders, and leave one end longer than the other. You can pin the scarf behind the head or beneath your chin. Drape the longer end over the chest, and pin at the chest or back or side of the head. This can be layered with other oblong or square scarves, and additional scarves can be braided, draped at angles over the head, or twisted into a rosette. This is usually done with a shayla or milfeh, which are smaller than the Pakistani dupatta. A dupatta is draped so that the ends are equally long, and draped back over the shoulders. A Pashmina may be styled like a shayla or a dupatta.

Triangular Hijabs

Triangular Hijabs were popular in the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, after which sales and availability declined. They can be worn like square or oblong hijabs if you omit the folding step for styles adapted from a square hijab style. Triangular hijabs often have beading or lace on two sides. The side that goes closest to your face is the plain side.

Shaped Hijabs

Hijabs also come in styles with parts sewn into place for ease of wearing. The Al-Amira hijab comes in two styles: a one-piece style that is worn by slipping it on like a cowl, and a two-piece style that is made of a wide headband and the cowl-like piece. The Mona style is a combination of the Al-Amira and a shayla, with a part that slips over the head sewn to the part that drapes over the head.