Four young and fashionable women talk to us on donning the headscarf, along with some pointers on styling it.
FASHION is a head-to-toe experience and for Muslim women, that also includes the headscarf. Apart from it being a must, it’s also another means of self expression, just in a more demure way.
Thanks to globalisation, the wearing of a headscarf has also now become trendy and in some parts of the world, a fashion statement. It varies from a loosely tied scarf to a full tudung and turbans.
Fashion Valet’s managing director Vivy Yusof and the three sisters of local fashion brand Mimpikita, Mira, Syahira and Nurul Zulkifli, are well known for their innate fashion sense, which also includes how they wear the headscarf.
Vivy Yusof, 26, made the decision to begin wearing a headscarf about a year ago and she discloses that it was not a difficult transition. Her wardrobe already consisted of long sleeved tops and ankle length bottoms and it was just a matter of adding something extra.
“A headscarf to me is a symbol of my submission to God. It’s as simple as that. Some Muslims still want to leave their hair loose, and nice and bouncy. I totally get it, because I was one of them not too long ago! It’s great to have nice hair. Haha. But really, with everything that God has given to me, I needed to do this one thing that is asked of us Muslim women and not question the reason behind it. Just do it and enjoy wearing it,” she said.
She admits that she is not too adventurous with her head dress styles as she prefers to keep it neat and simple. “Since I’m so petite, I don’t need loads of cloth weighing me down, so I like the neat one-round loop around the neck style. I also like brown a lot because it goes with several things. But having said that, I have all sorts of colours in my wardrobe, from pastels to brights to neutrals and from plains to prints, especially now that I’ve started my own scarf brand, ‘duck’.”
In terms of choosing the right scarf for the day or night, Vivy says, “I wear plain scarves and let my clothes be the statement, as I don’t have an issue with plain scarves for day or night. I use the same rules for clothes. I also use casual fabrics like jersey or cotton for the day, and more luxe fabrics like satin for night.”
A young first time mum, she humorously adds that pins are her lifesavers. “I cannot function without pins to hold my headscarf down neatly especially now that my 11-month-old son Daniel’s hobby seems to be pulling my headscarf.”
As for her Raya style this year, Vivy shares that as she is not a fan of sheer headscarves and her pet peeve is when hair can be seen through the headscarf (or even worse, hair poking out through the fabric).
“I say, if you want to wear a headscarf, wear it properly without showing sneak peeks of your hair. With that, I make sure I have a good inner scarf to keep my hair in place and I use a good opaque material headscarf on top. It will also be tightly pinned, with my duck scarf charm showing proudly. Oh, and probably crumpled all the time because of my son – Daniel.”
Mira Zulkifli, COO, operations manager and account executive of Mimpikita, has been using a headscarf since she was 14.
“To me, wearing a headscarf is something that is very personal, something that I needed to do as a Muslim. I’ve asked for a lot from God and have been blessed with His subsistence. This is my way of giving back to Him. I feel safe, I feel humbled, I feel secure. I feel the gentleness, delicateness and beauty in its own way. Now that loads of Muslim women have started to cover up, there are hundreds of ways to style it, making it more fun, bold and fashionable!” said the 30-year-old.
As for incorporating a headscarf in her dailywear, Mira said, “My sense of style is more effortlessly chic where I insert trendy key pieces to update my look. In terms of styling my headscarf, you will find me in a chiffon silk rectangle headscarf in black, dark blue, dark brown or pastels. I do change my style according to if I’m travelling or just daily wear, but in the end, I stick to one method.”
Syahira Zulkifli, 27, the Kitakids head designer (childrens’ range) and youngest of the three sisters, is a seasoned “hijabster”. Having started wearing a headscarf 14 years ago, she had time to explore her fashion sense.
“For me, the headscarf is my comfort zone. I feel safe and closer to God because this is part of His beautiful command. By wearing it, I avoid wandering eyes and unnecessary attention from strangers. I think this beautiful, humble feeling will only be understood and shared by other women that wear the headscarf,” she says.
“I am more reserved when styling my headscarf and am a loyal fan of Bawal headscarf (a popular headscarf style). Voile, my fabric of choice is more breathable and comfortable and I usually wear it in pastel hues with soft brown and soft pink being my favourites. Like right now, having a one-year-old son and being eight months pregnant, my go-to piece would be a long dress and my Bawal headscarf,” she said.
The oldest sister, Nurul Zulkifli, 32, started donning the full headscarf two years ago. “When I started 9 years ago, I was forced to wear it by my parents. I wasn’t ready at that time so I questioned them a lot. It was only in early 2013, a few months before I was given the opportunity to perform the umrah that I felt that ready for that next step and have covered my hair ever since. I still need to do a lot of improvement in terms of my styling but I take it one step at a time. I think God only has beautiful reasons why He wants us women to wear a headscarf,” she says.
Nurul, who is also managing director and creative director at Kaz Design Services and Mimpikita head designer, states that it is just a matter of keeping herself up to date with the latest trends and selecting a style that is more modest and effortless.
“I find wearing a crepe silk and satin silk headscarf in a light and flowy style is more clean, chic and fluid. One of these scarves in an earthy tone or something really bold and bright can enhance my overall look.
“As a designer, my focus is more on my clothing, so I prefer my headscarf style to complement my apparel and not vice versa. Currently, I love anything white, so I do use heaps more beige and grey coloured headscarves.”
In terms of the do’s and dont’s, the sisters are united in the fact that keeping it simple is best. “Don’t over do it with the layering or styling that your headscarf looks bigger than your face. Daywear should be strictly simple and comfortable. You can create instant glamour for night by complementing your headscarf with a designer or vintage brooch,” says Mira.
Syahira prefers to choose a headscarf based on her outfit. “If it is an elaborate ensemble, a simple and plain headscarf is the better option, while for night, you can opt for a more glamorous fabric such as satin or chiffon to further elevate your style. Also, in terms of make-up, a nude and simple look is more suitable than bold make-up.”
Nurul says that she is a little more adventurous for the night as she may don a dual toned headscarf in satin silk. “Essentially, the ‘dont’ for me is to not wear a bright scarf with a bright outfit. That is a no-no.”
As for their Raya style, all three will be keeping it simple and comfortable with a soft pastel palette.
Underneath the veil