Wearing an African head scarf is one way to give a look a touch of class and creativity. When it comes to special occasions, African head scarves make a fashion statement like no other. Whether you’re attending a wedding or another festive event, these beautiful accessories can take your look up a notch and add an extra layer of elegance to any outfit.
But if you’ve never tied one before, the prospect of styling a head scarf for the first time can be challenging. There are many different ways to tie an African head scarf, so you can experiment to find the style that suits you best.
That’s why we put together this guide on how to tie an African head wrap for special occasions. We’ll walk you through the steps so that you can master the technique in no time and start wearing your new accessory with confidence. So let’s get started!
The Different Methods of Wearing an African Head Scarf
There are different types of African head scarves that can be worn for special occasions. Some of the popular wraps for women include:
The most popular type is the gele (Nigeria), which is a long, rectangular scarf that is wrapped and tied firmly around the head.
How to Tie a Gele
- Start with a square piece of fabric that is at least 30 inches wide and 60 inches long. If you are using a solid-colored fabric, choose a color that complements your outfit. If you are using a print fabric, choose a design that will stand out against your skin tone
- Drape the fabric over your head so that the middle of the fabric is in the back of your neck and the ends hang down in front
- Take one end of the fabric and cross it over the other end, then tuck it behind your neck
- Bring the two ends of the fabric up to the front of your face and tie them together at the top of your head. You can use either a simple knot or a bow-tie knot
- Tuck any excess fabric under the scarf and adjust it until it is comfortable and securely in place.
Another type of scarf is the doek (Namibia & South Africa), which is a square head scarves or triangular scarf that is worn around the forehead.
How to Tie a Doek
The doek is a square or triangular scarf that is worn around the forehead. One way is to fold it into a square or triangle and tie it around your forehead. Another way is to make a headband by folding the doek in half lengthwise and tying it around your head.
To tie a doek as a square or triangle, follow these steps:
- Fold the doek into a triangle
- Place the doek on your forehead so that the point of the triangle is at your hairline
- Tie the doek’s two ends behind your head
- Adjust the doek so that it is comfortable and fits snugly around your head.
To tie a doek as a headband, follow these steps:
- Fold the doek in half lengthwise
- Place the doek on your forehead so that the fold is at your hairline
- Tie the two ends of the doek behind your head
- Adjust the doek so that it is comfortable and fits snugly around your head.
The final type of scarf is the shemagh (North African country like Libya), which is a large square scarf that can be worn as a shawl or head covering.
How to Tie a Shemagh
The shemagh is a large square scarf that can be worn around the head and neck. It is traditionally worn by Arab men, but it can be worn by anyone. The shemagh is a versatile piece of clothing that can be used for many purposes, including as a headscarf, neck scarf, or even a blanket.
- To tie a shemagh, start by folding the scarf in half to form a triangle
- Then, hold the triangle up to your head so that the point is at the top of your head and the two ends are hanging down your back
- Wrap the ends around your head, and tie them together at the base of your neck
- Finally, tuck the ends into the scarf so that they don’t unravel.
The Classic Bun
This is probably the most common way to wear a headscarf.
- To wear the classic bun, start by tying the scarf around your head so that it forms a tight band.
- Then, twist the scarf until it forms a thick bun and secure it with pins or hair ties.
- If you want a more polished look, you can also wrap the ends of the scarf around the bun to hide the pins or ties.
The Bow Scarf
This easy and elegant headscarf style is great for holidays and other dressy occasions. Silk scarves with bows on them are particularly lovely.
- To do the bow scarf, tie the scarf around your head so that it forms a band
- Then, take the two ends of the scarf and tie them together in a big bow knot at the back of your head.
The puff is a great style for special occasions like weddings or galas.
- To do the puff, start by tying the scarf around your head so that it forms a band
- Then, take one of the ends of the scarf and tie it around the base of your ponytail
- Next, take the other end of the scarf and wrap it around the first end to create a puff
- Secure the puff with pins or hair ties.
The Rosie Riveter
Rossie Riveter is a classic look that can be achieved with an African head scarf. This style is perfect for special occasions and is specifically worn by smart casual women, and it can add a touch of sophistication to any ensemble. Here’s how to tie a Rosie Riveter with an African head scarf:
- Start by folding the headscarf in half diagonally to create a triangle.
- Place the headscarf on your head with the narrow end at the front and the two ends at either side of your face.
- Tie each corner around the back of your neck in a knot, pulling tight to secure it in place.
- Take one of the corners and begin tucking it firmly into the knot on the opposite side.
- Once securely tucked, take the corner and pull it around your head towards the other side.
- Repeat with the other corner, pulling it up tightly to secure it in place.
- Now you have achieved the iconic Rosie Riveter look with an African head scarf.
There are many ways to tie a headband, and each one can give you a different look. Here are two easy and festive ways to tie a headband for special occasions.
- The first way is to wrap the headband around your head, securing it in the back with a knot, and you’re good to go! This style is perfect for an elegant evening look
- The second way is to twist the headband into a coil and secure it with a hairpin. This style is perfect for a more casual look.
The hat wrap is a traditional African head scarf style that looks like a beret.
To create the hat wrap, you will need one long rectangle of fabric.
- Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, then tie it around your head.
- Position the ends of the fabric at either side of your face and pull them down to make a loose knot at the back of your neck.
- Tighten the wrap and adjust it to the shape of your head by pulling the edges over each other on either side.
- Finally, finish off the look with an African hair accessory such as a hat pin or barrette.
For weddings or other formal occasions, the turban offers a more formal look that is ideal.
- To create a turban head wrap, wrap the scarf around your head so that it forms a long loop
- Then, twist the loop of the pre-tied scarf until it forms a tight turban and secure it with pins or hair ties.
These are just a few of the many ways to wear an African head scarf. So get creative and have fun experimenting with different styles.
To learn more, watch this video: 6 SIMPLE QUICK & EASY WAYS TO STYLE 1 HEADWRAP/TURBAN/HEADSCARF
The Purpose of Our African Headscarf
There are many reasons why African women wear head scarves.
- In some cultures, it is considered a sign of respect to cover your hair when you are in the company of adults. This is often done to show that you are humble and respectful.
- In other cultures, women wear head scarves as a way to show their patriotism or support for a cause. For example, many Muslim women wear head scarves as a sign of their faith, and African-American women often wear head scarves as a sign of their heritage. Headscarves can also be used to show solidarity with a group or to express an opinion on a political or social issue.
- And in still other cultures, women wear head scarves as a form of self-expression or fashion statement. Headscarves can be a way to show off your personality or style, and there are many different designs and colors to choose from.
- Some women wear headscarves for religious reasons, as a sign of modesty or allegiance to faith.
- Headscarves can also be worn to express cultural identity, as in the case of the hijabs worn by Muslim women. Some women choose to wear headscarves as a form of political protests, such as the pink pussy hats worn at the Women’s March on Washington.
Accessories That Can Be Worn With an African Head Scarf
The range of accessories that can be worn with an African head scarf is extensive. Some of the most popular options include:
• Earrings: Whether you choose simple studs or something more elaborate, earrings are a great way to accessorize your head scarf.
• Necklaces: A beautiful necklace can add a lot of visual interest to your outfit.
• Bracelets: From delicate bangles to chunky cuffs, bracelets can add a fun pop of color and style.
• Rings: A few well-chosen rings can really make your outfit shine.
Where to Buy African Head Scarves Online and in Stores
Looking to buy an African head scarf for a special occasion? There are a number of online and brick-and-mortar stores where you can find these festive accessories.
One great option is Amazon, which offers a wide range of head scarves made from a variety of fabrics. You can choose from colorful patterns and designs that will make you stand out in a crowd.
If you’re looking for a more traditional look, head over to the Africa Import website. Africa Import specializes in crafting traditional Tuareg head wraps, which are made with high-quality materials and come in a variety of colors and styles.
Finally, if you’re looking for a bargain, check out the selection of head scarves on eBay. You’ll find everything from brightly colored wraps to elegant lace designs, all at affordable prices.
How Do You Tie a Festival Head Scarf?
A simple way to do it is to fold the scarf into a triangle, then wrap it around your head and tie it in the back. You can also try a bandana-style knot, or make a crown-like wrap by folding the scarf in half lengthwise and tying it in the middle.
How Do You Wear a Head Scarf Fashionably?
You can try tying it in a bow, making a messy bun, or even wearing it as a belt. Get creative and experiment with different styles to find the look that’s right for you.
What Is the Difference Between an African Head Scarf and a Bandana?
African head scarves are usually made from thicker fabric and have more intricate designs than bandanas. They’re also typically larger in size, making them ideal for wrapping around your head. Bandanas, on the other hand, are smaller and can be worn a variety of ways, including as a headband, necktie, or even a belt.
What Do Head Wraps Symbolize?
In many African cultures, head wraps are worn as a sign of respect. They also symbolize strength, wisdom, and beauty.
Can a White Woman Wear a Head Wrap?
Yes, anyone can wear a head wrap, regardless of race or ethnicity.
You should now be more knowledgeable about how to knot an African head scarf for formal occasions. Whether it’s for a wedding or just because, these festive scarves can add the perfect touch to your outfit.
The best part is that, with practice and creativity, there are so many different ways you can style them. So go ahead—experiment and find out which look works best for you. And don’t forget – when in doubt, accessorize with bright colors and bold patterns.
With the right accessories and attitude, no one will be able to resist your charm!