Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: RebeccainGA on March 11, 2013, 12:58:44 PM

Title: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 11, 2013, 12:58:44 PM
I've got a dilemma that has come up a few times, but now that I'm working in an office where the dress standards are higher than my last office by a considerable amount, I'm a bit baffled as to how to continue.

The background: I used to wear scarves, a LOT, when I was in college/just graduated. Long ones, square ones, all sizes and shapes. I wore them, most of the time, either tied around my head (covering most of my hair, which was and is long, and often worn in a bun) or tied around the bun with the ends trailing. Thanks to my mother's paranoia, I stopped wearing them like that post 9/11, even though they have no significance except that they are prettier than my hair.

I've now got this epic collection of large scarves. I'd like to start wearing them again. I'd like, occasionally, to not wear them around my neck, which seems to be the only way women around here wear them - and ideally, I'd like to wear them around my hair again (especially when it's really windy outside or if my hair is doing bad bad things, which it does occasionally). I'm normally in the camp of "I'd rather the bigot think I'm devout than the devout think I'm a bigot", but I'm not sure if it's not rude to... co-opt? I don't usually wear them in the headscarf style typical of the Muslim community (loosely draped around the face) but more of the Orthodox Jewish "cover all the hair" or the conservative Christian 'modesty' styles - ironically, have sold some of my scarves on e-bay, and those two communities are the ones that buy them!

Maybe I'm overthinking - but I certainly don't want to offend someone that wears their hair covered for a reason. I do, however, really want to start wearing these scarves again, and between my body style and my wardrobe, other than different variations of 'wear it around your neck' I can't figure out how in the world to wear them BUT around my head somewhere.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Judah on March 11, 2013, 01:02:22 PM
I think you're over-thinking. Scarves have been worn to cover the head since there have been scarves, and it has nothing to do with religion.  I often wear a scarf to cover my head when it's cold or windy and I see other women do it often too. 
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Surianne on March 11, 2013, 01:04:24 PM
I don't think there would be anything offensive about it.  As you've noted, more than one group uses them for different reasons (religion, modesty) and certainly there's an old Hollywood glamour feel to them as well.  So you wouldn't be appropriating a particular culture/religion's style at all.

I love headscarves.  I often wear some hippie-style around my hair, but letting my hair come out the back -- so different than the way you mean, but very fun too. 
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: WillyNilly on March 11, 2013, 01:05:38 PM
There are about a billion and one reasons to wear fashion accessories, and you don't need to justify any of them. If I saw a woman with a scarf over here hair, if it looked nice probably all I'd think was "oh, isn't that pretty!"If it looked a bit odd (didn't match, or something) I might think "oh its probably religious" but honestly I'd just as likely think "wow she must be having a bad hair day" or wonder if the woman lost her hair, or had a bad incident with gum or scissors. I really can't imagine someone being offended that someone else likes and emulates their style, regardless of their reason for having the style.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Redwing on March 11, 2013, 01:07:52 PM
And I'd be thinking, "Gosh, I wish I could pull that off."  But unfortunately for me, a scarf tied in my hair has never looked right.  Wish it did because I think it looks so pretty!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RingTailedLemur on March 11, 2013, 01:13:16 PM
Wear them and don't worry.

I wear headscarves a lot because of severe eczema on my scalp.  The worst that has happened is someone assuming I am a nurse  :)
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: TurtleDove on March 11, 2013, 01:18:10 PM
I sometimes wear scarves tied around my ponytail with the ends trailing (not over my head, but tied like a ribbon).  I also sometimes wear scarves as belts.  I have seen women who tie pretty scarves around the straps of their purses, sort of a decoration for the purse.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 11, 2013, 01:19:04 PM
Thanks, folks. Really. Around here (Atlanta area) I have seen exactly ONE person wearing a scarf that wasn't around her neck or obviously a religious observation - and she was a hairdresser, very fashion forward, and had it braided into her hair. Looked amazing. She's actually who got me thinking about wearing mine again.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: lowspark on March 11, 2013, 01:42:05 PM
I just googled images for "scarf on head fashion" and really, none of the pictures look like the wearer is doing it for religious reasons. Some of the scarves are so beautiful and there are so many ways to wear them.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Dalek on March 11, 2013, 01:52:04 PM
How do you know what religion your customers are?
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Coralreef on March 11, 2013, 01:57:14 PM
I can't wait for my hair to grow longer so I can use the scarves I have. 

I remember my mother wearing a scarf to go outside to protect her hair from the wind.  I don't think there has to be a religious reason to wear one.  Specially if you attach it in a way that is completely different from what a Muslin (or other religious denomination) woman would wear it. 
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 11, 2013, 01:59:27 PM
I just googled images for "scarf on head fashion" and really, none of the pictures look like the wearer is doing it for religious reasons. Some of the scarves are so beautiful and there are so many ways to wear them.
Good heavens - according to some of these articles, the way I used to wear my scarves is not only OK, but the new hot trend. I don't know what I'll do with myself, being fashionable!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 11, 2013, 02:00:30 PM
How do you know what religion your customers are?
Because to a person they all told me that "this scarf is perfect for me, since I've gone 'modestnik'/am Orthodox/etc." They were all hoping I had more in similar sizes, too, I think.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: lowspark on March 11, 2013, 02:01:40 PM
I just googled images for "scarf on head fashion" and really, none of the pictures look like the wearer is doing it for religious reasons. Some of the scarves are so beautiful and there are so many ways to wear them.
Good heavens - according to some of these articles, the way I used to wear my scarves is not only OK, but the new hot trend. I don't know what I'll do with myself, being fashionable!

Post a picture here! We want to see!  :)
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: #borecore on March 11, 2013, 02:02:06 PM
I love wearing scarves around my head! But I don't. I have been heckled for being Jewish, wearing a burka, being an old Polish granny and looking like Aunt Jemima. Now, ALL of these things are racist/bigoted and generally dumb ... so they don't actually hurt my feelings. But they do make me feel awkward, like I stand out, or like I am doing a disservice to those who do wear these scarves for personal reasons rather than hurt fashion (because, aside from telling someone to bu
zz off and quit being a bigot, I don't want to get in a fight over my headwear).

So I wear scarves folded over as headbands, rather than covering my whole head. Or around my neck or shoulders. Or I just ignore jerks and go for it, but I am less and less inclined to do so, even on really bad hair days.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 11, 2013, 02:30:26 PM
I just googled images for "scarf on head fashion" and really, none of the pictures look like the wearer is doing it for religious reasons. Some of the scarves are so beautiful and there are so many ways to wear them.
Good heavens - according to some of these articles, the way I used to wear my scarves is not only OK, but the new hot trend. I don't know what I'll do with myself, being fashionable!

Post a picture here! We want to see!  :)
Oh, drat - it was LAST YEAR. Oh well.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/fashion/29iht-fprint29.html?_r=0
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: guihong on March 11, 2013, 02:34:35 PM
If you are one of the few women who can wear a scarf well, go for it!   Rhoda could, and may have spawned an earlier trend.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: amylouky on March 11, 2013, 02:44:44 PM
I see no problem with it. Scarves aren't strictly a religious item, even if they are used for religious purposes by some groups.
I will admit, I do get annoyed when things that ARE religious items (crosses, etc) are used as just a fashion accessory, but I don't see this as that situation at all.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: kglory on March 11, 2013, 02:50:41 PM
I'm not religious, but I love wearing a scarf in the summer like this:  http://www.zigoti.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/how-to-wear-a-bandana.jpg  Although I favor more tie-dye/floral/patterned prints, not actual bandanas.

So I say go for it!  If you are wearing a scarf with a t-shirt and shorts, people would probably not assume you are wearing it for religious reasons.  In other words, I would only think it was religious based on the whole outfit (long sleeves, long pants or skirt, etc.)  But even if you did want to wear it with a long shirt and long pants for fashion reasons, that is your right too.

If I saw a woman with a scarf over here hair, if it looked nice probably all I'd think was "oh, isn't that pretty!"If it looked a bit odd (didn't match, or something) I might think "oh its probably religious" 

Maybe this came across wrong, but I actually would think the opposite.  Women who wear scarves for religious reasons tend to have pretty scarves that are perfectly coordinated to their outfits, because they wear them every day and are in the habit of choosing a scarf that goes with the rest of the clothes.    If I saw a woman in a scarf that was odd or didn't match, I'd probably assume the person was new to wearing them or didn't habitually wear them.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 11, 2013, 02:55:47 PM
I love scarves to be worn on the head, usually as headbands but alas, they like to try to slide out of my hair. :P So if it works for your hair, go for it! :)
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: MyFamily on March 11, 2013, 03:10:40 PM
I do cover my hair for religious reasons (Orthodox Jew).  Wear a scarf - seriously, we don't own the copy right to covering your hair, and if you enjoy doing it, then go for it!  I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge, in the 10 years I've been married and covering my hair, I've never been mistaken for a Muslim woman because of my hair covering (if that is your mom's concern).  I have been mistaken for a cancer patient more than once and those times were very uncomfortable for me and the person who made the mistake, even though I tried to make it as uncomfortable as possible. 

If someone objects to your choice of hair accessories, that is really their problem.  I'd tag it the same as someone who objects to body art - you don't have to like their choice, but unless they ask your opinion, you don't have the right to say anything.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: nuit93 on March 11, 2013, 03:21:11 PM
I love scarves to be worn on the head, usually as headbands but alas, they like to try to slide out of my hair. :P So if it works for your hair, go for it! :)

I usually use a bobby pin or metal hairclip to hold mine in place--I have slippery hair too!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Morty'sCleaningLady on March 11, 2013, 03:49:24 PM
Long scarves also look awesome as a belt!

Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: sweetonsno on March 11, 2013, 04:19:07 PM
I vote for moseying on over to Pinterest. There are tons (TONS!!!) of awesome pins about the different ways you can wear scarves. In my experience, it's unlikely that a scarf worn for fashion would be mistaken for one worn for religious purposes. If you're sporting a scarf as a headband, weaving it into your braid, using it as a bow, etc, it should be clear to most people that it's just a fabulous fashion accessory.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: LadyDyani on March 11, 2013, 05:12:30 PM
I currently have three scarves tied to my purse strap, and I'm wearing a lovely purple paisley "do-rag" style.  Folded into a triangle, center on my forehead, ends tied at the back of my head. 

I change out the ones on my purse to match my clothing.

Scarves are pretty.  Wear them whenever you want.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: demarco on March 11, 2013, 05:31:22 PM
I have decided that no one can leave the house and go anywhere without offending someone for some reason.  If people get offended by a scarf, it's their problem, not yours.  Wear those scarves!

I am one of those women who cannot wear a scarf  on my head, around my neck, around my waist, anywhere.  They always end up looking sloppy or falling off.   I have a lot of pretty scarves that people have given me.  What I do is tie them on my handbag strap or handle.  They stay put that way and I think it's a nice look.   
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Promise on March 11, 2013, 05:39:36 PM
Having lived in a strong Muslim area, head scarves that denote religion are obvious. They aren't worn as a fashion statement. Sure, some look nice and have fashionable patterns, but again there are specific ways they are to be worn depending on which form of Islam one follows as well as family/clan/sect/tribal connections. I think of some of my black friends who where scarves wrapped and tied on their heads. It's again obvious that it's cultural, not religious. I also know many college students (I work in a University setting) who wear scarves as a form of a statement rather than fashion. Again, it's obvious. Wear it however you like - whether religious, cultural, a statement, or because it pleases you. What others think doesn't matter unless it specifically goes against your work dress code.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: problemattic on March 11, 2013, 08:12:47 PM
I think scarves worn over the hair can look gorgeous, and if you've been doing it for a while, you're probably a pro!  When I went back to school, one of our class assignments was a demonstrative speech.  A lovely girl in my class demonstrated different ways to wear/tie/fashion scarves using a hairdresser's dummy.  All of the women in the class, ranging in age from 20-something to 50-something, were clustered so closely around the speaker she could barely move!  It was a huge hit.  Our speaker wore scarves daily, but it was not until that day that I learned that she had lost her hair due to agressive chemo.  She always looked so pretty, I just thought she was making a fashion statement.  Her health has returned now, as has her hair, but I know from her facebook photos that she's still sporting the scarves from time to time.  I say if it works for you, do it!   :D
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Sophia on March 11, 2013, 10:32:26 PM
I've never been into scarves but I did get some funny looks once.  I was in a regional poker tournament (You had to win your way in so you had to be fairly decent)  It was in a really old cavernous building built pre-A/C's in a hot area .  Overnight the temperature had plummeted to near freezing.  So, this building was cold.  I wore my pashima scarf wrapped around my head and my ears, and huddled a bit.  I noticed people looking at me funny, and wanting to ask if the scarf was religious or for warmth.  But they never could figure out how to do it. Plus, confusing people in poker is a good thing.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: scotcat60 on March 12, 2013, 07:29:02 AM
If it were not for the scarves I've worn over the years, my ears would have been frozen and dropped off. Winter can be cold here in the UK. I have not yet been taken for a grandma, a Muslim, or a cancer patient, even when I was a cancer patient. Perhaps the Englsih are more reticent about commenting on other peoples appearence, although i did have a straw hat trimmed with a yellow rose which I wore when I lost my hair admired by a passing gent.  I wear my scarves  knotted under the chin, any other way, and they fall off.

Do your thing OP, and stop worrying about other people. As demarco said, wear those scarves!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: jaxsue on March 12, 2013, 07:36:31 AM
Having lived in a strong Muslim area, head scarves that denote religion are obvious. They aren't worn as a fashion statement. Sure, some look nice and have fashionable patterns, but again there are specific ways they are to be worn depending on which form of Islam one follows as well as family/clan/sect/tribal connections. I think of some of my black friends who where scarves wrapped and tied on their heads. It's again obvious that it's cultural, not religious. I also know many college students (I work in a University setting) who wear scarves as a form of a statement rather than fashion. Again, it's obvious. Wear it however you like - whether religious, cultural, a statement, or because it pleases you. What others think doesn't matter unless it specifically goes against your work dress code.

ITA. I used to live in an area with a very large Orthodox Jewish population, and now I live in an area with a sizable Muslim population, and you won't be appearing to be part of those groups just by wearing a scarf.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: SingActDance on March 14, 2013, 10:11:10 PM
I'm glad to see the support here. To be quite honest, I first read the OP and thought "Wow, she is WAY overthinking this."

But then I was taken back to a time when I read a blog about Native American symbols and crafts being misappropriated for "fashion". The blogger was very angry about it, and I suddenly started questioning if I could wear my moccasins or beaded bracelets.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: nuit93 on March 14, 2013, 10:25:05 PM
I'm glad to see the support here. To be quite honest, I first read the OP and thought "Wow, she is WAY overthinking this."

But then I was taken back to a time when I read a blog about Native American symbols and crafts being misappropriated for "fashion". The blogger was very angry about it, and I suddenly started questioning if I could wear my moccasins or beaded bracelets.

I love the clothing on Shukr and EastEssence, but I also worry about misappropriation.  It's a tricky thing sometimes!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: scotcat60 on March 15, 2013, 03:13:17 AM
But then I was taken back to a time when I read a blog about Native American symbols and crafts being misappropriated for "fashion". The blogger was very angry about it, and I suddenly started questioning if I could wear my moccasins or beaded bracelets.

I read a letter in a magazine from an African lady who said that she had seen beads on sale as a fashion accessory, and where she came from, they were used as n aid for playing scrabble, and not the word game either.....
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Hillia on March 15, 2013, 07:21:36 AM
My personal beef is rosaries worn as necklaces.  They have a particular use/meaning, and to me it is disrespectful to use them as jewelry - kind of like people who wear second hand uniforms complete with insignia as fashion.  That's just me; I would certainly never say anything to someone wearing these items.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 15, 2013, 07:54:53 AM
My overthinking came from my mother - who is a pretty serious whackaloon at times. She told me that if I wore any scarf thing on my head, right after 9/11, that someone would think I was *one of them*. I tried to get her to define why that was a bad thing, and never did get an answer.... but then I started overthinking it.

And yes, I have the same issue with my salwar kameeze and such - if I could, I'd wear them, and ao dai, and lots of other country-specific garb (even have a couple of sarees I'd love to wear!) - but pale white girl + clothes that designate another race = ?? I'd hate to offend. I do wear the salwar kameeze occasionally - they don't fit as well as they used to - and once I'm back down a few sizes, will definitely be wearing them again. I get too many compliments not to!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: MerryCat on March 15, 2013, 11:04:46 AM
RebeccainGA, I think you'd be okay with the salwar kameeze. As someone of Indian origin, I wouldn't find it offensive. Afterall, I wear pants, skirts and other "western" clothes almost exclusively.

The problem is that some items of clothing/jewelery have a specific meaning attached to them. Crucifixes, yarmulkes, native headresses, etc all  special significance and symbolism attached to them. An outsider wearing them as just an accessory, or to be ironic, is well, pretty insulting.

I think that adopting another culture's style is okay if one takes a bit of time to research first. If the item is just an everyday article of clothing you're probably okay to wear it. It it has special significance religious or cultural significance, you might want to reconsider.

Head scarves, unlike the examples above, are not strongly identified with any one culture. Lots of cultures have worn head scarves for a variety of reasons from the religious to the mundane, so I think OP should be fine to wear them.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: gellchom on March 16, 2013, 05:55:47 PM
I think this is an interesting discussion.  You are very sensitive to wonder if it is toward the "rosary as necklace" end of the continuum, and I agree, it's not -- you are fine to wear your scarf.

I too have a sari and a salwar kameez that I would love to wear, but it does sort of feel like being a wannabe.  I've worn the salwar kameez a couple of times, though.  But I wouldn't add a bindi.

I had a similar experience to Sophia's last summer in Berlin.  I was walking through a park and it started to rain lightly.  I was wearing a very big scarf, so I just put it over my head and threw the ends over my shoulders.  After a while, I noticed people were looking at me a bit -- not unkindly, but just noticing me -- I wasn't "invisible" as I had been before I put the scarf over my head.  When I finally saw my reflection, I saw I had worn like a Muslim woman. 

That was a very good learning experience for me -- walking a mile in someone else's shoes (well, scarf).
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: weeblewobble on March 17, 2013, 04:02:37 PM
Personally, when I see someone in a headscarf, I tend to think that person may be ill or going through chemotherapy way before my brain lands on religious speculation.  I certainly wouldn't judge them one way or the other.  Wear what makes you comfortable.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: jaxsue on March 18, 2013, 11:28:33 AM
Growing up, it was common to see women wearing scarves, but it was the fashion and not connected in any way to ethnicity/religion. Women my age (40s-50s) don't seem to wear scarves much anymore. I don't assume a woman wears a scarf for religious reasons unless she is wearing it "that way." But even then it doesn't make me pause. I live in a very diverse community now and it isn't even a blip on my radar.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 18, 2013, 01:52:12 PM
I wish I could wear my pretty scarves over my hair, but I end up looking like my babushka no matter how I wear it.  I stick to hats and wear my scarves as belts on occasion.

OP, let your fashionista loose!
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: jaxsue on March 18, 2013, 04:39:58 PM
I wish I could wear my pretty scarves over my hair, but I end up looking like my babushka no matter how I wear it.  I stick to hats and wear my scarves as belts on occasion.

OP, let your fashionista loose!

I can relate. I've been given some absolutely beautiful scarves (from Pakistan, India). I have no idea how to wear them.  :-\
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: MerryCat on March 18, 2013, 06:03:03 PM
I wish I could wear my pretty scarves over my hair, but I end up looking like my babushka no matter how I wear it.  I stick to hats and wear my scarves as belts on occasion.

OP, let your fashionista loose!

I can relate. I've been given some absolutely beautiful scarves (from Pakistan, India). I have no idea how to wear them.  :-\

I had this problem too, so in the end I gave away all my scarves. But recently I found this link (http://www.tznius.com/cgi-bin/tying.pl) from the Long Hair Community with step-by-step instructions to several different headscarf styles. This thread is making me want to go out and buy some more scarves to experiment with now.
Title: Re: Scarves on head - non-religious
Post by: Sharnita on March 18, 2013, 09:46:08 PM
My personal beef is rosaries worn as necklaces.  They have a particular use/meaning, and to me it is disrespectful to use them as jewelry - kind of like people who wear second hand uniforms complete with insignia as fashion.  That's just me; I would certainly never say anything to someone wearing these items.

Yeah, I used to try to plain to students why doing so might bother people they encounteres but it is so common that I just gave up.