What Are the Different Types of Hijab Designs?

Lainie Petersen

Hijab designs vary by culture, the context in which they are worn, and the personal preferences of the woman who wears them. At their simplest, hijabs are scarves of various shapes and sizes that are worn over the head. Other hijab designs are more elaborate and may incorporate a separate or attached hood or may require the use of hijab pins to stay in place. Some hijab designs reflect the specific needs of the women who wear them, such as tight-fitting sports hijabs made of special fabrics that can wick moisture away from a woman's head or keep her warm in cold weather.

Two women wearing burqas.
Two women wearing burqas.

There are several different hijab designs that are easily achieved through the careful draping and pinning of a headscarf. Some women may simply wear a scarf that is draped over the head or tied loosely around the throat. Although this style may reveal some of a woman's hair, it is nonetheless acceptable in many communities. Women who are more concerned about modesty may wear an underscarf or cap to contain their hair and then tie or drape a scarf over their heads, pinning it so that it covers their necks and clavicles. For the sake of convenience, some hijab designs, such as the Mona hijab or one-piece al-amira hijab, attach an elasticized hood to a scarf. This helps prevent the scarf and under-covering from separating.

A woman in a khimar.
A woman in a khimar.

Women who want additional coverage may choose to wear a khimar, which is a hood-like head covering that can be altered to cover much of the upper half of its wearer's body. The design of the khimar is such that a woman must wear an additional under-covering so as to prevent exposure of her hair. The use of under-caps and scarves can also allow a woman to experiment more with color, as she can mix and match different colored under-caps with her headscarves.

Some garments traditionally worn by Muslim women provide both coverage for the head as well as the rest of the body. These garments include the abaya, which is a long cloak that often has an attached hood; the chador, which is a large wrap that covers the wearer's head and body; and the burqa, which covers the head, face, and at least the upper half of its wearer's body. As with the khimar, women who wear the abaya or chador usually wear an additional headscarf as well, as these garments don't fit snugly around the head and neck, leaving these areas exposed.

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