Accessories Fashion

How to Wear A Turban: The Alternative to Hats, Caps and Bad Hair Days

By Chantal Brocca

You know you want to try them. They’re chic, they’re handy, and they hide the worst of bad hair days: turbans. Want to team them with old overalls and printed trainers? Sure, you’re still chic. Your mom’s discarded clothes from the 80’s? That’s chique with a Q. And just in time to prove my point, the streets of Paris were littered with them this Fashion Week. Perhaps I simply didn’t notice them before, but once I zoned into this trend, it seemed like they appeared in the unlikeliest of places (the duty free section at the airport for one – almighty home of corporate perfumes and sweatpants).

You all have eyes, and know that Western fashion in particular has tended to borrow an interesting variety of styles from many different cultures all over the world, starting way back before photography was even thinkable. Clearly, turbans were originally a practical and religious garment for many Eastern civilizations. Different colours, patterns and fabrics denoted country of origin as indelibly tied to traditional ceremonies, as well as status and level of education.

When entering the realm of fashion fads however, they were donned and revived by a certain couple of fashion icons such as Marie Antoinette, and more recently and enduringly, Paul Poiret, lover of all things mille et une nuits and the man we can thank for that elusive feeling of luxe associated to the now timeless turban.

During the World Wars, hats, the de rigueur fashion item of the day, were apparently tough to find, so women improvised their own headgear with strips of cloth. Et voila, the turban became chic again in Europe.

Fast forward a couple of decades and we see the turban as glorified evening wear, elegant beachwear, and staple for the adventurous traveller to far off lands. What your grandma used to wear and now enigmatic street wear. In Paris, it was on the heads of Muslim girls swapping up their hijab for a little change as well as those of the new cultural omnivores of the anti commercial fashion regime, sipping their wines outside popular bars in the North Eastern side of the city.

How To Wear A Turban

Over time, turbans have evolved to incorporate a wider glossary of shapes than the one that immediately comes to mind in line with changes in hair trends for women (tall turbans were a practical must before hair got cropped short in the 20’s), as well as the different types of turbans from different cultures.

My tips? A bit of hair at the front should be peeking out. You can choose to tuck your hair inside or not, but if you do, you may give off a religious vibe. Which is fine. Personally, I love the messy, Boho look – unbrushed hair crowned by a gorgeously decadent turban, perched high on the forehead for that Nefertitti vibe. If you’re standing before a turban totally miffed at how it’s going to go with your current wardrobe of jeans and crop tops, just DARE. And not only when you seriously need a trip to the hairdresser. It’s going to work for you. Just don’t wear it to the cinema or the person behind you just might cut you.

Can’t find a turban where you live? Try these online shops below, or better yet, get a long, narrow scarf and follow the tips in the videos above on how to tie up a turban. Easier than you think! Pin with a vintage brooch and channel the vintage model of your choice: Marlene Dietrich in the 40s, Twiggy in the 60s, the Yves St Laurent clique in the 70s, or Parisian trendsetters right now.

Madame Ilary Couture

For the coolest turbans in town. Each expertly, ethically crafted turban is completely handmade from organic cotton, naturally dyed, and chances are, you’ll never bump into someone wearing the same headgear. Win.


The anchor company of fairly green luxury group Kering, Gucci is bringing us turbans galore made from quality, pure silk and Merino wool – and they are killing it. Noble, pure, natural materials and retro designs: no wonder these are a global sell out. And as we all know from their recent collections, once you go 70’s you never go back.

Dee Di Vita

If you’re feeling beautiful oversized dahlia blooms, Dee Di Vita brings you vibrance in a number of charming silk pieces – the result of a humanitarian project between Mantero, Italy, and the San Raffaele Hospital’s psychological and social support project ‘Salute Allo Specchio.’ The ‘Vita’ turban is the beautiful creation of the women undergoing cancer treatment at the facility.


Whoa! Unexpected cuteness attack. Baby girls look ADORABLE in turbans. Even cuter? Designs come in organic cotton and in adult size – meaning you can play mommy and mini me. This is why I should have children.


Pre-loved Christian Dior? Designer pleating? That intoxicating sense of nostalgia for a time we never got to experience directly? And in emerald or ruby, no less. Don’t stress, there isn’t just one. Get that vintage.

La Petite Mort

This Peruvian beauty promotes the beauty of alpaca fibre, a natural resource of her native Peru’s heritage and culture, used in knits by many of the world’s most luxurious brands for its incredibly soft, silky touch. Well, specifically baby alpaca, the name given to the naturally softer fur found on the back – produced ethically from start to finish and twirled into the softest turbans that’ll ever grace your head.


Ok, so these are scarves. But what scarves! Gorgeously made from light weight peace silk and natural dyes, embellished with healing crystals and embroidered with positive affirmations. All made ethically in Cambodia. They’re basically the most perfect scarves. And they’re perfect for styling these turban looks yourself, below.

Main image: Dee Di Vita. All images: from the brands

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