Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to wrap a head scarf 1940s style

I have very thick hair and can get away with washing it every three days or so. Because of this, when I'm traveling I'm super lazy about my hair. On day one I'll style it, but after that its ponytail and top knot city for me. If I don't have room to pack a hat, I like to bring a silk scarf. The scarf becomes a great multi-functional accessory. I use it to decorate my handbag, as a belt, and to cover my hair in the place of a hat.

I love the look of the women in the 1940s so I was very happy to figure out how they used to tie scarfs around their head. Rosie the Riveter comes to mind, yes? The women working in factories like Rosie had to tie their hair back so it didn't get damaged or cause an accident in the machinery. With only two bobby pins to secure the scarf on the head it stays in place surprisingly well. I never feel like it is going to fall off, even in a gust of wind. I can see how useful this style was for those hard working ladies (and its much more glamorous than a hair net!). I don't like copying the past exactly and style my by tucking the ends under and leaving my hair straight and parted to the side. I like to show my ears and front of my hair, I think it makes it look more contemporary.

Whenever I wear my hair like this I get two types of comments. From women, "You look like the lady from the 'We can do it!' poster. How did you tie the scarf?" Then they move in closer for a better look. Men will say, "You look like one of those 1940s pin-ups." If I'm with Gman they look at him while they are talking. Of course both comments goes straight to my head. Who doesn't want to feel like a woman, in either case, who conjures up beauty and strength?

After many requests on how to tie the scarf, here is a step by step guide. If you are thinking, "Jamie, come on, I can't pull that off." You can! Try wearing it with something you would anyways: a gray t-shirt, jeans, and ballet flats.

What you'll need:
hair tie
standard size silk scarf (36" x 36")
two bobby pins

1. Pull your hair back with the hair tie in a loose knot at the back of your head. The placement of your hair will determine where the bulge of the scarf is at completion. If the knot is too tight or high the scarf will look uncomfortable on.

2. Fold the scarf into a triangle. Put the long side of the triangle against the nape of your neck so that you can bring the long sides up together at the top of your head.

3. Tie the long sides together once at the top of your head.

4. Bring the third side of the triangle up over your hair to meet the other two at the top.

5. Pull the long sides tight so that it securely wraps around the bottom of your head and hair. If it isn't tight enough your hair will fall out of the back. Then tie them together a second time with the short side of the triangle pulled through the center of the knot.

6 and 7. Secure the sides of the scarf to your head with one bobby pin on each side.

8. Tuck the third side of the triangle (the one that came up from the back) underneath the knot.

9. Remove the bobby pin on one side, tuck the tied end of the fabric underneath the scarf and re-pin. Repeat on the other side.

10. Volia! You're done! Once you do this a few times you can do it blindly without a mirror, like I did for you here. :)


  1. Too cute! I really have always wondered how they kept it so secure!

  2. love it - saving this one for the beach. would love to see you do on on kind of the 40's/50's style turband headband thing - ie. similar but back of head is exposed - help a girl out? :)


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