5. Attention to accessories
What better way to make a style statement than to accessorise! Vintage pins and feathered bands are a quick, easy and cheap way to add style to the scarves you already have. These work best on the classic Emirati black shaylas made of a soft, flowy material. The finished look is perfect for plain abayas. Rabia says, "The best accessories are lovely brooches as they add a touch of glamour while holding slippery scarves in place. As a designer, I have creatively used many different things to accessorise, such as jewellery, necklaces, huge crystal brooches used for bags, in addition to headbands, silk flowers, antique trims and customised pins. This look is a safe alternative for women who don't want to match scarves to outfits." Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

The horizontal rainbow of scarves sits prettily on one shelf in her wardrobe. Some hang from a rod fixed to a door. On last count, Hasheera S. had 150 headscarves, except for a minor problem — she knew only one way to drape them.

“I’d like more variation in the way I wear the hijab, especially because the mummy wrap tends to get a bit boring at times,” says Hasheera, a 24-year-old aeronautical engineer residing in Sharjah.

Pictures: Top ways to drape your hijab

Hasheera is not the only hijabi to face this dilemma. She represents one of countless Muslim women who every day seek style solutions for their modest dressing needs, looking to drape a fine line between the desire to be stylish while abiding by Islamic traditions.

Enter Rabia Z., a Dubai-based fashion designer who specialises in conservative-chic ensembles. Rabia is aware of this trend she faced a similar battle as a modern hijabi looking to fit in the US’ fashion mainstream. For Rabia, the answer was to launch her signature shaylas for the woman who dares to drape. This earned the designer an opportunity to be the first Muslim woman to showcase her creations at this year’s Miami Fashion Week, among other laurels.

“There is certainly a trend in women choosing more stylish hijabs now, more than before,” says Rabia. “When I first started wearing a hijab, there were no stylish hijabs, just as there was no stylish modest clothing. But I am happy to say that we have managed to change that.”

tabloid! went ‘undercover’ with Rabia to unveil the top styles to drape your hijab this season, as modelled beautifully by Hannan. Follow the easy steps and before you know it, yours will be the most stylish shayla around.

Face up to the facts

Wide, long and narrow face shapes should opt for a hijab which adds volume to their face. Shaylas and wraps generally suit most women, depending on how high or low these are placed on the forehead. Steer clear of triangular hijabs - they do not suit everyone.


  • Use a cotton base band under the scarf to allow the scalp to breathe.
  • Add volume to your hijab with a flower clip under the base band.
  • Try new colours and experiment with different prints.
  • Use accessories.
  • Ask friends and family for advice on what suits you best.
  • Choose colours that complement your skin tone.
  • Have at least one each of a black, jewel-tone and neutral scarf.


  • Go over the top with heavily-embellished shaylas, unless it’s a special occasion.
  • Wear synthetic fabric hijabs; it can cause hair loss.
  • Wear silk shaylas without a cotton base wrap; it will constantly slip off your head.
  • Layer on many shaylas; it gets hot and makes it seem as if you are trying too hard!