In the last post on covering my hair, I wrote about my sheitels. One thing I mentioned is when I wear my sheitels: When I’m going somewhere and want to blend in; when my husband is around; or if I’m just feeling like it. To use a pie chart, here’s how it breaks down (the units are measured in hours per week):
Since 13 or so of those hours of sheitel-wearing are on Shabbos, during the week it really feels like I don’t wear my sheitels all that often. I’m not wearing one right now. Right now, I’m wearing a comfy, floppy, easy-to-put-on hat. That’s my go-to head covering for the morning, the evening, and whenever I just don’t want to put a whole lot of effort into it.
There are certain segments of Orthodox Jewry that do not wear sheitels at all, for various reasons. So they wear other things. I chose four hair coverings that are the most prevalent in my circles. Here they are:
The word snood has been around since about 725 CE, and they have been in and out of fashion throughout history, making a resurgence in the mid-18oos and again during the Second World War.
Basically, it’s a circle of fabric with an elastic band all the way around the opening. Netted, tatted, knitted, crocheted, or knotted, they typically have a woven appearance. They can be snug to the head, or hang down a little bit. Because we want them to cover our hair, snoods worn by Orthodox ladies will have a lining in them.
These are exceptionally easy to throw on, and are the epitome of comfort. You don’t need to tie them or anything. Simply pull your hair back into a ponytail bun, pop on a snood and you’re ready to head out the door.
I wore snoods more when I was newly married, but my style and preferences have evolved so that I don’t wear them much anymore (no offense to snoods). However, any place where there are lots of frum ladies, there will be at least one snood. Guaranteed.
(historical info from Snood(headgear) at Wikipedia)
Also known as mitpachot (Hebrew), they can be square, rectangular, and even triangular. Most of my tichels happen to be square, which is a great shape for tying a “classic” tichel (see video below on what that is). However, if I want to be a little fancier, or pretend to be a little Sephardi, I will choose a rectangular tichel, which I can tie in a more elegant manner.
You may remember Rivka Malka from her Women Who Inspire Us post a while back. Well, she is an expert tichel-wearer, and on her website, rivkamalka.com, she has a number of video tutorials on how to tie tichels in fabulous, beautiful ways. I even got to participate in one, “The Classic,” which was appropriate as it’s the way I nearly always wear my tichels.
Tichels take a slightly higher amount of effort to put on, and so I will don one when I feel like investing an extra couple of minutes in my appearance. When I do take that time, it’s a great feeling, one of elegance, grace, and a distinctly Jewish style.
The downside of tichels is that when some hair starts sneaking out, it’s a little trickier to adjust them. Also, when I tie them tightly enough that they stay in place, it can be a bit tight. When they are tied too loosely, they slip back. So it’s a matter of finding the right balance. Sometimes I wear a band (a wide stretchy headband like this) underneath the tichel, which helps keep it on a little more securely, and can also jazz it up.
These can range from super-fancy (think royal wedding) to super-simple. I have seen some gorgeous hats on Shabbos, which, if I weren’t a sheitel-on-Shabbos kind of girl, I would love to rock one of those fancy hats. Mostly, I opt for simple hats.
For me, hats function exactly like a snood. I put my hair up in a pony bun, throw on a hat and I’m done. What I like about hats is that I feel like they have a little more personality and pizzazz than a snood, and give me a slightly more polished look without any extra effort. Also, hats are a more subtle way of covering one’s hair, less obvious than a snood or tichel.
I’ve had success finding hats at H&M as well as at Target. The only downside with buying a hat at Target is that it’s likely everyone else will have thought the hat was cute, too, and bought it, and then I’m wearing the same hat as 100 other frum ladies in Baltimore. I don’t like that, so even though Target has some cute hats, I usually pass on the purchase.
These are a relatively new trend (within the last four-five years, I think). Basically, it’s a tichel which is, wait for it, pre-tied. There’s a little elastic strip sewn in the back, and two (or three, depending) little tails that you can tie. Or not. I prefer to tie them. What’s nice about them is that they are as easy to put on as a hat, though they usually fit much more snugly, and hug the shape of the head.
I haven’t had the best success in finding ones that I find flattering. If they’re too small, it’s like my face is gargantuan and they constantly slip back. If they’re too big, I feel like it looks sloppy and dwarfs my head. So, I have one that I will readily put on, and a couple that I will grudgingly wear. However, many of my friends look fine in pre-tieds, so it must be me, or my head, or something.
Like a snood and tichel, they are a distinctly Jewish hair covering, and I don’t think anyone but Orthodox ladies wear these.
To Sum Up
Those are some choices of non-sheitel hair-coverings. Of course, if none of those are your style, you could always go for something like this:
What’s your preferred non-sheitel hair covering choice?