Miss Petaluma On…That’s a Wrap


A black women could never look more regal then with a head wrap.  For the majority of us, it’s just a nocturnal love affair.  A way to keep our hair smooth and intact and avoid a bird’s-nest hat day.  For me headwraps are earthy, Nubian and practical.  A link back to an ancient hairstyle still worn to this day throughout the African Diaspora.  I think of Nomadic women in Northern Africa, my Ghanaian best-friend’s aunty resplendent in a gold Gele, my mum’s dabbles in the Rastafarian bobo wrap in her teens and the vividity of my features, when my hair is washed and tidied a way under a towel.

How to wear fashionably

African American Women in the 19th Century

Crown-like Gele

As you may remember, last summer I started the process of growing out my hair relaxer and going back to my natural afro hair.  Well I’m pleased to say I chopped the last of it off last weekend and have been enjoying my short, ‘nappy’ twists ever since and love it.  However, the pressure of weekly 2 hour twisting sessions is somewhat daunting and I think, this summer the ‘head tie’, as we say in Jamaican, steps up the style stakes.  It’s just so versatile.  You can fan it out, make it tall, wear it Moorish, low and round or even just wrap the front of your hair.  In all, it will look both exotic bohemian and glamorous crown.

For me, the head wrap signifies ethnicity and pride, a link across generations, classes and geographical boundaries.  Yet, for my non-African ladies you too can rock this look – just think of 40s turbans and Joan Collins in Dynasty.  In fact, fashion has had a long love affair with headwraps.  Not so long ago, the chicest fashionistas pined for a Prada turban.  In fact up until the mid 20th century Western women wore turbans as frequently as hats.  As for West Indians, well the national dress of Jamaica is topped off with one and I’ve never seen author Zadie Smith or The Kids Company’s Camila Batmanghelidjh out of one.  So, I’m going for floral, stripy and tribal print architectural crowns this summer.  My only rule is to avoid fringing, tassels play havoc with the old eyesight.

Here’s some of my favourites…happy wrapping:

Go Tyra

Speaking of Tyra, here's a headscarf shoot from ANTM

Charitable headscarf enthusiast Camila

Zadie Smith

Headscarves on the runway

Christian Lacroix Show

THAT Prada Turban

it's inspiration

Miss Lou in Jamaican national dress

Nomadic headwrap and those dreaded tassels

block colour

stunning crown

80s turban

Miss Campbell for iD

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