Ask Barbara – Headscarves

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Helen asked on Twitter, “Headscarves. A bit too ‘old lady’ to be ‘young lady’ or acceptable for biking?”

What an excellent question Helen, I’m so pleased you asked.

As you can see, I am a fan of the old headscarf and I’ll tell you a few reasons why.

On hairdressing day, which in my world generally coincides with the worst rain and wind of the month, a headscarf is a Godsend even on the short journey to and from the salon from the car. I don’t know about you but I invariably hesitate about whether to ‘do’ my hair on hairdressing day. Is double the amount of washing and styling healthy for my bonce? I am not convinced. I have a range of scarves for such an occasion. Of course, one could always opt for a hat on days of follicle distress but then there is the issue of getting hat hair on the way home *shudder*.

On days out in my husband’s open top car, I like nothing more than to imagine I am a film star from a 1950′s Hollywood great. I close my eyes, feel the sunshine on my face and daydream. A headscarf assists this delusion no end. Nobody wants to be Bridget Jones on her first mini break with that toe rag Daniel Glover. Don’t get me started on him.

We must never pigeon hole a headscarf! Headscarves are versatile items that can double up as a pocket square in a smart jacket or a jaunty neck scarf in the summer. I can imagine either option would work well on a bicycle ride.

If I can put my Practical Hat on for a moment, another important point is that they are small and easy to store away. They take up hardly any room at all so why not buy them in a few different colours? I live in an exceptionally small cottage with barely any storage and this is one of their all time redeeming qualities.

One final word of warning though Helen, I have come to the conclusion that headscarves and rainhoods are not the same thing at all. I was looking at rainhoods in the supermarket the other day and after a period of contemplation I think rainhoods are most certainly too ‘old lady’ to be ‘young lady’. Although you can’t doubt they have their practical uses…


If you have a question you’d like to ask Barbara, pop it in an email to hello {at} life of barbara {dot} com or tweet me like Helen did.

Posted in: Ask Barbara


  1. Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Fascinating. You have definitely sold the headscarf to me.

  2. Christian Ward
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Just think of all the headscarves you’ll be able to fit into your new cupboard.
    Damn, I mentioned the cupboard.

  3. Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Oh Barbara….yet another little gem x

  4. Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Also – silk headscarves are perfect for keeping your hair looking nice and sleek post hair do if the weather is awful (though not raining) as you leave I hear! Now I need to get up the guts to wear one (I used to wear them all the time when I was about eighteen/nineteen and carried them off but now feel I would look silly – you only look silly if you feel silly though)

  5. Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I love seeing people in headscarves! But how do you tie them properly? When I’ve tried before it either falls off or I feel like I’m getting strangled!

    • Barbara
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      This is a very good point. I think it’s a case of trial and error. Some fabrics hold their knots much more easily than others. Silky fabrics risk sliding around compared to cotton ones.

  6. Posted March 1, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Not in the same style league I grant you, but I myself have been known to wear a rainhood in especially inclement weather. No, really.. When I’m working I have my hair slicked back a la 1930s and heavy rain can really be a problem when unloading my equipment at a gig. The hood of my mackintosh musses my hair too much so I favour the transparent, foldaway rainhood. Thoughts, dear Barbara?

    • Barbara
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      I have pondered this for some time, Simon.

      The only conclusion that I can come to is one of open applause. Only a real man would have the foresight to use a rain hood in these circumstances. Bravo!

  7. Posted March 1, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I am a huge fan of the headscarf/neck scarf and have been known to wear them on several occasions, I have an array on lovely vintage ones!

    Lovely blog post Babs… can I call you that or is that too familiar?


    • Barbara
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Babs is fine by me x

  8. Jane Packard
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Shall I go for plain or horsey headscarves? Would love your opinion Barbara.

    • Barbara
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Either, or, or both! Probably not at the same time, but I’m not one to judge.

  9. Sharon Gilmour
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh the glamour of a headscarf tied a la Grace Kelly, over the head back round the neck and tied at the front, preferably whilst driving along in a Figaro but I will have to make do with my convertible Volvo!

    • Barbara
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I’m also still dreaming about my Figaro, Sharon x

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