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15 Ways to Wear a Keffiyeh & Shemagh (PHOTOS)

The Kufiya, also known around the world as “keffiyeh”, “shemagh” and “hatta”, is a traditional Arabic scarf recognizable as a wrapped headdress often featuring the iconic checkered pattern. The Palestinian keffiyeh scarf holds significant symbolic value for millions of Palestinians as a wearable symbol of resistance, freedom and independence in Palestine. 

How to Tie a Keffiyeh: 15 Ways to Wear a Keffiyeh & Shemagh

The Keffiyeh is different from the Shemagh as a more casual garment. Whereas the “tactical” shemagh is more often woven with thicker cotton and wool fibres, the Keffiyeh has a lighter, less reinforced material for its purpose as a daily headdress.

A Symbol of Support & Freedom to Palestine

The Arabic head scarf has since gained tremendous popularity worldwide as a statement of support to the Palestinian people in their ongoing political struggle.

With the help of online e-commerce solutions and the power of social media, the purchasing of original Palestinian keffiyehs has become a gateway to supporting local Palestinian clothing and businesses from abroad.

How to Tie a Keffiyeh or Shemagh scarf

As people share photos of themselves wearing the Keffiyeh scarf from around the world, it carries the message of Palestine’s strong identity. As such, we thought we’d help educate our international supporters on how to wear the iconic Palestinian Keffiyeh. Below are detailed instructions on how to tie a Keffiyeh in 15 different styles.

Classic Keffiyeh Neck Wrap

The trendiest way to wear the Keffiyeh Palestinian scarf is a loose wrap around the neck and chest. This is a quick and effortless look that is easy to combine with any casual outfit.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Pull the Kufiya over the lower half of your face.
    Your neck should be covered, and both ends of the Kufiya should be of equal length.
  3. Knot both ends together around the back of your neck.
  4. Place the ends of the Kufiya in front and let the tassels hang over your chest.
    Make the necessary adjustments and pull down the portion of the Kufiya that’s covering the lower half of your face below your chin, letting it snuggly wrap around your neck.

Tidy Keffiyeh Neck Wrap

How to Tie a Keffiyeh: Tidy Keffiyeh Neck Wrap
Keffiyeh shown: Inverted Hirbawi® Kufiya

If you’re looking for an alternative style to wearing the Keffiyeh as a scarf, try this popular option. The tidy Keffiyeh neck wrap will elevate your outfit while keeping your neck nice and warm.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Cover the lower half of your face and pull the ends of the Keffiyeh to the back of your neck.
  3. Without tying them, wrap the ends of the Keffiyeh around your neck.
    Bring both sides back around to the front and cross them over at the back of your neck. For this particular wrapping style, the two ends of the Keffiyeh should only cross over once and should be positioned over your chest.
  4. Tie both ends under your chin.
    Hide the excess fabric under the remaining corner of the Kufiya. If you’re wearing a jacket, blazer, or coat, you can tuck in your Keffiyeh underneath the top collar. Make the necessary adjustments by tugging down the Kufiya underneath your chin, snuggly wrapping around your neck.

Traditional Head & Face Wrapped Keffiyeh

How to Tie a Keffiyeh: Traditional Head & Face Wrapped Keffiyeh
Keffiyeh shown: Shami Hirbawi® Kufiya

The classic hatta headdress style was commonly worn by the protesting and freedom-loving Palestinian youth. If you want to use your Keffiyeh to shield your face from the sun or cold winds, this tying method is an excellent option for you to try.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Keffiyeh into a triangle.
    Spread the Keffiyeh open, and match one corner with the opposite corner to fold the square-shaped scarf into a triangle.
  2. Drape the fabric over your forehead.
    Position the folded edge of the Keffiyeh between your eyebrows and your hairline and pull it over your forehead.  Let the excess material run over the top of your head and down the back, and make sure both ends of the Kufiya are of equal length.
  3. Take the right side of the Keffiyeh and wrap it under your chin.
    After it goes under the chin, pull it towards the back of your head, and hold it in place to prevent loosening the wrap.
  4. Take the left side of the Keffiyeh and wrap it over your face.
    Pull it across your face towards the right side, covering your nose and mouth. Then pull it towards the back and hold it in place.
  5. Tie both ends.
    Now that both the right and left ends are held in place at the back of your head, you can tie them firmly together. You can double the knot to keep the Kufiya secure. Make sure that you don’t wrap your Keffiyeh too tightly either so you can move and breathe easily.
  6. Make the final adjustments.
    Adjust the Keffiyeh so that the garment covers the top of your head, your chin, nose, and mouth without disturbing your eyes.

Tactical Head & Face Wrap Keffiyeh

If you’re going to a place with lots of dust, sand, or debris, then you might want to wrap your Keffiyeh this way to shield your face from the elements. This robust wrapping style offers even more protection in harsh environments compared to the traditional or casual face wrapping style.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Keffiyeh into a triangle.
  2. Drape the Keffiyeh over your forehead.
    Position it between your eyebrows and your hairline. The right end should be longer than the left, so position it around three-quarters from the highest point of your head.
  3. Wrap the shorter end of the Keffiyeh under your chin.
    Pull it towards the back of your head and hold it in place.
  4. Wrap the longer end across your face to cover your nose and mouth.
  5. Pull it up and over the top of your head, meeting the end of the other side.
  6. Tie both ends together.
    You can knot the ends twice to secure the Keffiyeh in place. Make any necessary final adjustments to ensure that the top of your head and the lower half of your face is concealed properly and that the Keffiyeh is wrapped loosely enough to allow for comfortable movement and breathing.

Emirati Ghutra Traditional Head Wrap

How to Tie a Keffiyeh: Emirati Ghutra Traditional Head wrap
Keffiyeh shown: Majdal Hirbawi® Kufiya

Known also as the “ghutra” in the gulf, this traditional keffiyeh style can also be worn with a black agal ring to keep it in place. The ghutra is a tidy and formal wrapping style that offers complete coverage and protection for your head.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Take the folded side of the Kufiya and make another fold.
    Fold the longer side of the Kufiya inwards, about 1/3 to half the width of the entire triangle.
  3. Place the Kufiya on top of your head with the edge just right above your eyebrows.
    Let the ends of the Kufiya fall over your chest. Adjust so that both sides are equal.
  4. Twirl both sides.
  5. Pull one side to the back then wrap it over your forehead.
    Tuck the end of the Kufiya in a corner to secure it. Do the same for the other side. Make the necessary adjustments to achieve the right fit.

Keffiyeh with Agal, Arafat Style

This elegant ghutra keffiyeh style is in fact quite simple and features a black agal that holds the headdress in place. This style is most prominent in the Gulf and the traditional nobility in the Middle East. Worn especially by Arab leaders, business figures, and local elders, as a sign of virtue, and honour towards Arabic heritage. 

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Place the folded edge Kufiya on top of your head and let it run down your back.
    You can also let it run down your shoulders and chest if you prefer.
  3. Pull down the Agal in place.
    Adjust as needed, the bottom of the Agal should ideally be aligned to your hairline with just enough distance from your eyebrows.

Tight-Wrapped “Bandana” Keffiyeh

How to Tie a Keffiyeh: Tight Bandana Keffiyeh
Via our Instagram: Supporter submissions.

This style is another great way to protect yourself from colder, or dustier, environments by covering up your nose and mouth with the Keffiyeh.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Pull it over your face and hold it in place at the back of your head.
  3. Without tying, pull both ends and wrap them around the back of the neck to the front.
  4. Pull the ends to the back and tie them together.
    Adjust as needed to move and breathe easily.

Casual Shoulder Wrap Keffiyeh

One of the simplest and most casual ways to wear a Kufiya is to just wear it over your shoulders– No need for any wrapping or tying! This is a great option to try if you’re looking to conceal your shoulders and upper arms, and show off the intricate pattern and colour of the keffiyeh you’re wearing.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Pull one end of the Kufiya around your back to the other side.
    Position the folded edge of the Kufiya right behind your neck.
  3. Place both ends of the Kufiya in front and let it run down your shoulders and over your chest.
    Make the necessary adjustments to match the length of both sides.

Simple Scarf Keffiyeh Style

A Kufiya can even be worn as a simple scarf! If you want to use the Keffiyeh scarf more as a subtle accent or to simply add a pop of colour to your outfit, try out this quick and easy neck wrap style!

How to Wear:

  1. Grip and squeeze the horizontal sides of the Kufiya together.
  2. Position the Kufiya behind your neck.
    Divide it so that one length is longer than the other.
  3. Pull one end of the Kufiya and let it run down your chest.
  4. Take the longer side and wrap it in front of your neck and down the back of your shoulder. 
    Make the necessary adjustments.

Loose Head Wrap Keffiyeh

A simpler way to wear the Keffiyeh around your head. This style provides a secure and tight fit that lasts longer without unravelling, whilst still achieving the casual, laid-back look.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Drape the Kufiya on top of your head with the folded edge positioned tight above your eyebrows.
    Position one side to be at least ⅓ longer than the other side. Hold the shorter side in place at the back of your head.
  3. Wrap the longer side over your head.
    Hold it in place at the back of your head next to the other end of the Kufiya.
  4. Cross both ends of the Kufiya and bring them to the front.
    Let the remaining fabric drop down your chest. Adjust as needed.

Flowy Headdress Keffiyeh

Another alternative for a loose and casual wrapping style for the Keffiyeh as a headdress. If you’re looking to properly show off the beautiful and intricate patterns of your Kufiya, this would be a great option to try.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Drape the Kufiya on top of your head.
    Position so that one length is longer than the other side. Let the shorter side hang over your chest.
  3. Wrap the longer side over the lower half of your face.
    Pull the end to the back. Adjust as needed, you may also tug down the garment to expose your nose and mouth.

Poncho Shoulder Wrap Keffiyeh

A more secure and snug alternative to the simple shoulder wrap made especially for the outdoors. The keffiyeh is worn in a poncho style to protect the neck and back from the aggressive desert heat, and chilling evening breeze. This hatta style is best paired with a fashionable hat or cap.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Drape the Kufiya over your shoulders.
    The folded edge of the garment should be positioned right behind your neck. One side should be slightly longer than the other.
  3. Take the longer side and throw it over the opposite shoulder.
    Adjust as needed. To achieve the asymmetrical look, lower the longer side to increase the coverage.

Cross Wrap Mantle Keffiyeh

This style gives a sleeker look to the Keffiyeh scarf, with a subtle display at the front and a beautiful flow down the back.

How to Wear:

  1. Grip and squeeze the horizontal sides of the Kufiya together.
  2. Position the Kufiya behind your neck.
    Make sure both sides are equal.
  3. Pull both ends of the Kufiya and cross them over your neck.
    Throw the remaining fabric toward the back. Adjust as needed.

V-shaped Shoulder Wrap Keffiyeh

This wrap is one of our personal favourites, and a rarely utilized style. The V-shaped style is a beautiful way to make your Palestinian Keffiyeh the highlight of your outfit. By stretching the scarf across the full chest area you get to display all the patterns, stitching and tassels of your Keffiyeh in the front, as well as a secure wrap in the back that will last all day long.

How to Wear:

  1. Fold the Kufiya into a triangle.
  2. Drape the Kufiya over your shoulders.
    Position the centre end of the triangle in the middle.
  3. Tie both ends at the back of your neck.
    Adjust as needed.

Loose Head and Shoulders Cloak Keffiyeh

A classy and graceful style of wearing the keffiyeh as a cloak, for those seeking a gentle way to protect their head and accentuate their hair. This loose headdress is easily adjustable and gives your head and shoulders just the right coverage and protection!

How to Wear:

  1. Drape the Kufiya over your head.
    Position so that both ends are of equal length.
  2. Take one side and throw it over the opposite shoulder.
    As you are pulling the garment to the other side, make sure it is loose enough to allow the garment to hang loosely over your shoulders. Adjust as needed.

The Keffiyeh Spreads the Message

Across the Middle East, and the rest of the world, the Palestinian Keffiyeh scarves are worn in a variety of ways and fashions. We are always surprised and impressed at the many creative styles that are submitted to us by our customers on social media with the hashtags #hirbawi #kufiya. 

While the Keffiyeh headdress has become a popular garment worldwide, it’s important to remember its deep historical significance and symbolic value to the people of Palestine. By wearing the Keffiyeh in any style you like, you are directly helping by demonstrating support for the freedom and sovereignty of the Palestinian people.

Despite the abundance of cheap Keffiyeh replicas currently flooding the internet on sites such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and others, the Hirbawi Keffiyeh maintains its authentic roots in Palestine.

Made at the last remaining factory in Hebron, each Keffiyeh is handmade with love and focused attention to every detail. As a step towards the self-determination and liberation of the Palestinian people, the Hirbawi Keffiyeh factory has long promoted local and ethical Palestinian trade across borders.

Browse through our online catalogue to find your favourite Keffiyeh!

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