A well chosen and expertly tied turban elevates every look (yes, even jeans and a tee), can be casual and formal and is simply fantastic for bad hair days. Is it any wonder that at our last count, there were 82,546 #turbanstyle photos. Three local women, inspired by the Erykah Badu-meets-Alicia-Keys-meets African-vibe movement, show us how Asians can rock the headwrap, too.
Peggy Chang, 32, director of Hero Holdings, the F&B company behind The Tiramisu Heroes
A transiting inspiration
I was transiting at Dubai airport when I saw this group of African ladies with huge colourful turbans. I have always been fascinated with headdresses, but I've never been able to find the right fabric to do a good one until I saw a post from Aarika Lee's Instagram. I got my first head wrap from the website she recommended, The Wrap Life, and the rest is history.
It’s great for most occasions!
Turbans are great for dressing up a simple outfit; making it more outstanding, but my outfits usually precedes my headdress. On occasions when an elaborate turban makes no sense – if I'm going to be dancing all night – that’s when I don’t wear one.
Number #1 thing to know when wearing one
A dainty head wrap requires a slim but long piece of flowy fabric. For an outrageous bow, get a wider and stiffer piece of fabric. I usually spend about $30 for each piece of wrap. Some are more expensive and some are cheaper. Advice for first-timers? Don't be afraid to step out of your house.
Daryl Dee Teo, 41, co-founder of PR company Bless Inc Asia
Daryl’s first turban moment
“Peggy and I have been friends for years I didn’t dare to try the turban because I thought I, unlike her, wouldn’t be able to pull it off. One day, she took hers off, placed it on my head and I realised, “hey, not too bad!” So I started buying mine from thewrap.life, and the next thing I knew, Aarika Lee sent me an instructional video of herself tying it on.
The best site to get the best turbans
I’m a huge fan of the Brooklyn-based e-commerce site thewrap.life. Its fabrics are 100 per cent cotton, which makes them especially resilient to whatever style you create and however you work them. They will always stay up without budging. Plus, each comes in the-perfect-size-for-a-wrap rectangle that doesn’t require any folding. I get all of my scarves from there. There’s also always something new to buy in a couple of months. I always make sure that I buy four to five pieces at one go, or I get friends coming back from New York to bring some back. I already have more than 20 pieces.
How does Daryl accessorize and work it?
Accessories are a must. I love anything with fringes or pom-poms! When I started experimenting with the turban I wanted to see if there were any other Asian girls who rock the trend besides my friends. Every turban photo I saw on Pinterest showed a person of colour. I actually had to Google “Chinese girl head wrap” The first time I did it, I ended with a bow that’s too big, and looked like Minnie Mouse. It took me just a couple of days to get the turban wrapping right after that.
Kae Hana, 30, designer of her eponymous fashion label for plus-sized women
It started with social media!
I was travelling in Vietnam five years ago when I chanced upon this lovely scarf and I was thinking, what was the best way to wear it? I’ve seen a lot of people of colour on social media wearing it beautifully so I thought, why not a turban? There’s no method to my head wraps. I just work with the fabric haphazardly, yet it always works for me. I like Youtube gurus like Kilahmazing, Fashion Breed or The London Curls.
Outfit first, then turban
I look at what I’m doing for the day, which is usually a lot of running around, so comfort comes first. I wear mostly clothes from my label, Kae Hana, and my turban colour follows. I use a lot of silk because it’s easy to tie, holds its shape easily and breathes better in our weather. I don’t recommend satin because it moves a lot.
Advice for first timers
Research is key. Youtube offers plenty. Try different styles in front of a mirror and know your face shape. I have a round face and I find that a big central bow complements it. A turban is not a one-wrap-fits-all accessory because it has to suit your face.
Photography: Vee Chin
Styling: Bryan Goh