How to wear a doek: different ways to tie it and other tips

How to wear a doek: different ways to tie it and other tips

Doeks have come a long way from simply being part of the Tswana traditional wear. Women from across the world are now, more than ever, interested in knowing how to tie a doek. They have slowly but steadily begun making waves across the fashion industry. Doeks ceased being simply functional and are now worn as fashion and cultural statements. Below are various ways on how to wear a doek.

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how to wear a doek
Women wearing different headwraps. Photo:, @cedricfauntleroy, @kissedbythegods, @jepgambardella (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Doeks come in a variety of styles, lengths, and colours. They can be wrapped in many different ways and worn to formal and informal events. Some popular doek styles include the top knot, twisted rope, turban, and side knot. Here are simple ways how to tie a doek step by step with pictures.

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How to wear a doek step-by-step

So how did these fashion pieces come to be? Known by various names across Africa, the doek is called idukuin isiZulu, dukuin Chichewa, and dhukuin Shona. In America, it is simply referred to as the headwrap or turban.

In the US, the doek was imposed on African-American women as a sign of enslavement by their white masters. It was a means to differentiate between African-American people who had power and those who did not.

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Years later, the doek was no longer a symbol of shame and embarrassment but of pride and confidence. Women wore it deliberately to show that the doek no longer had any power over them.

How to tie doek styles in South Africa

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Tying a doek is easy. Do this in front of a mirror. Here are three simple ways how to wear doek stylishly.

Topknot style

how to wrap a doek
Topknot style. Photo: @headwrap_styles (modified by author)
Source: UGC

How do you wear a doek with natural hair? Anyone with short or long hair can pull off the topknot style. This style is quite simple to put on. Below is a guide on how to tie traditional doek styles.

  1. Choose a nice doek. It should match the dress or any other clothes you plan to wear. Make sure it is clean without wrinkles, and stretch it gently to get rid of any wrinkles.
  2. If it looks nice and neat, get ready to tie it.
  3. Fold it into two halves and note the centre line.
  4. Hold it with your two hands to cover the back of your head; either of your hands should be at the point close to the edges.
  5. Make sure the centre line is exactly at the back of your head. This will make sure it looks neat even when you are done.
  6. Wrap the doek around your head from the nape of the collar to the edge of your hair at the face.
  7. Tie your headscarf to make a knot. The knot should be at the centre, above your eyes, and in the same line as your nose.
  8. The knot must be firm. You will wear the doek all day; you do not want it to fall off in public.
  9. You can continue to tie other knots on top of the 1st knot to make a bigger knot.
  10. When you are done, tuck the remaining edges under the knot.

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The big bow tie style

doek styles in South Africa
Big bow tie style. Photo: @headwrap_styles (modified by author)
Source: UGC

This is another very simple idea on how to wrap a doek. When it comes to colour, you can wear whichever headscarf you like. Choose something that will complement your attire.

  1. Opt for a fine-looking headscarf. Just like the first one, make sure it is neat and suits your day's outfit.
  2. The bow tie style will look nice with a slim doek. The thin doek is easy to tie too.
  3. Make your hair into a knot at the top of your head.
  4. Fold the two edges of your doek into two equal loops. The two loops will help you form the bow tie.
  5. To make a bow tie knot, tie the two loops, one under the other, to form a knot. Then, pull the edges emanating from the knot to make it firm and tight.
  6. Then, tuck the two ends so that you remain with your bow tie.

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There are two types of bow ties; small and big bow ties. The big one is good with official wear, while the small bow tie knot is good when you dress casually. You can pull the edges of the bow tie to suit your outfit.

The twisty bun style

how to tie a doek
The twist style. Photo: @headwrap_styles (modified by author)
Source: UGC

If your hair is made in a bun, then this is your ideal doek tie style. Choose a nice doek that you like. Make sure it is neat, clean and smooth without wrinkles. You can try it immediately because that is the only way to learn how to wear a doek. Here are the steps on how to tie a traditional doek twist.

  1. Wrap your doek from the top of your face to the back of your head.
  2. Let the two edges of the scarf crisscross each other in a tie at the back of your head.
  3. Then, bring the remaining edges to the front.
  4. Twist both edges. When the twists look nice, wrap them severally around your head to remain with a short material of about 1 inch.
  5. Pull the edges tight to make sure the doek is firm. You can then tuck the remaining fabric.

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How to wear a doek with jeans

traditional doek styles
Two-coloured twist style. Photo: @headwraps_zetu (modified by author)
Source: UGC

For centuries, African-American women have rocked doeks for various reasons. Doeks can go a long way to add some kick to your work outfit, especially jeans. The trick is knowing how to tie them correctly.

This doek style is great for ceremonies and will sit very well with almost any fabric. It also works well with the conventional silk scarf. Rock in this doek style with your favourite outfit.

  1. Make a tiny rectangle out of your scarf.
  2. Bend forward and drape the scarf around your neck.
  3. With both hands, gather the edges and bring them to the front, directing them around the sides of your head and tying them together.
  4. Get the second scarf in a different colour.
  5. The second scarf should be looped around the knot of the first scarf.
  6. Braid the ends of the two scarves together to produce a large two-colour braid.

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The full head wrap bun style

how to wear doek
A full-head wrap bun style. Photo: @headwrap_styles (modified by author)
Source: UGC

This traditional ceremonial head tie offers you a royal and majestic appearance. You can wear it to an event like a wedding.

  1. Put a scarf in the shape of a ball or doughnut on your head.
  2. Make a long rectangle out of your main scarf by folding the edges.
  3. Spread the scarf across your face to conceal the edges of your hair.
  4. Make sure the scarf is still in place by tying the edges in the back.
  5. Bring the edges forward and cross them over the big bun with the scarf underneath.
  6. Place the tips of your fingers in the grooves that the edges have made.
  7. Tighten the bun and adjust it to look well and firm.

What is a doek used for?

The head tie can be worn as a practical item in many contexts or as a decorative head covering or fashion piece. Women usually wear these doeks during special occasions such as weddings or traditional ceremonies.

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What colour doek is the best?

Doeks are known to be very presentable. When it comes to colour, you may always go with any colour that works well with your attire. You can wear a single-coloured headscarf or mix and match two different coloured headscarves.

These are just a few simple ways how to wear a doek. There are several other ways how to tie a doek step by step, some of which are more complex than others. You want to turn heads, but not for the wrong reasons. You want your doek to be stylish but still look professional enough for the office. So, choose to style your doek in a not-too-fancy way by wearing a style that sits low on your head.

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Source: Briefly News

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