Sunday, September 4, 2011

Play with Your Clothes: Ladies, Start Your Turbans

Greetings, Kiddies, and welcome to the latest installment of our "Play With Your Clothes" in which we re-purpose an object or article of clothing into something entirely different. Today, we are going to demonstrate how to transform simple leggings into turbans! While many women find turbans to be intimidating, we're here today to de-mystify this very versatile type of headwear and illustrate how turbans can be both practical and glamorous! Stay tuned and by all means, do try this at home! Who knows? They might just become a wardrobe staple. Here's Jean's YouTube debut, demonstrating the fine art of turban-wrapping (or is that turban-rapping?)

Turbans have been embraced by American women since before the turn of the 20th century. Although they were quite popular in the Roaring Twenties , competing with cloche hats for American women's hearts, they hit their heyday in the 1940s. This vintage striped turban (image: below is emblematic of "working women's chic", worn to work in the daytime with those wonderfully tailored suits. Daytime turbans were often of heavier knits and tweeds, compared to their lighter weight, shinier (think lame) evening wear counterparts, worn to the theater and to nightclubs.

This glamour shot of Greta Garbo (image by in her silky turban and silk evening suit is a great counterpoint to the previous daytime look.

Look no further than Marlene Dietrich for great examples of how turbans can be both practical AND glamorous. (First image of Dietrich in 1936 is from and the second is Richard Avedon's famous portrait of the star.)

And who could forget the show-stopping entrance of femme fatale Lana Turner in the film noir classic The Postman Always Rings Twice?

How's this shot of Salma Hayek (image: for a great example of a present-day glamourpuss in a turban? She caused quite a stir in the blogosphere when she wore it to Stella McCartney's runway show last October.

Enough of this frivolity. Let's get down to business. Auntie Jean takes you step by step through the process.

Step #1: For this exercise, get a pair of opaque, stretchy leggings. (Hint: Footed versions make better bows than footless; if you tuck the ends underneath, either type works well.) This pair of Andy Warhol's iconic image of Elvis Presley cost $20.00 from The Sock Man on St. Mark's Place in New York City.

Step # 2: Put the leggings on your head with the front of the leggings facing front ('cause there's more room in the back, if you know what we mean...)

Steps #3: Take each leg and wrap it low around the bottom of the back of the head.

Step # 4: Take the leg on the left and wrap it around the back of the head to the right side of the head. Take the leg on the right and wrap it over the other leg around the back of the head to the left side of the head.

Step #5: Take each leg around the back, cross them over each other and bring them to the front.

Step #6: Gently pull both legs toward the front of the head.

Step #7: Take the two legs and knot them. Knot the two legs high on the forehead, making a bow. (Jean's Frieda sunglasses by illesteva in honor of Salma Hayek.)

Step #8: Adjust the size of the bow by how hard or softly you pull on the legs. The longer the segment, the larger the bow. (I do confess that even I don't wear bows quite this large.)

Step #9: For those women who don't like a big bow in the front, just knot once and tuck the ends under the other layer.

Step #10: Here's the finished turban sans bow.

Here's the rear view of Jean's turban in the first version (avec bow). Practice makes perfect. Et voila!

Valerie's Two Cents

Valerie says: Some of you will remember that in February, after I had wrist surgery, I had the kind of cast that wouldn't take magic markers. Since I couldn't decorate it, I cut up a pair of Marilyn leggings I had and covered the cast with the thigh of one leg, keeping the rest for later use. Here's what the pieces look like, reconstituted.

The shortest sections, cut from the ankles, make neat wrist cuffs, as shown here. To my surprise, taking my cue from Jean, the torso can also be used as a kind of kerchief, as seen here and in the first photo. Not nearly a turban, but quite a respectable headpiece.

Before we sign off, we wanted to leave you with this photo of The Turbans ( as a reminder that turbans are truly unisex fashion. (Think Lawrence of Arabia!).


  1. Such a brilliant idea to use leggings! I'm definitely going to try it out next time. Thanks, ladies!
    <3 Linda

  2. Genius! Now I know what to do with leggings that are past their prime. Wish we had a "Sock Man" in this town!

  3. I. LOVE. THIS. On days like today, when it's uber-windy, a regular hat just won't do. What a brilliant way to reuse something, thanks ladies!

  4. very two have so much FUN !!

  5. Who would have thought? Got a great turban in Miami that I have worn to death all summer~I was Chikita Banana!

  6. This is so simple...I'm going to give it a try.

  7. Ladies you are so cool!!!
    I love your idea, I'll try it, eventhough I know already there is just one Norma Desmond
    Have a nice day
    Sara C.

  8. You two make me smile every time I check into your blog. Thanks! Now, where can I find me a great pair of leggings....?
    jill in Ontario

  9. Bravo! I am a turban lover. Always appreciate a new headwear concept.

  10. Hello neighbor! Met you at the IFB conference yesterday. The leggings idea is SO inventive! I've never seen it before, I'll have to give it a try :)

  11. i'm all about the turban movement thats happening right now, and i love the idea of the leggings, although i own far more enormous scarves than leggings...

    heres a couple of me and my turbans...!/meganmcisaac/status/112578451340410880/photo/1

  12. You are absolutley go go go go gorgeous!

  13. I wish I could like turbans. But I can't get over a lifetime of hating them with a passion. They shriek 'old lady' to me. And who needs a hot head?

    A regretful no.

  14. Oh my gosh. Amazing! I love you. Seriously, you're my new idol.
    Hugs from Rome :)

  15. WOW!! The leggings on the head are so inventive! Love your blog and your style is so over the top and AMAZING!! Exactly what personal style is all about! Kiah

  16. you ladies are truly visionary fashionistas. i'm so glad i stumbled upon your blog! thanks for the inspiration!!