How to Wear a Palestinian Scarf

Updated March 23, 2017

A part of everyday wardrobes in the Middle East, the Palestinian scarf, or "kuffiyeh" in Arabic, is most commonly associated with leader Yasser Arafat, who was seldom seen without it. Today, the scarf has found its way into mainstream fashion. Companies are putting a new twist on the scarf's classic design, producing it in non-traditional colours such as brown or purple and decorating it with additional elements such as flowers. If you choose to make this accessory a part of your wardrobe, it is important that you know how to wear it correctly.

Pin up long hair so that is it out of the way.

Fold the scarf in half diagonally to form a triangle.

Hold the scarf, with a corner in each hand and stretch out your arms. The third corner of the triangle should be pointing to the floor.

Place the scarf against your chest. Holding on to the ends, crisscross one arm over the other at the back of your neck.

Let go of the corners and uncross your arms. Pull each corner down gently in the direction of the floor.

Straighten out the scarf in the front so that it sits in the middle of your chest. It is not meant to be perfectly smooth and straight like a silk handkerchief, therefore do not try to straighten out the layers and wrinkles.


Wearing the kuffiyeh may trigger offence in certain people. Using it purely as a fashion accessory can be interpreted as ignorant and insensitive of the Palestinian liberation cause. The scarf may cause others to automatically assume that you are making a political statement even when you are not.

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About the Author

Aksana Nikolai is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in language studies and international affairs. Nikolai is currently working in online marketing and communications. She has been writing since 2008, specializing in made-for-Web content and maintaining her fashion and beauty blog.