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A Hijabi's Guide to Building the Perfect Wardrobe of 10 Essentials

Posted on Mar 28, 2014
Melanie Elturk


Lately I feel like I've been going through a style transformation. All my go-to's have suddenly become blah and everything I try on that I never used to think twice about suddenly... I think twice about. It happens to me once every 3-4 years as style itself shifts. I cleaned out my closet and got rid of a TON of stuff... so... I've been sticking to the classics - as those timeless pieces in my closet of course, made the cut. I've been living in basics - turtlenecks, basic button-downs, silk blouses and comfy trousers. Below are my essentials that every hijabi should own. They're foundational wardrobe pieces you'll be able to build upon with new pieces you incorporate into your wardrobe. 



1) White Button-Down Shirt

This is a no-brainer, especially for me. Layer them under sweaters, wear them with skirts or go for a casual look half-tucked in to a pair of boyfriend jeans. Lately I've been wearing my husband's oxfords for that oversized look. I recommend getting one in crisp cotton and an ivory one in silk. I love this "Essential White Boyshirt" by Madewell. Perfect.



2) A Great Blazer

A no-frills, amazing fitting blazer in the classic color of your choice is a must. It makes any outfit look polished even if it's just a white tee and some wide-leg jeans. Simple and easy. Below are some great classic blazers from J.Crew, Zara, and H&M.


3) Leopard Something

Leopard really is a wardrobe staple at this point - whether it's as simple as a scarf, a handbag or a pair of pumps or a more overt piece like a sweater, coat or maxi skirt. Leopard is a great go-to because, when mixed with the right elements, it looks hella chic. I love wearing leopard with pops of color like red, hot pink or cobalt blue. Make sure you keep neutrals like black, brown, beige or camel in the mix to keep the look from getting out of hand. Check out my leopard sweater look here and how amazing is this leopard coat???

4) A Classic Trench

I live for a classic trench coat. It always looks good whether thrown over a pair of jeans or topping off a professional work outfit. It's the perfect piece for every hijabi because it's always modest and stylish. My favorites are from J.Crew, Banana Republic and Gap.


5) A Good Pair of Flats

I used to live in heels because all my pants were so long but once I started wearing a more tapered leg, flats became my go-to. A dear friend of mine gifted me a pair of Tory Burch flats and I practically live in them. My other flats have been worn out beyond repair but my Tory's have really stood the test of time. Get a great pair and you won't have to replace them every six months. Here are a couple great pairs by J.Crew and Cole Haan.

6) Solid Colored Hijabs that Work with Your Skintone

I've been wearing solid colored hijabs a lot lately. One of my close friends said it reminded her of high school which is true because back in high school I didn't own a single printed hijab! Find the colors that work best on your skin tone and stock up on whatever hijab type (square, rectangle, woven, satin, chiffon, etc) you prefer.

I have an awesome post that outlines the perfect solids for all skin tones, but here's the rundown: for olive/medium skin tones like myself, bold jewel colors like cobalt, emerald green and royal purple in addition to neutrals like navy, olive, camel and beige look best. If you have light skin, pastels look beautiful (I wish I could wear pastels...they wash out medium skin tones!) in addition to high-contrast colors like black and dark blue. For darker skin tones, you're in luck because just about every color looks good on you - with the exception of some shades of brown that blend in with your skin color. Luckily, we've been stocking lots of solids in satins and chiffons and we'll be adding solid woven wraps next month! Check out our scarves and wraps for all the solids we carry.


7) The Quintessential Layering Piece

I was talking to my friend yesterday about how we're designing long cardigans for Haute Hijab (yes, you read that right!) and she said, does it have buttons? "No." Well then how am I supposed to wear it open without a long shirt underneath? "That's why you need the Demure Pleated Essential Top or Layered Dress Top," I exclaimed! These layering pieces are so essential - not just for long open cardi's, but for blazers and jackets!


8) The Perfect Neck Scarf aka Outfit Makers

Another wardrobe essential is the perfect neck scarf - it makes even the simplest of outfits transform into a sophisticated-ly chic ensemble with the simple addition of a scarf (see trench photo above). Not sure how to make it work with hijab? Check out my post on how to wear neck scarves with hijab. My favorites are from Madewell (they have the best square knit scarves) and of course my awesome vintage finds like the one above.

9) Great Layering Tees

A few years ago I came across a striped knit tee at J.Crew on sale and thought, "why not, it's $9.99" (horrible shopping mentality btw) and it's been such a wardrobe staple ever since! I wear it under blazers, tucked in to high-waisted jeans with a cardi, under sweaters so the striped part sticks out at the bottom - the possibilities are endless! These layering tops are great wardrobe staples that add something extra to your outfits!

Here's that striped top in three different ways


10) Creativity!

Ok so this isn't technically a wardrobe item - but it is absolutely necessary in order to create endless outfits with everything you already own + these wardrobe staples. After I cleaned out my entire closet my first thought was, "I need to go shopping!" Then I reeled it in and thought - I have some really amazing pieces here... I just need to work on mixing them up in more creative ways. One way I love to do that is Pinterest! Take any wardrobe staple and search it in Pinterest to get some amazing ideas on new ways to style them. Resist the urge to be a shop-a-holic, (it's so easy these days, $9.99 jeans at Forever 21? Yes please!) once you've got enough timeless wardrobe staples incorporated into your closet, you'd be surprised at how many outfits you can create.

Styling questions? Remember, Haute Hijab offers free expert fashion advice. E-mail with your questions!