Hair Covering in the Workplace

Follow up post:

If you cover your hair and you work in an office with a casual dress code is it ever appropriate to wear scarves or hats to work, or should one always stick with a wig / fall? I know the answer to this is different when it’s a Jewish company or organization, so for argument’s sake, let’s say it’s not a Jewish organization.

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14 Comments

  1. mrsmelissasg says:

    I have blogged about this many times… Oy.
    Ultimately, I think it depends on who you are, what the company is, and what you set up to be the expectation.

  2. Formermoneyite says:

    Having worked in the legal proffession my entire career I would say its never appropriate to wear a hat or scarf to work. But a job that attracts more creative types it may be ok.

  3. The problem I see with a scarf in a non-Jewish workplace is that you’re likely to be asked “How’s the chemo going?” and people may behave as if you’re dying – or might be.

  4. Fray says:

    I have worn a hat to a non-Jewish workplace but when I was meeting with clients outside the office I wore a wig.

  5. Lili says:

    I guess I don’t know. I can’t wear wigs, so I only wear scarves. However, I’m not going to tell you that there isn’t still discrimination, and people who think that scarves are never appropriate.

  6. I work in a Jewish office but Seth and I are the only frummies. I don’t cover my hair every day, but I did the first six months we were married and I still often wear hats and scarves because I like the look and I have them – so why not?

    I wear it all and nobody minds – my office is pretty casual.

  7. Amy says:

    I stopped covering my hair post divorce but I used to work as a research assistant and the pyschologist conducting the studies asked me to please only wear shaytels b/c he felt that any other type of head covering would be distracting to the patients.

  8. Leah Sarah says:

    Totally depends on the workplace. I know people who work in very professional places, but wear certain types of hats to work and it’s ok. I think it helps when you are okay showing some hair, because you can often pull off wearing those beret type hats that a lot of people would wear normally because they are fashionable and cute. :) I have had a lot of married friend give me the advice to wear a sheitel or some sort of “subtle” hair covering to a job interview, but scarves/hats to the job once you get the job. I can see certain jobs, such as being an attorney, on-air reporter, etc that a sheitel would be MUCH more appropriate for.

  9. Z! says:

    It depends on how much contact you have with the public and your own comfort level. I prefer wearing hats, sweaters and jean skirts daily to wearing a sheitel, fitted skirt and blouse. for more serious occasions (meetings and expos), i will dress it up a bit and wear the “nicer clothing”, but i prefer not to do that everyday.

  10. Emily says:

    First, I should probably say that I work in an ad agency with “creative” types. And I get to wear pretty much whatever I want to wear to work. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with covering my hair – not fully ready to take on the mitzvah, but testing the waters. I’ve done the normal tichel thing (with tails. in case it matters) and gotten the “oh, so you’re rocking the ‘ethnic’ look today” thing and I’ve done the (what I fondly call) the Jew-pirate look. I’ve also done wide headbands and hats. I think it comes down to rocking the look confidently and not looking like you’re doing it to hide bed hair – make sure it’s clear that it’s a conscious choice. And then post pics for us!

  11. Rachel says:

    Wig or fall… No doubt about it.!!

  12. Skylar says:

    I’m not married, but I’ve had to think about this a lot as a lawyer. I work in a very Jewish-friendly environment, though I’m the only orthodox person. I would only consider sheitels/falls “mandatory” for court appearances in front of a jury (or maybe even when the judge is the decision maker). I could see wearing something more “Jew-y” during jury selection simply to weed out people who show signs of overt anti-Semitism. But as a practical matter, head coverings are generally prohibited in courthouses, and while the security guards recognize a kippah and a hijab, they’re less likely to buy the “my hat/tichel is a religious headcovering” argument. So I’ve considered a sheitel for all courtroom use. However, I would spend the money to get a really, really good one. There’s no point in trying to prevent discrimination against an orthodox Jewish woman when your sheitel is so OBVIOUSLY a cheap sheitel. The point is that the discrimination against you could be used against your client, so it’s better for me to appear as “neutrally” as possible. Of course, I don’t see a courtroom in my future for at least a couple of years. It may also be relevant that I don’t see myself ever entering the largely-anonymous BigLaw world. I tend to work in smaller offices with office camaraderie but also camaraderie with clients/business contacts.

    All that said, I used to live in a place with a practically non-existent orthodox community. There, I think hats and headcoverings would be seen as very fashionable and perhaps even formal. (Maybe the Southern background influences that-despite being in CA-, since hats are almost always of the “church hat” variety there.) I think the discrimination issues come when people are familiar with orthodox Jews and are able to “spot” orthodox women based on something as theoretically-neutral as a hat or tichel. When I became kosher, it was considered exciting and interesting to my CA employers and co-workers, so they really went out of their way to make things easy for me and they enjoyed learning about it. I don’t think I’d get that same reaction now that I live in NYC.

  13. postpunkchronicles says:

    Totally depends on the workplace and your normal manner of dress. I am comfortable wearing whatever I please for a head covering in most places. I stick with knit hats in the winter if I want to look more neutral. It completely my “earthy indie” look lol and I don’t think anyone who isn’t Jewish would think if a religious covering. Most people just assume I like hats. Otherwise I wear tichels. I have considered buying a fall for circumstances were anti-semitism (or more likely just plain religion-phobes) might cause me grief in an important situation.

  14. Linda M says:

    I wore a sheitel to my interview, then started wearing hats and scarves after I got the job. I get occasional compliments on my cute hats and fancy bandannas, only a few people know it’s because I’m Jewish. When I told my then-boss right after I was hired about Shabbos and the holidays, he asked if that’s why I wore hats. When I said yes, he asked why I didn’t for the interview. I told him I wore a wig and I was happy to wear it for work if he thought I needed to look professional. He said that wasn’t necessary, he was just curious. I had to explain to another coworker who’s friends with a lot of Jewish folks nearby the same thing after he saw pictures from my son’s bris, where I was also wearing a sheitel. I work in engineering, though, and I almost never feel like I need to be super dressed up. Even at important meetings and conferences, as long I’m wearing a nice jacket or skirt suit with a coordinating hat and jewelry, I’m good.

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