Kids Corner

Fashion

On Wearing Turbans

GUNPREET SINGH REKHI

 

 

 

I am a proud turban wearing Sikh. 

The turban is not simply a piece of cloth that I wrap around my head; it speaks volumes about my character, values and personality.

Traditionally, the turban was a sign of royalty. Turbans are worn globally. However, the vast majority of males who wear a turban in the Western world are Sikhs. Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world with over thirty million adherents. The turban is a symbol of honour and self-respect.  Perhaps most importantly, it helps to preserve the Sikh identity.

I first started wearing a plain black turban in 1998.  For a few years, I stuck to the conservative colours: black, white and navy blue. But, I`ve always had an interest in fashion and an eye for detail.  So, a few years ago, I decided that I`d start experimenting and matching my turban colour to my outfit (pattern or solid colour on a dress shirt, bowtie, sweater, t-shirt, etc.).  Having visited numerous Punjabi clothing stores, I already knew that turbans were readily available in hundreds of colours.

But first, allow me to explain the basics – styles, fabrics and colours.  There are a few different styles of turbans.  The style of turban that one chooses to tie is based on personal style and preference.  My personal style is a turban that has origins in the Sikh communities in UK/Africa. 

As a result of the shorter length used there, the turban is more compact than other styles.

In terms of the fabric itself, there are two main types of materials: cotton voile and rubia.  My preference is for the cotton voile fabric as it’s lighter and thinner. 

I’ve bought all of my turbans in stores located in Toronto, New York City and New Delhi. 

Generally speaking, the colour of the turban doesn’t have a lot of significance (although red/pink are commonly worn at joyous occasions such as a wedding).  For obvious reasons, I don’t wear bright colours to somber occasions.

So, how did I get started?

Initially, I took a few items of clothing to the stores and matched them shade-for-shade to turbans that were available for sale.  It’s also possible to get custom dyed turbans, but I’ve always bought mine “off the rack”.  I’ve also bought quite a few turbans for which I didn’t have complimentary outfits, simply because I loved the colour. I would then use this as an excuse to go shopping for new articles of clothing.

With every passing year, my collection has grown larger and larger. I’ve acquired somewhat of a reputation for matching my turban to my outfit.  More often than not, the matching will be obvious.  Sometimes, I’ll have more fun with it and match the turban colour to a more discreet pattern (e.g., polka dots) or item (e.g., a pocket square) – just to keep my friends on their toes.  In my closet, I know exactly which turban will compliment a particular article of clothing.

Since purchasing my first turban -- a black one -- I’ve added another 80+ colours to my ever-growing collection. Details are important and I’m a firm believer that in order to pull off the look, exact shades matter.

Some people (including strangers) are kind enough to compliment me on my colour co-ordination and many others ask why I do it. Quite simple really – initially, it began as an opportunity to marry my Sikh identity with my interest in modern fashion and slowly evolved into an extension of both my personal brand and style.

 

[Courtesy: The Fine Young Gentleman]

December 5, 2012

 

Conversation about this article

1: Charandeep Singh (Chandigarh, Punjab), December 05, 2012, 10:59 PM.

My compliments! The turban is a Sikh's identity and pride; it strengthens his belief that his Guru's hand is on his head. Long live bani and bana.

2: Jasmeet (Melbourne, Australia), December 10, 2012, 8:24 PM.

Kudos to your enthusiasm, Gunpreet. I wish there were more who shared your passion.

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