If you are inclined towards wearing a head covering (which many of us refer to as ‘veiling’) but live in an environment that is hostile towards it, it becomes really tricky navigating through the conflict between your desire/need to veil and the hostility. It is one of the reasons why there are quite a few people out there who, as much as they feel called to do it or wish to do it, don’t. Because the risk of persecution and harassment is quite high in many places. Wearing a veil tends to set you apart and some people decide that it makes you a target.
I have many opinions on the sort of people who consider a person who veils as a target for harassment and persecution. None of my opinions in their full expression are fit for mixed company. I will only say that I loath them and aggressively oppose their behavior. The purpose of my post this evening, however, is not to rant about the problem of a hostile environment. My goal is to share with you some ways to circumvent some of that hostility.
The reason why people will choose to stealth veil is to pass as part of the ‘normal’ group whilst remaining true to their decision to veil. This can result in the person who is stealth veiling having less harassment from people who oppose veiling. It can additionally work to reduce the self consciousness for the person veiling (which is often helpful for those who are beginning to veil). Also, in many cases, the stealth veil involves less effort in procuring supplies and using more obvious veils.
There are two huge divisions in stealth veil techniques. One set are more effective for short hair. The other is more effective for long hair. There are some techniques that are applicable for both forms with varying degrees of coverage. In many ways, veiling short hair is easier with stealth veiling than it is with long hair. I believe part of the reason is because Western society has encouraged women to keep their hair short for fashion sake as well as the fact that there are simply an enormous difference in the sheer volume of hair that is being covered.
Partial coverage of short hair can be achieved with headbands. Narrow headbands are, obviously, less effective for covering than wide ones. A bandana is excellent for partial coverage options. There are many ways to style it to keep your bandanna fashionable even as you are covering your head and hair. In the case of really short hair, a bandana can provide semi- to full- coverage. Also, fascinators can work for a very limited form of partial coverage in the sense of the modern fascinators. Traditional ones are excellent for full coverage.
Full coverage of short hair is easily accomplished. Caps and hats work exceptionally well for very short hair. Pinning your hair up and wearing a large square scarf over it in a bandana style is another method that works well for hair of short to shoulder length. Also, the hair can be pinned up and a wig can be worn over it.
Partial coverage of long hair can be accomplished via all of the methods described for partial coverage for short hair. Also, hats and caps are effective for partial coverage of long hair. Additionally, long hair can be pinned up into a bun and covered with a bun cover. Full coverage of long hair is a bit more challenging. Hats can still be applicable when the hair is gathered up and hidden beneath. A snood is a form of semi-full coverage that is relatively easy to use. Depending on how close the mesh is for the snood, it could qualify as full coverage.
Pinning up long hair and tying a large square scarf over your head in a bandana style is an equally applicable option, though the scarf needed to be truly effective will be larger than what works for short hair. With some planning and careful adjustment of one’s hair, wigs can be equally effective for long hair. When one’s hair is pinned up, a traditional fascinator works well for full coverage also.
Additionally, some people argue that dying one’s hair is a form of full coverage. And others present the argument that binding one’s hair up achieves a similar effect as veiling. These latter techniques are not ones that I personally use but I can see the logic of these arguments. In dying your hair, you completely cover the natural color of your hair. Binding your hair up serves to limit the amount of hair that is immediately visible and accessible to others. It is frequently done beneath veils for the sake of keeping one’s hair tidy but the appeal of the argument that it is part of the veiling process and therefore can serve as a stealth veil is one I can not deny.
There are many ways to stealth veil. They can be used for varying environments where one can not use full veiling options such as a tichel. Stealth veils tend to pass as fairly ‘normal’ to the eye of the community at large which makes it easier for one to accomplish their goals in veiling with a minimum of harassment. With a little ingenuity and creativity, stealth veils can be equally as elegant and delightful as more complex and overt veils.