Three Types of Crowns:
Three local entrepreneurs offer different takes on the tradition of covering one’s hair after marriage
Some Jewish women, mainly those who affiliate with the Orthodox movement, choose to cover their hair after marriage. There are different ways that a woman who covers her hair can keep this tradition, from wearing full or partial sheitels (wigs) to colorful hats and headbands to swirling scarves. Some women have die-hard preferences, while others change things up depending on the occasion (or the weather!).
The JT spoke to three local women who both cover their own hair and sell hair coverings to others. They shared their wares as well as why their respective products are their hair covering of choice.
A Beauty Secret Under Wraps
Tikva Seinfeld is a distributor for Wrapunzel Baltimore, selling headscarves at her home boutique where customers can feel scarves rather than ordering them blind online.
“I just find that I enjoy the process when I get dressed, how I can use my headwrap as an accessory,” she said.
Seinfeld covers her hair for religious reasons and said scarves are a practical option at an average price of $15.
Furthermore, they are comfy, she added.
Seinfeld likes to teach newlyweds how to style a headscarf, and said there are almost 20 ways to do it.
“I usually teach them a couple of simple methods to begin with, then usually they come back and ask can you teach me this type or that style. It’s like learning to walk in high heeled shoes.”
Once they learn the basics, they can spice it up with more advanced styles.
“I never really get bored of it because I’m constantly changing my scarves. I probably have 200” for all different seasons, she said.. Her favorite style to wear is a “short-tail,” with one side hanging down.
“I think if people like the look they should try it,” she said. “It’s not a huge investment, like a wig that can be hundreds of dollars.”
Wigs do offer more subtly though, according to Lena Fleminger, founder and owner of Lena’s Wigs.
Many of Fleminger’s clients are newlywed Orthodox women, but half also come for medical reasons. Fleminger emphasizes respect and making her store “not a pushy sales environment.” For anyone new to wigs, Fleminger likes to teach them how to find a good size and style for their daily life.
Of course, fashion matters too. Right now, the natural look is in, according to Fleminger. “It used to be really big and showy wigs, like you just stepped off the red carpet,” but now people want to be more natural.
Fleminger herself, who wears wigs for religious reasons, prefers mid-length styles for herself, “with some body and cool funky curls in it. I also like a little messy, because I say the more perfect it looks the less it looks like real hair.”
She explained that interested buyers can find wigs starting at $500, and she does not sell anything above $2,000. Her best deals are overstock pieces for 50% below retail price.
The cheapest wigs are made of Mongolian processed hair, she said. The hair goes through an intense chemical process of recoloring and silicon covering.
Next comes Brazilian;. it is coarser and less distinguishable from natural dark hair.
Wigs comprised of unprocessed European hair are the most expensive.
Any type of hair, Fleminger believes, is less obtrusive and “often viewed as more professional.” Wigs blend in more, which can be a desirable or undesirable choice depending on the person.
Can’t Top That Hat
Linda S. Elman, co-owner of Hats to Hose, prefers hats.
“I embarked on this career because I personally loved wearing hats.”
Located in Colonial Village Shopping Center in Pikesville, her store carries children’s clothes, ladies’ clothes, and a full-service hat department.
“Traditionally, Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair after marriage. We offer them many alternatives — scarves, beanies, snoods, caps, berets, fascinators, and, of course, hats.”
The hats come in a variety of styles for every occasion, including weekly synagogue use to hats specific for the Preakness.
“We are a fixture in the local media when it comes to Preakness hats!” said Elman.
Elman also helps chemotherapy patients who need fashionable head coverings, and cater to a large African American clientele “who seek the latest in high fashion church hats,” she said.
“We have a very knowledgeable staff who are eager to help each woman find the best head covering to suit her personality and the image she wishes to project,” said Elman.