Headcovering Outside Mass

Hi all,

This thread is taken from the earlier discussion on mantillas, since it’s kind of a different topic.

I’ve been called to wear a headcovering in daily life for about eight months now, and I find myself being a headcovering cheerleader on the boards because I get a lot out of it as a devotion. I debate a bit, though, over what a proper headcovering is for a Catholic woman. These are my criteria:

I should look like I’m covered in a meaningful way, so a plastic headband or a ribbon won’t make the cut.
I shouldn’t claim a religious identity that is not my own, so I shouldn’t look Muslim or Amish or anything like that, and I also shouldn’t give the appearance of being a nun/sister. That said, I’ll go ahead and buy things that are marketed to Jewish or Protestant women (or Muslims, even) that aren’t specifically recognizable.
Headcovering should not serve my vanity, so ostentatious things like feathers are out for anything but the most special of occasions.

Other than that, I’m pretty open as to the kind of covering I wear. My current favorites for life in general are paisley bandanas and expandable headband types, and my favorite for Mass is a plain white silk kerchief, though I really think a mantilla is better because it more readily conveys Catholic identity and I think I’ll start moving that way.

What are your thoughts? If a lady is called to cover her head, what should she wear? What do you think of the practice of covering one’s head in daily life?

Up until about a week ago, I’d been headcovering full-time for about 4 months. I understand exactly what you mean about not wanting to “advertise” sotospeak a religion that you’re not. I ultimately chose these coverings:


They are Jewish, but I don’t think they identify that way, or, even if they do, most people have no idea of that. They are very comfortable IMO. I think it’s best to wear what you’ll be comfortable in, and I like wearing black, as it blends in mostly with everything.

While I was covering full-time I was very aware of my sins, much more than I had ever been without it, and I was also especially aware of my relationship with my husband, how I treated him, etc. Now, after having gone through the stares and attention from people from doing it myself, I’m more consciously friendly toward any women I see wearing one, no matter what religion they appear to be. I feel a connection with them through it.

I would encourage it as a daily practice, much in the same way I would encourage, say, the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Try it out. Not for you? Okay then. I think it’s a great tool that can be used for great good. I stopped wearing it full-time for a number of personal reasons. I think God used it as a tool for this time in my life, and that now it has served its purpose. :slight_smile:

I love Devorah’s coverings! Especially the lace ones with ties. They have the mantilla look, but I prefer to tie my covering on, so those would be great. I also like www.tznius.com, which is a site marketed to Jewish women. I have been known to tie my scarf up as a tichel, because most people where I live wouldn’t recognize that style as specifically Jewish. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=134683&l=4d951116b2&id=1454569719

I like coverings like the ones at danielleloporto.etsy.com, as I mentioned on the other thread, and find them very versatile. I have three of hers and I want to order a sheer black one and a sheer brown one for the office.

Hello :). I’ve also been drawn to this daily practice as well (although at present I’m still trying to discern if it is God’s will for me). I just want to say I find your post so inspiring and so lovely! God bless you :slight_smile:

:smiley: Hello, fellow sisters in Christ.

I, too, feel that I’ve been called to wear a head-covering full-time. The trouble is firstly, I don’t want to look like a Muslim, when I’m most certainly not and secondly, my family is pretty liberal and non-Catholic for the most part. They just wouldn’t understand, that and, I live with my parents still. I wear one to Mass weekly, but there’s this yearning to go full-time with this. Honestly, I don’t like the look of mantillas, on me that is. I’ve seen one at Sunday Mass on a married woman with kids, and she wore quite well. It’s just not for me. I, too, prefer to go toward more the Jewish look. They look so gorgeous in those scarves. The trouble I’m finding is I have use of only one hand, and there’s not a heck of a lot out there that is feasible for someone in my situation. I, too, would appreciate some suggestions. The only women who cover in Calgary tend to be the Muslims, and I don’t want to stand out, but at the same time, I want to show my Catholicism out loud, if that makes any sense. I’m glad, however, that there are some other women who feel called to cover. To me, it just makes a lot of sense. I have the scarves, but it’s the courage I need.

Chantal M :slight_smile:

I love her stuff too.

I love this forum already! I know this post is old, but still thanks for the great links everyone. I am also feeling called to wear a head covering, as well as more simple and modest clothing. :slight_smile:

I have been looking at Garlands of Grace and I really like some of their designs. Some of the more “headband” like ones are too little coverage, but the majority of them are just what I had in mind!

Hey, what about a hat? Hats are what Western Christian women wore all throughout modern history until about the late 1950s. A neat cloche type hat with a small brim is easy to wear and would be appropriate indoors and out except in the very warm months. For summer I’d wear a kerchief type scarf/bandanna indoors and a summer hat outdoors (or at Mass).

I have not been called to cover full time. If I did cover at Mass, I would wear a hat more often than anything else. I am not Spanish or of Spanish descent and so a mantilla just seems presumptuous to me. I do like the scarfs on Deborah’s site and might get one of those. Since I know when I will be at Mass or Adoration, I don’t need to have an ‘emergency’ mantilla stuffed in my pocket. I can leave the house in an appropriate hat or scarf.

What you said about mantillas, Mrs Sally, is right on. We think of them as being “traditional” across the board, but really they are more of a Spanish tradition that has become global over the past half-century or so.

I am of Irish descent, and Irish ladies back in the day never wore mantillas. They wore hats and sometimes scarves or a kerchief. I’ll add my recommendation for Devorah’s along with all the others here. My regular Mass covering is the same kind that sarahraegraham linked to above. For my wedding that’s coming up in two weeks (:eek:) I ordered a very pretty lacy ivory-colored mantilla from Devorah’s.

ChantalM, I’ve been thinking about your situation…you said you only have use of one hand, right? All I can think of really is a.) even though you said it’s not really your personal style, you could out of necessity get a regular mantilla that just lies across your head and doesn’t need to be tied or b.) ask someone to help you tie on a kerchief or scarf.

I’ve posted this pic before, but here it is again…this is the kerchief I have from Devorah’s. I highly recommend her site if you’re looking for a simple, modest headcovering.


You could also hot-glue a comb on the top. Most coverings won’t show it, and it will be super easy to get on and off, too.:slight_smile:

How about emailing garlandsofgrace.com/ or this lady:
prayercoverings.com/ ?? Or Devorah’s site?? I’m thinking that they would have some good ideas. They may know of somethinjg that would be helpful.
The “prayercoverings” site has a whole page of clips & barrettes for attaching all kinds of headcoverings. HTH!!

Hi everyone:

I’ve been thinking about my situation a little more. I really like the slip-on veil at prayercoverings.com as well as the Charity veil, but they won’t take international money-orders. They can send it here, but they need money-orders drawn from a US bank. Dang nab it! However, my sister, her husband, and my two nieces live in the States, so I could send her the money or my mom could pay by credit card, make the order from here in Calgary, and ship it to them, and they send it here. The prices are pretty reasonable, considering they’re hand-made. Most of the veils I like on their web-site are available if you want with Velcro-closure for a little extra (like 50 cents). I’m really toying with that idea I also like Devorah’s coverings, but they seem to be all tie-closures. Really pretty, but there’s the rub. As one other woman mentioned there’s tznius.com as well. Absolutely gorgeous scarves there, but you have to tie, and I’m not good at tying with one hand, believe me I’ve tried.:shrug: I’ve also looked on Muslim hijab websites and I’ve only come across one that has button-closures as a main option. It seems that all the modest head-covering web-sites are based in the States, but don’t take US money from Canadian accounts. Sooo annoying. I understand why, but still it seems like I live in the boonies rather than in a million-plus city.

Thanks for all the suggestions and keep it coming.

Chantal M:D

I really recommend a hat for your situation. Scarfs and mantillas are nice, but they usually do require to be tied or you need to be fussing with them constantly.

I like this site, but I don’t order hats often because I like to try them on. They do ship to Canada and accept paypal.


Mrs Sally:

I do appreciate the suggestion, and I know I look good in hats, but for all practicality in day-to-day wear, I do prefer the veil, especially the slip-on one I mentioned previously. Put it on and you’re done for the day. I currently have one what they call a tube. I got it from the Bay (a Canadian department store) a little over a year ago. Basically it’s like one longish stocking but made of cotton. They made one for the Beijing Olympics to protect the athletes because of the smog, and they made one for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Whistler, BC. I have the latter. The trouble is, it’s beginning to wear out as far as elastic is concerned and I’m constantly fixing it to cover my hair as it comes off pretty easily. Now that it’s almost winter again, it’s nowhere to be seen in the Bay because it seems to be no longer practical for them to carry it. In hindsight, I should’ve gotten a couple when I bought the original, but now I’m stuck. It’s either that or nothing, and I feel more comfortable with my hair covered than not. It’s getting pretty frustrating. The other option I’ve seen on head-covering web-sites are snoods, which are pretty similar to what I have now, some with ties but some you just slip-on. They seem to be pretty popular on Jewish web-sites.


i use a lot of scarves… i learned to tie them from www.tznius.com ( i also bought a ton from them)
however for the traditional “chapel veil/mantilla” i buy from ebay
thats user jotepr if it doesnt come out form the cut and paste.

his veils are the LONG kind, not the “doily on th head” thing.
the lace mantilla makes it obvious you are covering your head for religious reasons. the scarf not so much
in summer i like the crown wrap. the one where you tie the scarf and tie the ends over top of your head like a band? its cooler than having my hair hang down… in winter i just use a wrapped shawl./scarf…

Here is a link to her store: stores.shop.ebay.com/CATHOLIC-TRADITIONS__W0QQ_armrsZ1

I have one of these veils - they are very well made, and the lace is sturdy, not too delicate that you have to worry about snagging it with rings or in your purse (though I would still recommend a bag for it). The lace is a bit heavier than older vintage veils, so I don’t wear this one in the summer (our church is not cooled). But in the winter it is very nice.

One thing I think may be helpful to discussions - I have found that many women use the terms “mantilla” (which is a long rectangle piece of lace in the Spanish style), and “chapel veil” (which is typically a triangle or half circle piece of lace) - nearly interchangeably, and even more and more so with time. So when someone says “mantilla”, don’t automatically assume they mean the Spanish style, they may very well mean what you see at the site above. :wink:

Oh - and then there is the chapel cap - the little doily. :wink:


First of all, I’m not Catholic (yet!–I’m in RCIA) and I do attend my own church regularly, as well as Mass as often as possible.

It’s good to see such mature and friendly discussion here! I was ‘introduced’ to head covering by a woman online who was friendly, intelligent, and explained why it was right for her, but also stressed that it was a personal decision ‘if’ and ‘when’ (i…e., just for church, or all the time). I’m very ashamed to admit that until that discussion, I tended to think of Christian women who covered to be ultra-subservient religious kooks.

I started head covering during Lent several years ago. I always wore something–hat, bandana, or a more formal covering–in public. I stopped covering when Lent was over.

When I started RCIA last year, I covered for Mass, but didn’t necessarily cover for classes–but I always wore my hair up. It really wasn’t even anything conscious on my part! I did wear my hair down at the RCIA Christmas party (which was held in another building), and someone commented that she had never seen my hair down before.

I left RCIA last year when I became engaged, but I rejoined recently, shortly after the tragic sudden death of my fiance. I started covering at class (and I was still covering at Mass anyway), and have recently started covering at work, my own church, and in most public places. The only times I tend not to cover are when doing really dirty work–mucking stalls, yardwork, etc. My scarves/wraps are very nice (mostly from Devorah, and modestworld.com), and I don’t want them torn up. I’ll probably invest in some bandanas.

I have a variety of styles, from satiny square scarves to silky pashminas to lacy shawl-type coverings to winter-type wraps, but I do tend to prefer ones that are more formal for church and Mass. One poster made a comment about not wanting to look like a Sister–interestingly enough, I do want to become a Sister, and I do have one headcovering that does somewhat make me look like one! To be honest, I rarely wear it, just for that reason–I don’t want to unintentionally mislead anyone.


Hello Miz -
First, I am so very sorry for your loss. May he rest in the peace of Christ.

With regard to the bandannas - consider looking on eBay. You can find fantastic colors and some unique and pretty designs, and the prices are generally cheaper than going to a store.

God bless your journey to the fullness of Truth!!


Thank you, Liza, for the sympathy and the information! In my area, places like Hobby Lobby also sell very inexpensive bandanas. They’re usually plain, though, as I guess most people buy them to decorate them their own way.

I know my fiance is at peace, and I’ve been praying for him daily (as well as the Rosary, the Seven Sorrows of Mary, and the Twelve Year Prayers of St. Bridget). I was widowed young too, so this is the second heartbreaking loss I’ve had to endure. All I can do is keep praying…


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