I can understand why some Christian women are attracted to hijab. It is a code for modest dress; it is attractive and allows for the wearing of colour and pattern, if one is not inclined to be Plain; for those of Eastern European or Middle-Eastern descent, it is an appropriate ethnic dress. I am of Northern stock myself. The dress of Scottish women two hundred and fifty years ago shocked the Quakers of Phildelphia when the clans started to emigrate to the New World, so that ancestral model is not one for a truly modest woman to look to. (The issue was too much free-flowing hair and way too much bosom and ankle.) A more Quakerly approach suits me, having dressed in black as a priest for several years.
I suppose one question is if Christian women should adopt hijab. I would say that strictly speaking, no, because it implies an adherence to Islam. But adopting hijab-style principles and dress would always be appropriate. The covered head and modest garment are correct in terms of Biblical teachings, as well as Christian practice for centuries.
How much is too much? Christian and Jewish women were never required to cover their faces as a religious principle; niqab is inappropriate for Christians as a spiritual discipline. I would avoid anything that implied an ethnicity that would mislead someone. This could be an important issue in some Moslem countries. Christians should avoid dressing too native lest it lead to misunderstanding. I knew an American man who got taken in by the police for refusing to go to the mosque when he was found in the market in Arab dress, in Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, don’t dress in such a way that it would embarrrass your Moslem friends. The hijab is a sign of modesty, and a rather strict one at that. Cover from neck to ankle and past the elbow. If you are comfortable wearing pants, then the top you wear should cover down to your thighs, and be loose. The bosom should not be emphasized, nor the hips. I would avoid excessive jewelry, too; it isn’t modest to show off either wealth or fashion sense.
It is up to you to wear the hijab bonnet or simply a scarf draped to cover the hair. For those with delicate or fragile hair, the bonnet may rub too much and break your hair. It would be best to pull your hair back gently, and tie and pin the scarf rather than wearing two layers of pressure. If you have really long or thick hair, avoid the camel hump bun at the top of the head.
Make-up, if you wear it at all, is best kept natural and soft – no long lashes, obvious colours on the eyes, or china doll blush. Lipstick should be natural and light. It is not modest to draw too much attention to your features. The hijab, close to the face, already acts as a frame. Choose the fabric colour to complement your natural features, not clash.
My main concern is that while your body and hair are covered, your face is exposed to UV rays. I can’t see wearing a bonnet or large-brimmed hat with hijab, although the hat would be a good idea outdoors! A bad sunburn is dangerous, so be sure to wear a sunscreen or carry a parasol.
Those who are already wearing hijab-type dress may want to add to this, or corrct me if I’m wrong. I’d be interested to hear from you. why did you choose Eastern dress? How do other people, Christian and Moslem, react? Has it caused you problems?
Be assured that I am supportive of your decision. Modesty is always right!