Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
In the answer attached below, I quoted the following from Reliance:
“f5.6 It is recommended for a woman to wear a covering over her head (khimar), a full length shift, and a heavy slip under it that doesn’t cling to the body.” (Reliance of the Traveller, 122)
One of the subscribers raised a concern that this implies that it is only recommended for women to cover their heads. This is not what the quote is saying. To cover her head is obligatory for a woman inside prayer and outside it if she is in front of a man who is not her husband or close relative.
The quote is describing the optimal clothing that women must wear. The minimum clothing is a fortiori (bi’l-awla) part of the optimal clothing.
And Allah knows best.