I am Messianic Jewish and have been covering my hair out in public for only about 6 months now for religious reasons. It all started with my journey to seek to live as closely as possible to how the Holy Scripture (Bible) says a righteous woman should live and act.
Covering my hair has significant spiritual implications for me. A woman's hair is said to be her crowning glory, so many women of old grew it long. To remain modest and not "show off" their glory, they covered it. Covering it also has some other purposes. It reminds me that I am not under my own authority, but that G-d in Heaven is the authority over me, as well as the fact that I am to be submissive to my husband, who has been appointed to have leadership over me, and whose authority I am under, here on earth.
At home, I only cover my hair when we have company or I can be seen doing work on my back deck since my daughter and husband are the only other two in the home. If I had male children, I would cover in my home as well. Not many others in my immediate community cover besides my daughter and I, so we get the stares and even laughed at quite often. It bothered me at first, but it has come to the point it really doesn't bug me most times because it just feels right. I say most because if the person takes it too far and is in my face like the lady sis last night at the grocery store, I usually say something and that ends it....lol. Last night this lady in the grocery store was staring at me so obviously, even followed me up the aisle with her gaze fixed on me, so I finally turned to her and said "Do you also stare at disabled people this way because they're different, too?". Let me tell you, she turned tail and walked away so fast I thought she was going to knock someone over.
My journey has also taken me to a place where I wear only skirts mid shin length or longer and tops that have only short sleeves or longer and no revealing necklines.
Holy Scripture tells us that our bodies are only for our husbands enjoyment, and as such we should not be revealing them in any way to men who are not our husbands! This includes younger women who are not married yet...they are to reserve their bodies for their husband's viewing only!
Let's face it, we all know men are visual and sexual creatures. They have this draw towards beautiful, appealing things. I never used to view my hair or legs as sexual or visually appealing things. But as I prayed and asked G-d to move me in the direction HE wanted, more and more I started to notice things I had not before, such as MANY men staring at my legs when I wore knee length or above skirts or staring at my ample cleavage if I had on a V-neck shirt. Men AND women started complimenting me all over the place on my long, thick, shiny hair, telling me how beautiful it is. This convinced me that I needed to cover those things so as not to cause anyone to stumble by being envious (women) or having lustful thoughts.
My journey is not over yet. I am only beginning and honestly, it has been liberating and wonderful! We are told in Holy Scripture not to conform to the world and to be set-apart and holy as G-d is holy. I find myself being more devoted as a mother, wife, and person who follows G-d, and also more faithful to G-d's word when I walk in modesty. Walking in modesty is the ONLY way a woman who calls herself a follower of G-d should walk! It is a direct reflection of what is in our hearts!