How to Wear a Bandana

Fashion guide Tips

As a staple member of the style accessories department, the bandana has been around for years. You may have seen it come out of the shadows every so often to be ‘in-trend’, or you may have always seen it around, but worn in different ways.

 A lot of people envision the classic paisley print kerchief when they hear ‘bandana’ and they’d be forgiven to expect this. However, a modern women’s bandana can consist of large or small, square or triangle, print or plain piece of fabric. They are commonly mistaken for the scarf as they can have beautiful designs on silk fabric, but a scarf is actually a long rectangular shape with woven patterns.

 Now that Vogue has officially said they’re back, we believe it’s time to bring you a bit of history and a fabulous fashion style guide! So get reading for 9 different bandana styles!

 Are Bandanas ‘in-style’ for 2020?

Yes, they are! But, it may depend on how you wear them and what pattern they hold. With new fast-fashions in a stylistic modern world, we have so many designs to choose from. So, if you decide on a retro paisley-print from the noughties, or even a new high-end black and white jungle print, you’ll be able to style it with anything.

It’s clear we’ve hit an ultimate nostalgia trend from the noughties, with other questionable style choice slowing trying to crawl their way back into the spotlight; yeah, we see you over there, double-denim, get back in your box!

However, the history of bandanas is quite different: they can be traced all the way back to 17th Century Asia. Whereby, the word derives from bāṅdhnū which is the Hindu meaning of the action ‘to tie’. Since then, they have been a pinnacle in style accessories to the likes of farmers, sailors, housewives, cowboys, bikers, miners and even modern gang culture.

But… Guess who’s back, back again. Shady’s back, tell your friends!

How Can You Tie a Bandana Around Your Head?

The fantastic part about wearing a bandana, in the 2020 ‘situation’, is the coverage. We all know it’s been a little difficult not being able to see our beloved hairdressers, but the bandana is here to your rescue!

Have you got greys coming through or did you try a box dye that didn’t go to plan? There’s a style for you!

Look 1: To hide the pesky roots, you’ll want to first part your hair with a centre parting. Then grab your beautiful bandana and fold the corners to make a triangle. Fold twice more along the long edge to make a long rectangle. Place the centre of the bandana at the top of your head and then bring it down under your hair and tie a knot.

Look 2: You could also try the same technique as Look 1, but for days where your hair might look a little greasy! For this look, you’ll want to follow the same steps but put the centre of the bandana under your hair. Then, bring the sides up to the top of your head and tie a knot or bow. Go from sleek to pretty as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Look 3: For a vintage style, try out the ‘pin-up’ look. The first thing you’ll need to do is gather some hair at the top of your head and tease the roots. When you’re happy you have got some volume, bring it back and pin into place like a pouffe. Gather the rest of your hair and flatten against your head with bobby pins anyway you like. When you’re ready, fold your bandana in half to create a triangle and place the centre of the long edge under your hair, against your neck. Bring the two sides up to the top of your head and tie a knot behind your pouffe. Bring the tip of your bandana over your hair and tuck into your knot at the top. Tidy up the edges by tucking the sides of the bandana into the long edge. Now, go get ‘em, you vintage queen!

Look 4: The Princess Grace Kelly. When you see images of Grace Kelly, you’ll most likely see her using this bandana/headscarf style. Step one would be to lay your bandana out on a flat surface and then starting from one corner begin to roll inward for approximately 3-inches. Then, place the centre of this new long-edge at the top of your head, allowing the opposite corner of the bandana to drop down with your hair. Take your two side corners and bring down in front of your chin. Cross them over and take to the back of your head to tie in a knot or bow. Voila!

Look 5: If you have a bun in your hair and you want to accessorize with a bandana, then we’ve got a solution for you. Take your bandana and lay on a flat surface. Fold in half and the roll the long-edge toward the opposite corner. Place the centre of your bandana on the top of your bun and then bring to the bottom. When you’re here, depending on the size of your bandana and your preferences, you could either wrap it around your bun once more or you could tie it off with a knot or a bow and let it drop down. This is a gorgeous and Parisian look for all those travellers out there.

How Can You Tie a Bandana Around Your Neck?

So, if you don’t have any hair that you’d like to hide or accessorize, you could always wear your bandana around your neck. It can be in the style of a cute choker or even a large scarf-like bow.

Look 6: Lay your bandana flat on a surface and starting from one corner, begin to roll in inwards. Roll-up your entire bandana and then place at the back of your neck slightly off-centred. Bring the two ends around your neck and tie into a drooping bow. This look can be worn anywhere from cosy Winter nights in a jumper and boots, or hot Summer days on the beach in a swimsuit, sunglasses and sunhat.

Look 7: The traditional bandana neck tie: this look is great on top of lightweight summer jumpers or a plain-tee. You’ll want to lay your bandana flat on a table and then take a corner. Fold the corner into the bandana about 1.5 inches in. Then keep folding this amount into the bandana until about ¼ is left as a triangle. Take the two long edges and then tie them together at the back of your neck. You should have a triangle of bandana hanging in the front. Turn to the side or wherever is comfortable and you have an easy shic addition to your outfit.

How Can You Use a Bandana Without Hair?

So, if you’re one of our lovely ladies who have short hair or no hair, then there are still bandana styling options out there for you. For long and silky looks to short, bohemian looks we have some choices for you!

Look 8: With your bandana, choose an edge and place the centre of that edge on the top of your head. The rest of the bandana should be behind our head. Then, take the two corners at the front of your bandana, twist them around and bring them to the back of your head. Tie them together using a knot or a bow and brig your excess bandana across a shoulder of your choice. This look goes great with some long earrings!

Look 9: To cover your head, consider that adorable ‘bow’ look. Lay your bandana flat on a surface and fold in half diagonally to create a triangle. Place the bandana over your head with the top corner (opposite your long edge) drooping over your forehead. The long edge of the bandana should be on your neck. then, get the two corner edges of your long edge and bring to the top of your head. Fold the excess triangle over the knot to face the back of your head and then tie a bow on top using your corner edges. Separate the bow to make it bigger on your head and then you can twist the wrap to position your bow wherever you’d like; on the side or in the middle.

The beauty of the bandana, is that you don’t need hair in order to make the look. There’s nothing stopping you from accessorizing with looks 1-4. It’s always a case of trial and error, and ultimately finding what works best for you!

What Are Some Other Ways to Accessorize with a Bandana?

  • Tie a bow around your handbag
  • Tie a bow on your wrist
  • Use your bandana as a belt with some culottes, chinos or tapered pants.
  • Use your bandana to tie-off your braid with a bow

The bandana is something that can be worn by anyone and everyone, even you. And, we highly recommend trying out a style or two from our look book to see which best suits you. Especially when we all emerge from our worldwide lockdown!


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