How to Wear a Bandana

Thalita Ferraz // Last Update: September 17, 2022 // 0 Comments is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.  Learn More

Hey! Thinking about adding a bandana to your look for the day? Bandanas have been around for centuries as a multi-purpose tool- not excluding fashion. Notoriously known in fashion from the iconic Rosie the Riveter poster from World War II, bandanas aren’t only for wearing around your head though!  Fun fact, the name is believed to derive from the Sanskrit word “badhnati” which translates to “binds” or “to tie.”  Enough of a history lesson, though. These popular little squares of fabric come in a plethora of patterns and materials that are just begging to be a part of your outfit. Keep reading for more! 

Prepare yourself, as the bandana is the white tee of the accessory world. It can be made as a top, a bandeau, a hair tie, a headband, a belt, a bracelet, an accessory, or the focal point of an entire outfit for any season or occasion! Also, don't forget to comment below to tell me how you like to wear bandanas!

Best Places to Buy a Bandana

Our Favorite: Amazon |Luxury Option: Topshop | Budget Option: Forever 21

How to Wear a Bandana Around Your neck

The most common way to wear a bandana, is actually around the neck. Different textures, colors, patterns, and even knots are at your hands to spice up your outfit and add some versatility to your look.  Not all ties around your neck have to be like a scarf or a bib, though. I’ll talk more about that in a moment. 

I enjoy a bandana tied around the neck with a simple white t-shirt, or paired with a chambray button-up.  I’m not talking about looking like a bandit either. A way to wear it around your neck is to lay it flat and fold it up to about an inch or two to tie in the back- think a choker!  

Without folding it up, lace a chunky ring onto it before tying it, you could even use the ring to link two bandanas together! Of course, this isn’t only for summer. Bandanas can be used year round! Off the shoulder tops, v-neck tee’s, or even a dress would work well with a bandana accessory!

I also love the look of a satin bandana under a faux fur coat, rather than a classic cotton bandana. It’ll add a great juxtaposition of textures to your look.

How to Wear a Bandana As a shirt

A classic tribute to a large trend in the 90’s, the bandana tube top! With bandanas becoming more popular as fashion statements around this time, there are tube shaped bandanas that are advertised as masks but are actually excellent to pull down and make a cute tube top over it! Best part about this look? You don’t have to remember how you tied the bandana last time you wore it. These also come in a ton of patterns and fabrics, and are easily found online.  (PSA: Amazon is a great place to buy the large bandanas too, which you’ll need if you’re wanting to tie a single bandana for a tube top.) 

If tying bandanas doesn’t bother you, try tying the corners of two bandanas together starting at the back of the neck and crossing them over front, to tie them in the back with a pair of high-waist shorts or flared jeans for a cute cropped summer look! Of course, you can mix up the colors of the two bandanas you’re tying together for a two-toned top too. 

If the classic triangular top is what you’re going for, make sure you have the large square bandanas, fold it in half (to make a triangle) and tie it in the back. This gives you a great open back look. If you wanted to add an element of asymmetry you can twist the knot to the side and show a little kin with a pair of “mom” shorts, or cropped jeans and sandals for a cute casual but chic twist. 

One for the brave, is tying the bandana in the front where the look resembles a bow in the front. Perfect for summer!

How to Wear a Bandana as a Headband

So, remember I mentioned Rosie the Riveter and her iconic up-do? It's a look that will never get old, but you better believe there are more ways to wear a bandana in your hair. 

As previously mentioned, the tube style bandanas are a great one to use as a headband, or you could wrap it around up in a high pony and it'll look similar to a scrunchie! As for the square bandanas, these can be folded in half (triangle shape) for a headband, or folded up into an inch in width to wear as a headband too. 

When wearing the bandana as a headband, the tails from where it is tied off can be tucked in for a more seamless look, left to flow, or (drum roll please) even tied into your braid! Yes, braid the bandana in with your hair. I've seen it done before, it's cute. 

At the very least, the bandana can be used as a crown, also. These are cute when your hair is done in a side braid, especially if the knot is up top. 

Hair up, hair down, hair in a bun, hair in a crown... ok, joking aside. These are a great accessory for your outfits.

How to Wear a Bandana on your purse

This is one of the easiest ways to style a bandana, in my opinion, and it gives you a chance to accessorize your most important accessory- your purse or bag!

I love tying a black and white polka dot bandana to the shoulder strap of one of my solid colored bags. It’s a simple addition that makes a bland bag as full of personality as you are- or just spices up your look!

This gives you an opportunity to also have fun with knots, or even bows. Tying the bandana in a cute bow will never let you down. 

Truly, if you wanted, you could wrap a bandana around the handle of your bag. This could give it extra color, extra pattern, a different texture, or even cover a handle on that favorite bag of yours that is worn. Just wrap it around, knot both ends, and viola! 

Other ways to style a bandana

Bandanas are also very fashionable if tied around the wrists, like bracelets or higher up on the forearm as a cuff. Tuck the tails of the tie into itself for a solid cuff look, or leave them exposed and make a cute bow out of them. 

I’ve seen girls wearing bandanas around the ankle as an anklet, and also around the top of sandals for a mock ballerina shoe. 

They’re great additions to brighten up that favorite plain sun hat or fedora also!  Tie a bandana around the base of the hat to give in an extra element, or use it as a clever way to keep extra fabric with you if it gets chilly in the evening and you can switch it into a scarf.

But perhaps you want it to give your pair of denim shorts some extra oomph? Take those shorts from a simple closet staple to the fashion forward focal point of your outfit by simply using a scarf as a belt- OR even just tying it onto a belt loop or two to mimic the casual look of having it dangling out of a pocket  (without the worry of losing your favorite hankie)!


So tell me, what is your favorite way to style a bandana? Leave a comment below!

Best Places to Buy a Bandana

Our Favorite: Amazon |Luxury Option: Topshop | Budget Option: Forever 21

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