How To Wear A Bandana For Men

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What is a bandana? A classic bandana usually is a triangular or square piece of cloth. Bandanas have been in the fashion industry for many decades now. It generally features a white, black or red paisley pattern. At first, a bandana can seem to be a bit hippie’ish kind of accessory, but if worn the right way it is more a classic and timeless choice. This guide is going to show you how to wear a bandana for men.

A Brief History of a Bandana

Another word to name bandana (or bandanna) is a kerchief. From the French ‘couvre-chef’ it means headwear or head cover. The history of kerchiefs may even vary by culture or religion. Bandanas supposedly originated in the Indian continent as bright coloured cloths of silk or cotton. The word bandana derives from the Hindi words bāndhnū, or “tie-dyeing,” bāndhnā, “to tie,” or from Sanskrit roots bandhnāti, “he ties,” and Sanskrit bandhana, “a bond.” Bandana prints for clothing were first produced in Glasgow from cotton yarns. Now they are made in a wide range of colours, patterns, fabrics, and sizes.
Men with red bandana
Sergio Ines | IG whatmyboyfriendwore

In 2017, there was a fashion week movement called #TiedTogether. Its central symbol was the white bandana, which was incorporated into runway shows by designers. The initiative made a statement in “support of solidarity, human unity and inclusiveness”. It meant to be a sign to the world of belief in the common bonds of humankind—regardless of race, sexuality, gender or religion. 

What Are Bandanas Made Of?

If you are looking for how to incorporate a bandana in your daily clothing, here’s a first step where to begin: select the right fabric. It is an incredibly versatile piece of accessory.

Cotton or cotton blends. Cotton is a light, soft and breathable material, also easy to fold so makes you feel comfortable by wearing it. This material is ideal for casual or even smart-casual looks.

Silk or satin. These are perfect for colder climates because of the ability to hold heat. Silk bandana is excellent to add a touch of extravagance to your look. Choose it when heading to a meeting or a party. Just note that they are also delicate and require more care when washing or ironing.

How To Wear a Bandana For Men?

Men wearing a neck bandana
Erik Mannby | IG erikmannby
This accessory can be worn in a variety of ways and is perfect for adding either an edge or a compliment to any look. Whether you’re meeting with somebody or heading to a smart casual event, a bandana can certainly make a unique addition to your outfit.
  • Around The Neck
  • Around The Head
  • Around The Wrist
  • As a Pocket Square
  • Around Ankle or Leg
  • On Your Bag

1. Around The Neck

This is probably the easiest and most popular way to wear a bandana. It’s not too edgy and can work for both casual and smart casual occasions. Just fold or twist it, place it around your neck and tie a knot at the front or on one side. If your bandana is large enough, you can even wear it as a scarf. Just one thing to follow – be attentive of your bandana’s colour. Choose bolder tones like red or black to add some emotion or go with some neutral and softer shades for outfits that already hold colour. You can wear a bandana to complement a T-shirt and leather jacket look. Bandanas can also work as a neck cooler or warmer, depending on how they are tied.

Embroidered paisley print cotton bandana

2. Around The Head

For a braver and more rock-and-roll look, you can try tying your bandana around your head – it’s perfect for achieving a statement style. Though this way is better for casual street style occasions such as festivals or gigs. Lay it flat, fold it lengthways for multiple times until it turns into a long and narrow rectangle and tie it around your head. It’s perfect for summer days. Try wearing it with a hat, for instance, a fedora.
Embroidered printed cotton bandana

3. Around The Wrist

Another simple yet incredibly stylish and subtle way to wear a bandana is to wrap it around your wrist. This look works best with classic coloured bandanas with paisley prints. Don’t be too neat – it’s unnecessary to ideally fold it, cause a bandana around the wrist looks best when worn in a little messy way.
Bandana cotton bracelet

4. As a Pocket Square

This style is probably the favourite of mine. A bandana can be incredibly versatile. Perfect for even for smart occasions, a bandana can easily be folded and placed in your jacket pocket for a quick and easy touch of elegance. One with a striking pattern or bright colour will stand out while subtle patterns will blend in. Also, note the size and fabric weight of the bandana – I would choose a thicker one, so it pokes out of the pocket. It’s also essential to not to forget to iron your bandana before using it as a pocket square.

5. Around Ankle or Leg

An ankle is not the primary spot you’d consider tieing a kerchief. However, it can elevate a laid-back look. Tying bandana to your ankle distinguishes the outfit. If you are wearing a simple outfit such as Levi’s jeans and a white shirt, try pairing it with a bandana around your lower leg. That would undoubtedly add hype to your look.

6. On Your Bag

If you don’t feel like actually wearing a bandana but still want to spice things up a little bit – a great choice is to tie it around your bag or a backpack. Whether you are navigating through the airport or going to a meeting, this style will add some romance to your overall look. Again – so easy.

When To Wear a Bandana?

Although a bandana is being associated with western films, rappers, bikers or pirates, personally I think they are far from that. I found bandanas an incredible interesting accessory to add to the wardrobe. On the other hand, sometimes it’s possible to go too tacky styling them, so it certainly takes some courage to experiment. However, it’s enough to have only a few different bandanas – they can work for any season or occasion and create a playful yet elegant appearance. This accessory can be worn in a variety of ways and is perfect for adding either an edge or a compliment to any look.

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2 Responses

  1. My husband also loves to wear a bandana. But he can not tie it well. I will share this post with him. I think this post and video will help him so much. Thanks a lot for sharing such great stuff.

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