The current trend for all things 90’s, including the faithful bandana, isn’t going anywhere just yet. The bandana was one of the main iconic fashion pieces of that decade, giving some of us several years of fashion accessory brownie points.
I gathered quite a selection as a child/ tween after seeing various popstars of the time wearing them. This was only to be cemented even more after JLo wore an incredible white outfit to the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards that was accompanied by a studded white bandana around her forehead.
Bandanas had been doing the rounds since the early 40s and 50s and are synonymous with the Women’s Land Army of World War II and then the 50s glamour girl look. They also jumped majorly back onto the scene in the 90’s thanks to I-care-but-I-don’t-care grunge/rock chic fashion. A few paisley patterned bandanas in assorted colours (and I’ve still got mine) were definitely worth your weight in fashion gold. I even had one amazing bandana which was denim and had multicoloured bead fringing. That was my ‘cool’ one, worn often saved for parties and Year 7 discos, and accompanied by a few not so subtle streaks of blue and purple hair mascara and cheek glitter.
Fast forward a decade or two and bandanas have come back around. Revived by a host of celebrity followers, none can beat Rihanna’s tough girl bandana up do’s or Pia Mia’s trademark red paisley bandana with matching scarlet pout. Seriously, Pia makes it cooler than it was the first time round.
I’m really glad they’ve come back onto the accessory radar again, and not just so I can relive my youth. Bandanas are practical too. When the sun is out, and I want my hair off my face and neck, it’s a simple and stylish solution. The one thing I like about using a bandana instead of a headband is that it stands out, even in a softer colour, like my sky blue one. There’s something edgy, fun and vintage about the way you can tie a knot and the ends stick up. It’s a nonchalant, too cool for school vibe that is perfect for festivals and chilled out summer days. It’s like saying ‘oh these sticky out bits? I’m far to 90s to care about that…
I also like that there are three main ways to rock a bandana, all of which are encompassed within my personal mishmash style. One is literally to…errr, rock it. Mixing up a bandana with boho rock chic vibes is a great throwback to the 70s and 80s rock gods (thick kohl liner and black nails optional). Second is the 90s to early 2000s RnB style. Imagine bringing out your inner Brandy, Aaliyah or JLo with urban street wear and sports brands and mixing up a cool bandana with big hoops. Unnaturally big hoops.
Finally, and probably my favourite, is the vintage pin up sweetheart look. A super flick of eye liner, rose tinted lips and a nifty coiffed hairstyle wrapped in a bandana is one of my favourite guises. A fitting, updated homage to my dear Nana S who was in the Women’s Land Army, as she donned this favourite accessory whist doing her bit for King and Country. Who knew I would be copying her looks 70 years down the line?
And that, my friends, is why I think the bandana is such a wonderful accessory. It’s versatile and workable regardless of your fashion leaning. It’s also an easy addition to a simple hairstyle, and they come in almost every colour! Bet you can’t find denim, beaded one though…