Men’s fashion is unfathomably diverse. There is so much variety in everything from extremely meticulous suits to the most basic t-shirt outfits. Two men can wear the exact same outfit and look completely different. A large chunk of this diversity, however, is thanks to the amazing accessories men have at their disposal. Small details like wristwatches and beanies completely transform the vibe of a particular ensemble.
Among all of the amazing and unique accessories, one stands out as a cut above the rest; the bandana. It is one of, if not the most interesting accessory in a man’s closet. You rarely see one in public, yet it fits perfectly with our modern trucker jackets and contemporary urban fashion.
Bandana Style Origins
Depending on what your definition of a bandana is, they date back way further than you might think.
A bandana is a square hand-held cloth with printing on it. By this description, the earliest bandana dates back to 1680s Gujarat. Then the United East Indian Company brought these to Europe, and the Europeans began to adopt its design.
Arrival in America
The bandana as we know it today (a unisex square handkerchief that’s printed) began its journey in late 1700s colonial America. The last big leap in a bandana as a piece of fashion came in the 1900s along with the industrial revolution. Massive innovations in printing technology made mass-producing bandanas easier than ever. They were much more durable and long-lasting than paper pamphlets, thus becoming a colossal outlet for propaganda.
Becoming a Part of Fashion
The late 1900s brought the bandana away from the revolution and propaganda stuff and made it a part of the musical fashion. Artists like Jimi Hendrix and other legends of the era cemented bandanas as a part of popular fashion, and they’ve remained like that ever since.
Bandanas and Symbolism
There was a time when bandanas were used to represent one’s affiliation with a particular gang or group. This signal was meant for both, as a friendly gesture for allies and a warning for the enemies. Today, this use by gangs is still present, but it is much tamer than it was back then.
Wearing a Bandana Today
A bandana is still a symbol of many things. It can be used to wear a matching garment with your friend group at an event like a concert. Or they are also used at protests with propaganda colors and symbols on them.
Luckily, wearing a bandana as just a piece of fashion is a lot more accepted now than it was even a decade ago. You can coordinate a colorful bandana to your outfit, match it with your shoes, or just wear it as an accent piece without it looking out of place.
Ways to Wear a Men’s Bandana
So, now that you have a better idea of what a bandana was and what it is today, it’s time to explore its fashion possibilities. Here’s how you can wear a bandana.
On Your Head
Wearing a bandana on your head is one of, if not the easiest, ways to wear a bandana. Just tie it around your forehead, and you’re done. However, that is not where the stylistic options end. For example, wearing a bandana with no color coordination with the rest of your outfit is no good. So, why don’t you pair a blue bandana with something like a maroon flannel? The flannel will definitely compliment that bandana and take your overall look to the next level.
Around Your Neck
If wearing a bandana on your head was the easiest thing to pull off, wearing it around your neck has to be the most difficult one. There is a lot that can go wrong, but if you do nail it perfectly, the final look is definitely worth the effort.
The best way to wear a bandana around your neck is to make it the center of attention. All you have to do is wear a vibrant bandana alongside a monotone corduroy jacket with confidence. The key thing to note here is confidence, as that is going to completely make or break your look.
A great example of this outfit would be something like a pair of blue jeans, a white t-shirt, a matching blue safari jacket, and a red bandana tied around the neck. The outfit without the bandana is just okay. However, it is a masterclass in modern unconventional fashion with the bandana.
Across Your Wrist
Wrapping the bandana around your wrist is one of the most subtle ways to add some attitude to your attire. Wear a pair of black jeans, a white t-shirt, and a leather jacket on top; you just look like a stylish but normal dude. Now add the black bandana on your wrist with the sleeves pushed back, and now you’re giving off that undercover Rockstar vibe.
One of the best parts about wearing it around your wrist is that it is extremely subtle. Bandanas on both the head and neck can attract a lot of attention. But you can go all day without getting the bandana noticed if you want that. It also gives a fantastic opportunity to add an accent color without sacrificing the rhythm of your core attire.
As A Pocket Square
Pocket squares are usually fairly bland, all things considered. However, they don’t have to be flashy as they are surrounded by one of, if not the best item from men’s fashion; a full suit. That being said, there is still room for improvement. Using a fancy bandana is a marvelous way to flare up a regular suit and give yourself a unique identifier without standing out from the crowd.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear a bandana with a mostly leather outfit?
Yes, you can, but make sure that the color fits. The fabric gives you a lot of leeway with color combinations. Leather, on the other hand, contrasts very firmly with another color. So, black bandanas with black leather are great, so is a blue bandana with brown leather. But, wearing a red bandana alongside a rustic brown even with your best bomber jacket is not a good idea.
Can I use my bandana as a handkerchief?
You can definitely do it, but you should not. Just like you shouldn’t wipe your hands with your beanie, wiping them with a bandana isn’t recommended either. If you really want to use one as a handkerchief, get a second one. Keep a separation between the fashion and the functional one.
How can I wear a bandana in winter?
If it’s winter and you’re packed with winter jackets and all sorts of other protective clothing, finding a place for the bandana can be a bit difficult. There are two main options. The first is to tie it to a belt loop and let it hang to your side. Or, on the other hand, you can tuck it in the middle of your shirt/jacket collar as a makeshift tie.
Do I have to worry about gangs while wearing a bandana?
If you’ve done everything correctly, then you shouldn’t be worried at all. However, it is still a good idea to actively avoid the colors and designs of the gangs in your local area (use the internet to find more about them). Other than that, bandanas are okay to wear everywhere.
What footwear looks best with bandanas?
It depends entirely on what you’re planning on doing with the outfit. If it is going to lean towards an urban environment, then high-tops are the way to go. If you’re more into the cowboy stuff, then ankle leather boots are the best option to choose from.
Does a white bandana look good with a brown jacket?
Yes, it does. In fact, it looks fantastic. The pure white of the bandana contrasts beautifully with the rich browns of a brown leather jacket. Make sure you’re also wearing bright blue jeans for the full effect of this attire.
Can I wear a bandana daily?
It depends entirely on what you do on a daily basis. Suppose you work in an office, then no because the office dress code will certainly disallow a bandana. But if you’re an artist, or dressing up with style every day is a possibility, then go for it. Just remember to be creative with your banana habits and switch things around to keep them fresh.
As far as men’s accessories and fashionable items are concerned, bandannas are an odd one. However, even its involvement in gang affairs is not a good enough deterrent from the potential of a well-placed bandana. You can send a message, look edgy and stylish, and stand out from the crowd, all thanks to this one printed square of cloth.