We’re Calling It: The Black Headband Is 2023’s Most Wearable Accessory

At Refinery29 Australia, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but we may earn commission or other compensation from the links on this page.  
As far as Y2K trends go, we did not expect 2023 to see the resurgence of the humble black stretchy headband of the '00s.
But whether we're scrolling past celebrity selfies on Instagram or scouting TikTok for style inspiration from our favourite creators, the black stretchy headband trend is everywhere. And if Bella Hadid's comfortable getting papped wearing one, then we're willing to entertain the idea of repurposing a hair accessory we thought we'd left in the netball kits of our youth.
Bar the momentary childhood nostalgia, we feel somewhat reassured by the fact that the modern iterations of the black stretchy headband are a happy marriage between minimalism and sportswear. This is a trend that's not only aged well, but it's also matured gracefully.
You could argue that the trend's preppy minimalism edges towards the highly problematic quiet luxury trend and is the kind of crown that belongs on the heads of the country club card-holding elite. But doing so erases a wealth of style inspiration that stems particularly from Black women who have used black stretchy headbands and other forms of head wraps to lay down their hair for generations.
The stretchy black headband is not just a fashion statement for some; it's a part of their broader haircare routine. Celebrities like Lori Harvey and Ryan Destiny are routinely papped in theirs looking chic en route to pilates and their personal training sessions.
But as far as we're concerned, when it comes to black stretchy headband inspo, fashion content creator Jessi Regina Garcia leads the pack.
The European-based creator is also a teacher, and as a result, her outfits utilise creatively layered pieces and accessories (such as the black stretchy headband). These expert sartorial decisions allow her to meet the conservative school clothing regulations without compromising her taste.
Her impressive collection of headbands has drawn the attention of her followers, and (thank goodness) one even had the tact to ask where the creator sourced them from. Not one to gatekeep, Garcia cited ASOS and Nike as her go-to brands. But the real key to elevating the look? According to Garcia, sports headbands or neck warmers reign supreme as they're a lot wider than your standard $5 headband from the pharmacy.
Garcia regularly wears her braided hair down, but the addition of a chunky neck warmer turned headband immediately adds texture in a way that still feels easy to wear.
And on occasion, she'll pull her hair back into a ponytail and accessorise with a thinner headband that feels reminiscent of Clueless' fashion-forward P.E. lineup.

The Best Black Stretchy Headbands

When it comes to shopping the trend, we suggest following Gracia's advice and playing around with band thickness. Sportswear brands like Nike, Lululemon and The North Face all offer wide headband options, and neck warmers that can be repurposed as headwear. But if you want to stay true to the minimalist look of the '00s, ASOS offers some great inexpensive picks, and we've even spotted a bargain or two in the hair aisle at our local supermarket.
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!

More from Beauty