17 Ways To Style The Humble Bandana

Photographed by Christene Barberich.
There's definitely something in the air. Our senior style editor Annie Georgia Greenberg came back from a weekend at a poetry convention in Elko, NV, sporting her “wild rag” at least once a week. Our market editor Rachel Besser, inspired by ’90s hip-hop style and a particularly brutal winter, had been sporting thrift-store bandanas around her neck to block out the cold…and then, just because it looked good. And — bam! — it was on the runways, too, at Coach; and our favourite street style buds like Leandra Medine and Sue Williamson were doing things with them that had us bulk-ordering them from Amazon.

Everyone is wearing them, and it’s always so GOOD, editor-in-chief Christene Barberich turned to me one day to say. And, it’s true — there are certain micro-trends that get less shiny as more people adopt them. But not so with a bandana. Every single time we see one tied around a braid or worn under a collar, it looks more appealing to us. A lot of it has to do with its endless variability. There’s no wrong way to wear it, and an infinite number of so right ways, that spotting a new bandana trick can feel like a treat each time.
In honour of this timeless trend, we rounded up some of Refinery29’s biggest bandana fans to show us how they wear theirs. And in the spirit of its ease, its spontaneity, and its you-do-you spirit, our editor-in-chief snapped all these shots using her iPhone during one cloudy NYC afternoon. You crash course in bandana-worshipping, ahead.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Elizabeth Buxton, editorial associate
Bandana Tip: Wrap a bandana around the handle of your bag, and knot both ends.
Extra Credit: Intertwine two bandanas to double the colours.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Annie Georgia Greenberg, senior style editor
Bandana Tip: Fold the bandana over diagonally, roll it into a snake, then tie it around your neck in the front.
Extra Credit: Do like Annie and string a big, chunky ring through the ends for an added bit of bling.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Gabrielle Laub, producer
Bandana Tip: Fold your bandana into a long, flat ribbon and tie it around your neck, with the ends in the back for a choker effect.
Extra Credit: We love wearing them with deep V-necks and lots of skin.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Brittnee Cann, QA team lead
Bandana Tip: Brittnee has been rocking this look regularly: Tie a bandana around your ankle, with the ends on the outside. Wear with bare legs.
Extra Credit: Tie it over a cropped skinny jean like Brittnee did here for a cooler-weather look.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Leeann Duggan, style features editor
Bandana Tip: Use your back pocket to show off the corner of a bandana, like a pocket square. Says Leeann, "In every pic of my mom in the '70s, she was wearing a Western-checked shirt tucked into high-waisted Levi's, with a red bandana folded into a rectangle with a point sticking out of her left back pocket."
Extra Credit: The bandana in the back pocket has deep connotations for many social groups, so read up before you head out.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Zooey Purdy, product manager, Content
Bandana Tip: Tie it under your hair and rock the knot to the side for an update on Rosie the Riveter's second-best accessory (the first was her bicep, duh).
Extra Credit: Tuck in the ends of the bandana for a more streamlined look.

The Reformation dress.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Katie O’Donnell, associate fashion editor, Brand Experiences
Bandana Tip: On racerback tanks, knot your bandana on the very back to create a cute bow.
Extra Credit: For tanks with too-long straps, tying them together in the back with a bow can help you shorten them in style.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Rockie Nolan, associate photo editor
Bandana Tip: Wear a bandana underneath a high-collared shirt for a faux turtleneck effect.
Extra Credit: You were wearing a black or white turtleneck all winter long, so just swap it out for a black bandana or a white bandana. Not only do you get to inject a splash of pattern into your outfits, but it's also way less hot.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Bethie Girmai, assistant stylist
Bandana Tip: Tie the tips of two bandanas together and wrap them around you as a top. Wear this with high-waisted bottoms and heaps of confidence.
Extra Credit: If you need extra support on top, wear this with a strapless bra, and then tuck the sides of the bandanas into the bottom of the bra to hide them. You won't get the extreme upside-down-V shape, but it'll still create the same how'd-you-do-that? effect.

Marques ' Almeida shorts.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Cat Quinn, deputy beauty director
Bandana Tip: For ladies with Rapunzel locks, you can braid the bandana into your hair for even more volume.
Extra Credit: Treat the bandana as its own plait. Instead of adding hair to it as you braid, separate your own hair into two sections and use the bandana as the third for a neater braid.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Taylor Bryant, beauty news editor
Bandana Tip: Wrap your bandana around an old fedora whose trim has worn down.
Extra Credit: This is a great tip for music festivals when you don't want to deal with extra fabric when the sun is beating down, but you'll need a bandana for errant dust storms and when it starts getting chillier at night.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Samantha Yu, Brand Experiences manager
Bandana Tip: Use a large bandana like a sarong to add some interest to a crop-top outfit.
Extra Credit: We also love the idea of colour-coordinating the bandana to a pencil skirt or skinny trousers for a DIY apron situation.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Madison Utendahl, creative associate
Bandana Tip: Tie bandanas on your upper arms to wear with your strapless situations.
Extra Credit: Layer it with arm cuffs and bangles worn above your elbows for an update on the 2013 arm party.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Alyssa Coscarelli, fashion market writer
Bandana Tip: Buy an extra-large bandana, fold it in half, and then tie it around your torso for a strapless look.
Extra Credit: To make sure it stays up, wear it on top of a strapless bra and tuck the bandana into the top for more security.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Candace Sautman, PM/producer
Bandana Tip: Tie your bandana around your wrist to wear with your mish-mash of bangles, bracelets, and watches.
Extra Credit: If you've got a cuff that's too big to normally wear, slide it on over the bandana to give it some extra padding.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Rachel Besser, market editor
Bandana Tip: Wear yours like a sweatband tied tight around your head. It's a great idea for sweaty days (especially for women with bangs).
Extra Credit: Instead of rolling it up, try leaving the ends loose, TLC-style.
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Photographed by Christene Barberich.
Carissa Tozzi, VP, talent relations
Bandana Tip: This is the classic. Fold a bandana diagonally, and tie it loosely around your neck. Wear it up high like a bandit, or let it get scrunched up like a statement necklace.
Extra Credit: This look dresses up a plain T-shirt, but can look killer with more dressy, show-offy tops, too.

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