How to Wear a Bandana: The Ultimate Bandana Style Guide

Ready to become a bandana expert? Here's how to wear a bandana in dozens of stylish ways in any occasion!

There are an endless number of different ways to wear a bandana and they all create a totally different look. Ready to get seriously schooled in the art of the bandana? Let’s get started!

Wrap It Up


First of all, you’ll need to know how to tie a bandana. If you have just been tying them in a simple knot on top of your head, you have been missing out! There are a million and one ways to tie a bandana. Here are a few of our favorites.

The Traditional Bandana Wrap

Step One: Start by folding the scarf in half diagonally. You should have a triangle-shaped bandana in your hand now.

Step Two: Put the bandana on top of your head. The tip of the triangle should be pointed away from your face. The center part of the bandana (where you made the fold) should be in the middle of your forehead. Hold it in place.

Step Three: Take the end pieces of the bandana that are now hanging down around your ears and tie them at the back of your head. A single knot is fine, or make a double knot for more security.

Step Four: Make sure that the pointed piece of the triangle is tucked underneath your knot and you’re good to go!

The Forehead Wrap-Around

Step One: Hold the middle of scarf at the center of your forehead.

Step Two: Pull the ends of the scarf to the back of your head and push them underneath your hair. Tie them into a simple knot.

Step Three: Adjust the bandana to show the top of your hair but cover your forehead.

The Scarf-Style Wrap


Step One: Fold the bandana in half to a make triangle.

Step Two: Hold the ends and wrap the bandana around your neck so that the triangle is in the front and pointing downward.

Step Three: Tie the ends behind your neck. Tuck the excess fabric underneath the knot.

The French Knot

Step One: Start in the front of your neck and wrap the bandana around your neck once. The bulk of it should be hanging behind you.

Step Two: Pull the ends around to the front. Make sure you have a little bit of slack and the fabric isn’t too tight. You might need a slightly oversized bandana.

Step Three: Tie a knot in the front. Let the remaining bit of fabric hang down from the knot.

The Ascot

Step One: Drape the bandana around your neck. Leave the fabric hanging down toward your chest.

Step Two: Fold the ends over each other twice. Basically, you’re just looping them around each other.

Step Three: After you are loop it over the second time, bring one side through the second loop.

Step Four: Spread out the top part of the knot so that it covers up the first loop. Imagine a tie and how it has a central piece of fabric that covers the folds. That’s what you’re trying to achieve.

The Square Knot

Step One: Drape the bandana around your neck so the ends are hanging down in front. Adjust it so that one end is longer than the other.

Step Two: Cross the long end over the shorter end.

Step Three: Once you have crossed the longer end over, you’ll have a loop. Pull the longer end through the loop.

Step Four: Pull the longer end behind the short end, then loop it around the front.

Step Five: Take the end of the longer piece that you’ve been looping around and tuck it into the knot.

The Ponytail Wrap

Step One: Make a regular ponytail with a hair-tie. (Avoid hair-ties with metal. Not only are they bad for your hair but they can also snag the fabric and make tying the bandana more of a hassle.)

Step Two: Wrap the bandana around your ponytail and knot it twice. To make it a little extra secure, string the bandana through your hair-tie once at the base of your ponytail before you wrap it around.

The Modern Mini Turban


Step One: Get your hands on an oversized bandana. You might be able to get by with a regular bandana, but a larger one makes this design easier. It really depends on your hair length and whether or not you plan to tuck your hair into the turban or wear it down.

Step Two: Fold the bandana in half to make a triangle.

Step Two: Place the bandana at the back of your head and pull the loose ends forward toward the crown of your head.

Step Three: Tie a firm knot at the top of your head. Tuck away the loose ends underneath the knot.

Step Four: Pull the fabric from the base of the bandana forward and tuck it underneath the knot so that you have a seamless look.

The Retro Look


Step One: Fold your bandana in half to make a triangle.

Step Two: Starting with the point of the triangle, start rolling it up. You’re trying to create a long piece of fabric that’s less than an inch wide.

Step Three: Place the bandana at the base of your hairline, then pull the loops to the top of your head.

Step Four: Tie a knot at the top of your head.

If you really love this look, consider investing in a cloth-wrapped wire headband that has been created just for this style. To maximize the retro appeal, add some cat-ye winged eyeliner.

The Boho Casual Look

Step One: Fold the bandana in half lengthwise.

Step Two: Wrap it around the front of your head (with your hair underneath) and leave the loose ends in back.

Step Three: Tie a knot in the back. Leave your hair loose underneath. Go for a bedhead style or beachy waves.

The Sex Kitten-Style Wrapped Bun


Step One: Use a hair donut or a sock bun. (Check out YouTube for some amazingly simple instructions on how to make these useful accessories). Wrap up your hair in the donut or sock, then add a hair tie.

Step Two: Take your bandana and fold it into a triangle. Starting with the pointed edge, roll it up until you have one long piece of fabric.

Step Three: Wrap the rolled-up bandana around your bun. Start at the top so you have loose ends hanging down at the bottom.

Step Four: Take the loose ends and tie them into a bow or let them hang down for a more casual look.

The Bandana Bracelet

Step One: Fold the bandana in half into a triangle shape.

Step Two: Starting at the pointed end of the triangle, start folding the bandana lengthwise. Don’t roll it; you want crisp lines.

Step Two: Wrap the folded fabric tightly around your wrist. Leave about an inch of extra fabric hanging on both sides. The exact length will depend on the size of your wrist. Just aim for a comfortable fit that leave you with enough room to knot the loose ends.

Step Three: Tie the fabric into a knot, then fold the excess underneath the knot.

Surprising Uses for a Bandana


Ready to take your bandana to the next level? Forget about knots on your head. Let’s get a little more creative.

The Bandana Necklace

There are a lot of amazing necklaces you can create with a bandana.

If you want something simple, tie the fabric into a series of knots, then wrap it around your neck and tie it in back.

If you’re ready for some real DIYing, the options are limitless.

Find a wide-chained necklace and wrap your bandana between the chainlinks. All you need to do is cut your bandana into strips and start wrapping.

Not into the heavy metal look? Find a necklace with wide beads and wrap you bandana over it (cut it into a strip so it’s not too much wider than the beads). Take a piece of thread and wrap it around both sides of each bead. You’ll end up with a necklace that looks like it’s made of cloth beads.

There really are limitless options. Look for some amazing DIY inspiration online and grab your scissors and thread.

An Updo for Short Hair


If you love your pixie cut but you’re starting to feel stuck in a rut, get a bandana! You can create the illusion of an updo and pull your hair up into different styles.

Any color is great for a casual look. Go for a neutral color if you want to dress it up a bit. If you have dark hair, try a black or brown bandana and wrap it up with whatever knot suits your mood. Likewise, if you have blonde hair, use a white bandana.

While a lot of bandana knots are geared toward women with longer hair, they can look even better with short hair. A bandana will add tons of volume and completely transform your look.

Fashionable Curlers

Want a heat-free way to curl your hair? Use a bandana.

Twist or fold your bandana into a basic headband shape, then tie it around your head. Keep it lower on your forehead than you normally might wear it. Aim for as close to your eyebrows as you’re comfortable with.

Once you’ve got it secured around your head, start wrapping your hair around it. Begin at the front of your head. Take sections about an inch wide and loop them around the bandana. Keep going until all of your hair is wrapped around it.

It doesn’t matter if pieces overlap as long as they are all in the bandana somewhere.

Leave the bandana on overnight, then untie it in the morning. You’ll have perfect waves.

You can vary the width of your bandana and the size of your hair sections to get different curls. The narrower your bandana and the smaller your sections of hair are, the tighter the curls will be.

If you want loose waves, go for a wider bandana and bigger sections of hair. Experiment until you find what works for your hair length and your style.

Finding the Perfect Bandana

Ready to go shopping? Track down a few bandanas that are perfect for you. Play with texture, pattern and color until you find something perfect.

If you are wearing a bandana in your hair or around your neck, it’s important to find a color that suits your skin tone. It might not seem that important but it really can make a big impact on your overall look. Some colors will make you glow while others will wash you out. Learn what works for you and embrace it!

Find Your Shade


Finding your precise skin tone can seem complicated. While you can indeed commission a detailed assessment, it’s really not that important. Focus on figuring out if your skin has a cool or warm undertone. Just look at the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they have a blue or purple shade, you have a cool tone. If your veins have a yellow or green tone, you have a warm skin tone.

Rock Your Tone

If you have a cool skin tone, look for cool colors. This means you’ll look best in black, white, gray, navy, violet and silver. Think about sky and water. Anything in this spectrum will look great on you. If you want a patterned bandana, look for something that incorporates different cool shades.

If you have a warm skin tone, go for a warm color. These are the earthy shades: dark green, brown, ivory, tan, red, yellow and gold. Black and white can look too harsh against your skin. If you are looking for a neutral shade, go for deep brown or ivory. Want a classic red bandana? It’ll look perfect on you!

Master the Arts

Remember when you learned the color wheel in school? Take another look at it if you’ve forgotten. It’s truly fashion gold!

Not only is the color wheel split into cool and warm colors, it also shows complementary colors.

Have you ever seen an amazing color block dress? The reason that some look fantastic while others fall flat has to do with those complementary colors.

If you want to do a little color blocking of your own, whip out the color chart. Find your shirt color, then look at the shade directly across from it to find your perfect bandana color. Wearing a blue shirt? Grab the orange bandana.

There you’ve got it — a complete set of tips for how to wear a bandana. Happy wrapping!

About the author

Nicci Mende

I love to travel and learn style tips from other women around the globe. I like learning how to use natural oils and cosmetics made from local organic ingredients, like kohl and henna.

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