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Headband Fashion Through the Years


Model wearing thick black headband.

Headbands are one of the most popular ways to keep your hair in check. If you were born before 1970, then it's likely that at some point during childhood or adolescence headbands became a permanent fixture on your head! A headband not only kept our hair out of our faces, but they helped us look good while doing so.


Headbands have been around for centuries, and they are still popular today! But headband fashion has changed a lot throughout the years. In this article, we will talk about headbands that were popular from the 1920's on.


If you want to know more about retro style headbands, then read on!


1920's Style Headbands


This era introduced headbands to the Western world, when they became a fashion accessory for a generation of women. Headbands were prominently worn by those who wanted to keep their hair from falling into their faces, keep it off their shoulders, and keep it under control. They also served as an alternative to traditional hats which would have been too cumbersome to wear with a voluminous hairdo.


On an everyday basis, they were worn by women working in dusty factory environments where hats would have been impractical. Typically, a scarf was tied across the forehead to maintain modesty and block out dust. They were made from all sorts of materials, including satin, silk or velvet fabrics which stood out against dark work clothing.


Headbands were also a fashion statement in the 1920’s for women who wanted to flaunt their independence. They became an accessory of choice for “flappers”.


However, these weren't your average bandanas, scarves, or turbans; instead, there was a new craze where women would wear them in all sorts of colors with various patterns. Flappers would tie back long hair with an oversize headband and adorn it with jewels, feathers or other decorations that matched what they're wearing.


1930's – 1940’s Style Headbands


Headbands began to be seen as more of a feminine fashion accessory around the 1930’s and were worn outside of the workplace. Then designer Coco Chanel introduced this accessory in the 30’s in a more effortless and casual look, pairing it with belted white trousers.


The headband of the 1940’s became something very different from its fancier predecessors. During World War II, head bands transformed from decorative to utilitarian.


Women ordnance workers, working in plants for the war effort began wearing red scarves around their heads. Headscarves wrapped like turbans were a safety feature protecting their hair from heavy machinery while they worked.


Rosie the Riveter wearing her Red Polka Dot Headscarf
Rosie the Riveter wearing her Red Polka Dot Headscarf

In 1942, artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the Westinghouse Company's War Production Coordinating Committee to produce a series of posters that supported America’s war effort with an inspirational message for women. One such poster is the now-famous "We Can Do It!" which depicts a woman wearing a traditional headscarf and flexing her muscles as proof that women are strong enough to do anything men can - even if it means building bombs or fighting on behalf of our country! The woman in the poster, nicknamed Rosie the Riveter, has become an icon of strong, independent women.