Bandana Studies: A Visual Retrospective

A deep dive on our most versatile, beloved OZMA accessory…


The word “bandana” finds roots in bāṅdhnū, the Hindi word meaning “to tie.” The originally small, woven pieces of fabric were first printed by way of traditional block-printing techniques, and infused with natural dyes indigenous to the plants of South Asia and the Middle East (circa late 17th century).


While the lightweight durability of the scarf treads a history among the working class and the Hollywood Western, the personal accessory really emerges as an object of empowerment and expression in the 1940s. With her hair tied back cleanly by a polka-dot red bandana, an image of Rosie the Riveter encouraging women on the home front during WWII became one of the most iconic American images, an homage to unapologetic self-determination.


From artful origins to accessories for everyday utility, the banana ultimately represents an approach to form. Below, we revisit a few historic interpretations from women whose individual style inspires... 


Writer and feminist icon Simone de Beauvoir, elegant in both her writing and attire, was frequently photographed wearing a distinguishing head wrap. Pictured: de Beauvoir selling the revolutionary newspaper La cause du peuple in the streets of Paris, October, 1970.


Pared back – Modernist artist Georgia O’Keefe pictured at the Ghost Ranch, 1937. As a skilled seamstress herself, O'Keefe was equally regarded for her carefully crafted approach to dress, her hair often tied neatly by a knotted bandana.











Wrapped – Phenomenal woman, Maya Angelou.





                           French minimalism – Niki de Saint Phalle, pictured

                           above with Roger Nellens, ca. 1973.






As headband – Margaret Drabble in the study of her London home, 1974.





Loosely tied – Dolly Parton seen on MTP Daily.




Accented – Actress Farrah Fawcett participating in CBS Television

Competition Special "Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes" on April 3, 1977.





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