The bandana is the white tee of the accessories world; they’re super versatile and give even the simplest outfit an extra oomph. My ultimate inspiration when it comes to this trend? Anna McLaughlin, a CF community member and ESMOD International fashion student who’s studying abroad in Paris. Did we mention she’s also a bandana enthusiast? “You can pretty much pair them with anything,” the Indiana native explains, “put them with a dress, a little blazer, and it totally works.” To get the scoop on how she styles her bandana with that certain je ne sai quoi while living in the epicenter of French-girl cool style (plus a few tips on where to wear the Gallic piece in the city), I chatted with Anna about her approach to the beloved accessory.
The Style: Tied Around Your Neck
Where to Wear It: Coffee at an Outdoor Café
If you’re looking to dip your toe into quintessential Parisian style, this simple look is for you. Bandanas, Anna explains, “add a little bit of edge. If you want to make a bandana look grunge, I would definitely go with a motorcycle jacket.” She also advises pairing it with your favorite basics. “Stripes or a great vintage band tee underneath are always a good bet as well,” says Anna. She notes that this look pays homage to her favorite musicians, saying “I’m so inspired by music, especially from the ’60s and ’70s rock era,” she explains, “I feel like it adds to that rocker vibe.”
How to: Start by folding the bandana diagonally into a triangle. Next, roll it until it becomes long and skinny, where you can then tie the fabric loosely around your neck like a necklace.
The Style: Worn as a Headband
Where to Wear It: A Picnic at Buttes Chaumont Park
When your hair can’t be tamed, this styling tip taken from French icon Françoise Hardy is a saving grace. When Anna put together the above outfit, she explained that she “really wanted to put the black-and-white aspect of the bandana with that of the shirt’s to make my outfit look cohesive.” Consider the colors of your bandana and how they will contrast or compliment the rest of your look.
How to: The same as you did for wearing it around your neck. Fold the bandana diagonally into a triangle and then roll it until the fabric becomes long and skinny. Wrap it around your head tying it in the back, and then secure it with bobby pins so it stays put throughout the day.
The Style: Twisted Around Your Bag
Where to Wear It: Vintage Shopping in Le Marais and Montmartre on a Saturday
Looking to add a little flair to a basic bag? A bandana tied around the handle or zipper will do the trick. “I have one constantly wrapped around my little backpack,” says Anna. This is an especially easy way to make a tired black tote look a little fresher. You can even update a crossbody by wrapping an extra-long silk scarf all the way around the strap to give it a new color or texture.
How to: Tie the bandana a few times around the bag’s handle to keep it in place. Let the ends hang loose or bow it for more of a ’70s feel.
The Style: Converted into a Top
Where to Wear It: A Bike Ride Around the Tuileries garden
If you’re feeling adventurous and a little nostalgic, Anna suggests reworking your bandana into a top. “For me, this [is] about taking something unexpected and putting it where it shouldn’t be. I enjoy wearing things more when I take a risk,” says Anna. If you want to try this style, but are worried about being a bit too cold or showing skin, make it a little more covered up by layering a turtleneck or T-shirt underneath.
How to: Start by folding the bandana in half. Then, with the large triangular portion pulled across the front of your chest, wrap the ends around to your back and tie them tightly.
How do you wear your bandana? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured photo by @alwaysannawade.