Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ode to the Bandana


I have had a love for bandanas for quite awhile now and although this may seem like a strange blog post, I decided the bandana is a classic design who's style and function need to be acknowledged.

It began in 1990 when (I thought) I was moving to Europe. I condensed my luggage to just one carry-on as I knew I would be walking everywhere and jumping on and off trains. I remember throwing a bandana in my bag thinking it would serve me for so many things:
A headband
A wash cloth
A Kleenex
A napkin
A shower cap
A luggage tag
A towel
A necklace
A Band-aid
A carry-all when tied hobo style
And finally, a scarf

Some of you may avoid this universal accessory thinking you look like a cowboy or pirate when wearing one (not that there's anything wrong with that)- but not to worry. Designers from Louis Vuitton to my beloved Ralph take this scarf to a whole new level by adding their familiar signature.

My love for the bandana is two-fold. I not only love the classic paisley print because it falls somewhere between masculine and feminine but the soft cotton texture of a well worn bandana is equally appealing. Once the starchy stiffness is out there is nothing like reaching in your bag and pulling out that 'ol friend. I try to collect the dull, neutral colors whenever I find them (what a surprise) from Wal-Mart to the dollar shop but my favorite place to hunt for bandanas is the local thrift store. There they are always soft and worn and often found in offbeat colors and patterns. I even search for them on eBay now and then.

I roll them, fold them, sometimes iron them and have been known to coffee stain them to dull the colors down a bit. They're in my hair, around my neck, in a pocket or worn as a belt. (OK, not me, but maybe some of you). I also cut them in skinny ribbons to wear alone or with a pendant.

From pirates to bandits to rock stars- the bandana is one of the few accessories that are fun and functional- and sometimes found for only a $1.00! So tie one on.

My own personal stash.