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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Seven Best Ways to Wear a Work Bandanna

IMG_4459Ahh, the bandanna, that 100% cotton work scarf that anyone who works or plays outdoors knows and loves. We use them in gardening, in archaeology, in construction, in hiking. They cover the chest and neck, whether the front “v” of a shirt, or the back exposed neck above a t-shirt.

Said to have been in existence for at least 200 years, the word apparently came from a Hindi word meaning “tied, bound cloth”. Arriving to the U.S. with pirates, the scarf became popular when the upswing in American Western movies made them popular.  Now people use them as cloth napkins at a Fourth of July picnic.

The classic bandanna, often navy or red in color and whose edge might sport some paisley pattern, is usually 22”x22”, much more than a square foot, yet just shy of two feet. It’s enough to knot around most necks, or tie one’s hair back.

Our kids have been working with us on a renovation project, sometimes indoors and sometimes outdoors (hot, hot, hot!). TheyIMG_4458 have learned: bandannas are our friends. All the better that you can buy them for a dollar at Dollar Tree or Walmart, and some come in black, light blue, bright blue, light pink, fuchsia, yellow…. The kids have learned to rock the look.

Mine is always worn like a triangle at the neck, with the long tail either in front or back, depending on what type of sunhat or cap I’m wearing. I tend to favor a turquoise and yellow print, reminding me of the South of France, a Provencal look for heavy labor, you could say. Our sons and daughters, however, have vacillated depending on their daily whims or duties. Here are a few:

The Pirate Look – worn in a triangle pointing backwards over the head, you pull the straight part low over the forehead and tie the two ends in a knot at the back of your head.

The Babushka Look – this triangle is also worn on the top of the head, but the straight part frames your face from top to bottom and the two ends are tied under the chin, like a traditional head scarf.

IMG_4457The Russian Peasant Look – similar to the Pirate Look and possibly less ominous. About the only difference I can note is that the Russian Peasant involves a red bandanna and frames a cute Russian face. If our eldest son wears a black bandanna with his beard and doesn’t smile, then it looks more Pirate-like. But he generally smiles. If our youngest, with her sweet face, wears even a black bandanna, the rosy cheeks, light hair and blue eyes still evoke someone straight off the kolhoz (communal farm).

The Fashion Flair – for the first day or two our eldest girl wore the bandanna tied around her wrist, folded bandage style with draping ends. Not sure what that did for her….

The Bandaged Head/ Sweat Band – the bandanna is folded in a triangle and then the ends folded in until you have a straight piece of material about 1-1/2 inches wide. Tie this from forehead to the back of the head, knotting in back. Great to keep sweat off your face.

The Ascot – my own favorite, not so much to collect perspiration as to shield my neck from the sun. The “v” may be worn front or back… or side, if you’re simply looking for a splash of color.

The Hair Accessory – tie back your hair in a pony tail or a 1940s headband with the knot at the top of your head. Adds a panache and may actually be helpful.

And we will leave the Bandit Look over the nose and mouth for another day.

That’s what the bandanna is all about, the work cloth that can double as a rag, as a face mask, as a napkin in time of need. Pretty nifty.


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