The History of the Headband

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Jesse Schiller | 7 comments

hand dyed headband by KOOSHOO

Recently we were invited by a blog to submit a short history of the headband. Turns out the humble headband has quite a regal history. Here's the story we wrote:


It is generally agreed that headbands have been popular accessories since the ancient Greeks nearly 2,500 years ago. At that time, headbands, or more appropriately, hair wreaths, were worn to mark special occasions and important events.  Most famously the special wreaths were bestowed upon the winning athletes of the ancient Olympics, marking the beginning of not only a tradition that continues today but also the origin of the modern sports headband
sports headbands

Little is documented about headbands over the next two millenniums but by the 20th century headbands had begun their modern day rise as fashion accessories. Headache bands (tightly tied wide headbands) kicked off the century, becoming popular hair accessories while claiming to relieve and prevent headaches.

However, it was in the 1920's that headbands exploded onto the fashion scene with the Flappers movement. The feathered and sequined headband quickly became the defining look of the Flappers and will no doubt soon be enjoying another turn in the sun with the pending release of The Great Gatsby. 

 Flapper's headband from The Great Gatsby

America’s love affair with the fashion headband grew more fervent mid century as Hollywood’s biggest starlets popularized the look. The stunning French actress Brigitte Bardot was oft photographed wearing her striking bandana headbands (pictured) whilst Audrey Hepburn and Princess Grace Kelly were popularizing the glamorous headscarf look. 
Bandana headband with Brigitte Bardot
It was in this era that Hollywood began it's long lasting love affair with the headband. Over the years headbands have been featured in many of Hollywood's greatest blockbusters including Rambo, The Karate Kid and, more recently, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. 
bandana headband Karate Kid

The late 60’s and 70’s marked not only the era of the flower child headband but a resurgence to prominence of the sports headband. The veritable boom in sports headbands was led by tennis greats John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg (pictured) and basketball icon Slick Watts (note the great documentary-short below). It wasn't long before amateur athletes around the world were turning to sports headbands in imitation of their sporting heroes. 

sports headbands John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg

By the 1980’s, in the height of the neon craze, the terry cotton sweatband had become the workout accessory of choice. Mega-stars like Olivia Newton John and Jane Fonda owned the sweatband look as few before them ever had (case in point, the video below), spawning not only an aerobics boom but a neon heyday for the headband. 

Today headbands are perhaps as popular in fashion and sport as they have ever been. Tennis greats like Rafa and Roger Federer, along with what seems like every basketball star in the NBA, are seldom seen without their sports headband whilst in the fashion world a host of companies are pushing the category into new, innovative directions. 

Here at KOOSHOO Lifestyle Inc, a values-driven accessories company founded by yoga teachers, we believe that going green is the natural evolution of the headband. More than ever before, customers are making their purchasing decisions based on both the aesthetics of the product and it's back-story. Hence the phenomenal rise in eco-fashion sales over the past half decade. When presented the choice between two beautiful, fashionable headbands where one is made from petro-chemically derived synthetics and the other ethically and organically grown cotton that is as soft as you can possibly imagine, it becomes easy to see where the future of headbands lies. 

Previous Next


  • shiniquia mary-jane eastlake

    i’m to kewl for school (and headbands) #totes out of fashion!

  • shiniquia mary-jane eastlake

    i’m to kewl for school (and headbands) #totes out of fashion!

  • shiniquia mary-jane eastlake

    i’m to kewl for school (and headbands) #totes out of fashion!

  • shiniquia mary-jane eastlake

    i’m to kewl for school (and headbands) #totes out of fashion!

  • shiniquia mary-jane eastlake

    i’m to kewl for school (and headbands) #totes out of fashion!

  • harry larry barry

    headbands r soooo amazing m8

  • jonny timmy lenny

    headbands r kewl!!!


Leave a reply

This blog is moderated, your comment will need to be approved before it is shown.

Scroll to top