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Best Rosie the Riveter 1940’s Bandanas

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Ever since World War II, Rosie the Riveter has been a symbol of a strong, independent woman.

"We Can Do It!" by US Department of Statei s licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Although Rosie's real identity has been the subject of much debate, her image rose to fame from an advertising campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for defense industries. “On May 29, 1943, The Saturday Evening Post published a cover image by the artist Norman Rockwell."

At that point, women everywhere started wearing bandanas tied on their heads in the way that Rosie did -- but it was for function, not style: “Rosies didn’t wear their hair pinned under scarves because they thought it was cute; they tucked away their hair to keep it from catching fire or being snatched out.”

Since then, tying a bandana like Rosie the Riveter has remained popular as a fashion statement, especially for those who love the retro, rock-a-billy style. It has also gained popularity recently during the 2020 coronavirus quarantine: Women all over the world are staying home to stay safe, which means no trips to the salon -- and no better time to channel Rosie’s hard-working attitude to do whatever you can to get through tough times. As she said, “Yes, You Can Do It!” -- and that goes for tying a bandana just like she did.

Here’s how:

You’ll need a square-shaped bandana -- the bigger it is, the easier it’ll be to tie. We love this set from RosieCentral because it measures 27” x 27” and comes with hand-painted Rosie Bobbie Pins.

Or you can go the classic way and use a red paisley bandana that measures at least 22” x 22”, like these from Soophen which are made from 100% cotton.

If you find it's just too much material for you, try a longer, narrower scarf since you just wrap around your head and tie it in a soft knot. We like this red and white polka dots headwrap by Sea Team which measures 37" x 3.5."

If you find that a normal bandana won't stay in place, then consider a headband bandana that has a wire running through it, like this Vintage Print Wire Headband by Hicarer.

Don't want to deal with any tying whatsoever? Then just a headband can give you a similar look, such as this Red Polka Dot Pin-Up Bow on Headband Hair Band by Qunson.

Or this one by Maserfaliw.

If you get really into Rosie the Riveter, you might consider going for her entire look! This kit includes a 22" x 22" cotton bandana, a collar pin, an iron-on patch and temporary tattoos.

And the Rosie the Riveter poster can be a great source of inspiration as well.


Full confession: We earn a teeny, tiny commission on the links you see here. Why? To help us stay afloat and keep bringing you the best headscarves the web has to offer. Thank you in advance for your support!

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