The History of the headband:
Like most sports accessories and tools used in today’s sports world, like the trendy accessory in sport style, soft and breathable, headbands sportsmen and women use, it all has a history going back centuries but used for different reasons.
Let’s take a look at some of the links in the chain of days long gone:
The Romans and the Greeks:
Worn as wreaths in their hair the ancient Greeks were the first use the headband which today know and uses as a trendy accessory in sport style, soft and breathable, headbands sportsmen and woman use in today’s sports world.
Worn to any important event or special occasion this head wreath was one of the most fashionable items to wear. Later on, the Romans and Etruscans added gold and silver to their wreaths as jeweled decorations.
Though today many still think that headbands came from the scarf or the modified version of the hatband tied under the chin.
The Jewish Influence:
Though still worn only by the Mizrahi Jews these days, all Jews wore the headbands as well as the turbans and Keffiyehs, in the early centuries as part of their traditional clothing.
Early 20th century:
Believed to prevent and cure headaches, women in the early 20th century wore wide headbands as a popular fashion accessory. This headband was known as the headache band because of the tight pressure it provided around the forehead of the woman.
Known in France as the bandeau and used for the same purpose. From their more lacy designs (lace bordered and decorated with rosettes and ribbons around the crochet panel in the center) back to the 1910s.
Paul Poiret one the most fashionable couturiers back in the 1920s and 1930s was an example of changing the functionality and use of the headband, as he started to wear it in a more apt and dramatic, exotic fabric sheath which was sometimes decorated with feathers.
Although today headache bands are appropriate strictly medical and practical in focus. But during the 20th century is where it reached its peak in popularity as jeweled headache bands when they were made with decorations of precious gems and metals.
The 1950s and the 1960s:
Many of the fashionable, young and glamorous women from both sides of the Atlantic (Unites States of America and The United Kingdom) wore silk veils or plastic headbands with their beehive hairstyles when driving.
Whereas in the same period time the working class females wore strips of cloth wrapped around their hair to protect them against dirty rain and the industrial smog found constantly in and around the factories they worked in and the neighborhoods they lived in.
Back as far as 1967 just after the summer of love, hippies wore paisley and tie-dyed bandanas (another form of headband styled like miniature scaled down scarf) which they fashioned in imitation of the guerrillas and leftist activists.
In the late 70s to keep cool on stage heavy metal and rock guitarist wore similar (often depicting their bands' name or logo but also brand names or signs of their sponsors and instrument makers) Guitarist such the late great Jimi Hendrix, Ted Nugent, Keith Richards, and Bruce Springsteen.
A big fad back in 1982 was a plastic headband with springy or bobbing protrusions that represented snail eyes, insect antennae or alien antennae on the little green men, a real novelty known as Deely boppers.
So huge was this headband fad that even the late Princess Diana wore one on her state tour to Australia back in 1985, but her headband was a diamond choker and emeralds as the protrusions which was way different in costs than the trendy accessory in sport style, soft and breathable, headbands sportsmen and woman use today.
Now that dealt with a bit of history, let’s take a look at the different uses and types of headbands used up until today:
Firstly we find a man wearing a headband on the Corsican flag, so what is that all about? Well, the man is a moor and originally had the headband as a blindfold, used by the freedom fighters in 1762. Pasquale Paoli then had it changed to have the headband around the forehead above the eyes as a symbol of liberation and coming freedom of Corsica and its forthcoming independence.
The headband is worn in Japanese culture which symbolizes devotion and determination as well as the Kamikaze pilots which depicted the Japanese flag is known as a Hachimaki.
In Korean tradition, their headbands were known as Hwarang, but their symbolization is for submission and loyalty to the state. Going back in time where the warriors going into battle used these specialized headbands to keep their long hair in place and prevent it from going in their eyes or blinding or distracting them during battle. Today this practice of wearing the headband, with specialized messages, worn by the young men getting ready for and while writing their exams has been popularized largely by the media, The most commonly used wording on these headbands is hegemony judge which means in English ‘do or die’.
The modern era and its use of the headband:
To prevent sweat from entering your eyes during sports activities or any other form of extreme physical activity, the headband (also known as the sweatbands) absorbs sweat when worn around the forehead.
Made mostly of terry cloth, for its absorbent abilities but also the use of a bandana rolled up and tied behind the head all acted as headbands to absorb sweat and to keep any loose strand of hair out of the eyes.
This was a huge fad from the late seventies to the early eighties but today we still find them but also the use of the armband. The arm sweatband is used to wipe any sweat from your brow before it reaches your eyes.
As most sportsmen are sponsored you will find either their sponsors emblem or name on their headbands, like LeBron James. He is one of the most notable basketball players who still wear it. It is also very popular with tennis and cricket players when playing in the high-temperature venues.
There are a few other uses for headbands under different conditions:
Used in cold weather to protect the head and ears. Made in a contoured shape that covers the ears and goes down the neckline.
Provides warmth to any exposed skin and flexible enough not to hinder the sports person's actions or activities.
When doing heavy exercise it provides a vent through the top of the head creating a nice heat buildup.
It requires less storage when not in use.
These types of headbands are popular amongst the outdoor sportsperson who spend the time in all kinds of weather, especially cold or rainy weather.
Neoprene headbands prevent swimmers from getting swimmers ear by fitting tightly over the ears and prevents water from entering and is much more comfortable than ear putty and earplugs.
Worn as mandatory protection for the girls’ Lacrosse, the protective headband made with extra padding and is also used widely in soccer.
So from the mere Greek wreath beginnings to the jeweled encrusted to the trendy accessory in sport style, soft and breathable, headbands sportsmen and women wear today we can see how important a piece of cloth and or plastic can make a difference in any person life.