How to wear... the headband
The statement hair accessory is child’s play no more. As the schoolgirl favourite makes a catwalk comeback, Meadhbh McGrath offers the grown-up’s guide to making it work
The headband is back. "Not again," we hear you groan. But hear us out - these aren't the dainty girlish bands beloved by schoolchildren or the retro styles favoured by Princess Diana in the 80s. The contemporary offerings are decidedly more luxe.
It may be a response to years of trainers and hoodies, but fashion is embracing all-out, unapologetic glamour again, and the headband is the easiest way into the trend.
On the catwalks, headbands ranged from delicate and ballet-inspired at Dior to dramatic and beaded at Simone Rocha. They provided a dose of glitter to supple leather, well-worn denim and party dresses alike at Miu Miu, while Prada updated the Alice bands of the 60s with a new puffed-up, oversized style covered in crystals, silk or studs.
The headbands offset sporty details and smart tailoring, as well as more leather and sleek satin. Replicate the look with a neat leather dress or All Saints' slim-fitting satin coat.
At first glance, it may look a little daunting, but it's a handy way to amp up your looks for evening or to camouflage a bad hair day.
The options in stores now are fabulously varied across styles and price points. There's something for everyone, whether you prefer a classic look (head to Accessorize for a bargain buy) or want to go full glitz with an embellished design - Simone Rocha's are top of our list, but Mango, River Island and & Other Stories also offer affordable yet desirably OTT versions.
Take the entry-level route with a clean, minimal headband in plain black: it's simple enough to be hugely versatile, while at the same time adding interest to a wide variety of interests, from jeans and a T-shirt to a midi skirt and jumper. For the next step up, look to Kate Middleton, a long-time fan of the headband. Her favourite is a voluminous shape that brings subtle drama to her looks and offers an unexpected alternative to the typical array of hats and fascinators.
She's worn them in rich berry, cool blue and covered in flowers, but the most accessible is the Jane Taylor design she wore to a church service in November. The padding and velvet finish give her green coat dress an edge that the standard royal headgear can't match. Shades of teal, rust and forest green work well in this style, too, and Urban Outfitters has a good selection.
If you really want to embrace the modern headband, go for one dripping with sparkle. Rita Ora, in head-to-toe Prada, showcases how to elevate a pyjama-style co-ord with jewel-encrusted headband and dazzling earrings. Knee socks aside, it's an original and exciting take on evening wear and one we're sure to see more of this season.
Follow their lead and wear yours with hair up in a messy ponytail or bun. For a special occasion, tease the height at the crown to dress it up a bit - it looks especially chic with a bedazzled headband.
Push the band a few inches back from the hairline; you don't want to end up coming across too Zelda Fitzgerald (or Axl Rose).
Those with short hair need not feel left out. See Kate Hudson at last year's Golden Globe awards - a slim, ribbon style makes an impact without overwhelming your look.