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Headbands are a clothing accessory worn in the hair or around the forehead, usually to hold hair away from the face or eyes. Headbands generally consist of a loop of elastic material or a horseshoe-shaped piece of flexible plastic or metal. They come in assorted shapes and sizes and are used for both fashion and practical/utilitarian purposes.
Horseshoe-shaped headbands are sometimes called "Alice bands" after the headbands that Alice is often depicted wearing in Through the Looking-Glass.
Greeks and Romans
Early 20th century
During the same period, jewelled headache bands or headbands, often in precious metals and precious gems were popular.
Princess Diana famously wore an emerald and diamond choker as a headband in Melbourne on the occasion of a state tour of Australia in 1985.
In Japanese culture, hachimaki headbands may symbolise determination or devotion.
Traditionally in Korea, warriors and members of military organizations such as the hwarang wore specialized headbands that kept hair firmly in place. Practically, these headbands served to clear any obstruction to the eyes so as to not hinder the soldier in combat. Emblematically, the headbands served to symbolize strength of loyalty and submission to the state.
Contemporary Korean high school students, particularly male students, are often portrayed donning headbands in preparation for the rigorous college entrance examinations. Students commonly write encouraging or inspiring phrases on these headbands, such as "do or die!". This practice has been largely popularized by the media.
Materials and uses
There are many materials used for headbands such as wooden, leathered, plastic, metal, fabric, hemp, teeth, human and animal hair, bone, and novelty. The leather headbands are usually glued onto a harder plastic headband, or they are hand-stitched. Plastic headbands, which are most common, can be wavy, straight or angled and come in many colours. Metal can be used to form and support leather headbands. Metal-only headbands may be plain or decorated, sometimes with precious jewels. Fabric headbands are comfortable because they do not dig into the head. They usually have an elastic band, so that the headband forms to the head. Toothed headbands have comb-like teeth that are connected to the top part of the headband. Their teeth ensure that the hair stays in place.
Novelty headbands can be used for holidays and may have decorations attached such as bunny ears, reindeer ears, Santa Claus hats and others. Headbands are often part of a larger fashion statement — they can be colour-coded and matched accordingly to one's outfit.
"Sweatband" redirects here. For the Bootsy Collins album, see Sweat Band. For the component of a hat, see Sweatband (hat).
Headbands, or sweatbands, are worn around the forehead during physical activity to absorb sweat and keep it from reaching the eyes. Sweatbands are often made of a continuous loop of terrycloth, as it is a particularly absorbent fabric. Folded bandanas, usually knotted behind the head, also serve this purpose. Headbands are usually used for sports but have not been popular since the late 1970s or early 1980s. However, LeBron James is one of the most notable players who wear a headband during basketball games. When James' signature headband fell during game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, a heavy discussion on Twitter began. The discussion spawned from LeBron's improved play in the game without his headband. A running joke and sports meme about James' receding hairline also caused several users on Twitter.com to discuss his fallen headband. James, himself, has addressed and used the joke.
Headbands are also used for protection from cold and windy weather. These headbands are sometimes called earbands, which are made from a broad strip of heavy fabric, and have a contoured shape designed to fit over the ears, forehead, and neckline. Compared to winter hats, headbands have the advantages of providing warmth to exposed skin with minimal interference with the wearer's hairdo, allowing heat buildup formed by heavy exercise to vent through the top of the head, and requiring less storage space when not being worn. This type of headband is often used by skiers snowboarders, runners, and workers who spend time in the cold weather.
Headbands are also available to prevent water from entering a person's ears while swimming. These headbands are thin, made of neoprene, and fit the head very tightly. These headbands are useful for swimmers who need to protect themselves from swimmer's ear, but find traditional earplugs or ear putty uncomfortable.
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