10 ways to 1920s style: part 8, the bandeau

Bebe Daniels in a
perfect bandeau
What the cloche hat was to daytime, the bandeau was to evening. It was essentially a strip of decorated fabric worn around the forehead, coming low over the eyes. Like the bob hairstyle and the cloche hat, the bandeau and evening cap make the wearer’s head look small and neat, in contrast with the piled up and padded hair and flamboyant hats of the Edwardian age.

In the 1920s, even tiaras were worn in the bandeau style: one a lot of jewellery lovers would love to see being worn again is the Strathmore Rose tiara, given to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon – better known as the Queen Mother – for her wedding.

Whether fabric or diamond, bandeaux largely went out of fashion after the 1920s. I don’t know why; perhaps no-one wanted to cover up precise 1930s waves of hair, perhaps the more sedate style of dancing meant one’s hair didn’t need restraining quite so much or perhaps people simply wanted something new and different, not the previous generation’s style.

Little evening caps were also sometimes worn. I say ‘little’, but these whole-head garments fitted very closely, like little helmets. I’ve seen them made of lace or feathers, and even some resembling pastel-coloured hair, but my favourites are beaded all over, becoming in essence a jewelled version of the bobbed hair beneath. There’s something wonderfully robotic about them, as though the wearer is half machine herself.

To get the look, you can tie a scarf in imitation of a bandeau (if you do, choose your fabric carefully) or even sew one yourself. Choose a fabric that matches the dress you plan to wear it with. The basic shape is easy and it’s a small item, so if, like me, you don’t own a sewing machine it’s still not too daunting a task. And you can really go to town with embroidery and beading later.


  1. Brilliant idea to make a bandeau....I should really make it my next project! Love the 1920s too. Hope you are having a fabulous week!
    May x

  2. Yes, I agree! They'd be so easy to make and I bet they would be cute with outfits from other eras or modern fashion too!


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