bandana color meaning

bandana color meaning- What colors are safe to wear

by Dylan Baker
Updated on

Bandanas have been around for ages and over the years they have served different purposes.

There was a time when bandanas were associated with criminals or gang members, then it got popular among rockstars and then the fashion icons started wearing them.

It is a simple piece of cloth that gets associated with so many different things and that is what confuses so many people about it.

In the last couple of years, bandanas have gotten really popular and a lot of people in the streetwear community have started using them in their outfits.

A lot of people want to try them out but they are not sure about the meaning of different bandana colors.

In this article, we will tell you what the different bandana colors mean and what are colors you should avoid.

Bandana Color Meaning

Bandana has been associated with different things throughout history. 

Bandanas are often used to represent gang affiliations, different gangs have different colors. The most common bandana colors that are used by different gangs are black, red, gray, yellow, and white. Gang members tie the bandana of the gang color on their head or keep it hanging in their trouser pockets which shows their affiliation to a particular gang.

Other than that bandanas were also used by the people of the LGBTQ community in the latter part of the twentieth century to show their sexual preference and relationship status at bars and restaurants, It is commonly called the hanky code.

In the 1980s people also used to wear bandanas to represent their favorite brands and it was common for bandanas to have logos of bands and singers like  Ozzy, Pink Floyd, and Def Leppard, etc.

black bandana meaning

A solid Black bandana usually doesn’t represent any gang or affiliation and is a good neutral color that you can wear without any fear.

Black bandanas with some particular designs and patterns are used by gangs in some areas and you should be careful when you are wearing a black bandana with some patterns on it as it might be affiliated with some gang.

red bandana meaning

Red bandanas are known to be worn by members of the blood gang. It is one of the colors that are very common among different gangs and you should definitely be careful when wearing a red bandana.

Red is one of the most popular colors among gangs and various gangs around the US use red bandana to show gang affiliation.

gray bandana meaning

Gray bandana is commonly used by Asian gangs in various parts of the country. If you are in a neighborhood where Asian gangs are active then you should definitely avoid wearing the gray bandanas. 

green bandana meaning

A green bandana/flag is worn by the Bay Area Crips (BAC) on the left pocket. They usually wear black and green to represent the Hyphy Movement.

Green is again a very popular color among gangs and various gangs around the country wear green bandanas to show their affiliation.

So you should be careful if you are wearing a green bandana.

white bandana meaning

White represents peace and unity and usually, a white bandana is a safe neutral option that you can wear without worrying about being mistaken for a gang member.

If you want to wear a bandana and want a safe option that cant be mistaken for a gang member then white is a great option for you.

blue bandana meaning

Blue bandana is used by the members of the crips gang they were the first gang to affiliation bandana color in the 1970s.

Blue is another popular color among gangs so you should be careful if you have decided to wear a blue bandana.

bandana colors to avoid

Red, blue, and green are some of the most popular colors among gangs, and these are used by various gangs around the country to show gang affiliation.

When you are thinking of the bandana colors to avoid you also have to take other things into consideration, like your overall outfit and appearance, and more importantly the neighborhood that you reside in.

If your overall outfit is sophisticated and you wear a bandana with a hat then it is very unlikely that someone would mistake you for a gang member.

Other than that you should avoid the colors of the gangs that are active in your area or city, so for example, if you are in Los Angeles then you should avoid red and blue bandanas in most areas.

 If you are in a rough neighborhood where gangs are more prevalent then you should be extra careful when wearing bandanas but if you are in a safer neighborhood then you don’t need to worry too much.

What Bandana Colors are Safe to Wear?

Black, white and gray colors of bandanas are generally safe to wear in most parts of the country.

White color is probably the safest out of all as there is barely any gang that uses white bandanas as affiliation signs so you can wear them without being afraid. 

Apart from the color of the bandana, there are other things as well that you should keep in mind. Your overall outfit is more important than the color of your bandana if you are dressed in a sophisticated outfit then it would be difficult for you to get mistaken as a gang member.

Other than that you should avoid the colors that are worn by the gangs that are prevalent in your city. Not all gangs are present all over the country so you should pay attention to the gangs that are present in your area and avoid wearing the colors that those gangs use.

Is it Okay to Wear Bandanas on your Head?

yes, it is absolutely okay to wear bandanas on your head but you should be careful about selecting the right color of a bandana as not all bandana colors are safe to wear everywhere.

If you are living in a modern and safe neighborhood then you don’t need to worry about wearing a bandana on your head.

Over the years bandanas have become quite mainstream and their use is no longer limited to gang affiliation, today you can find rappers, singers, fashion icons, and regular people wearing them. 

Bandana in Back Pocket Meaning

Keeping a bandana hanging in the back pocket is used as a signal of sexuality and relationship status and it is called the hanky code.

In the late 20th century people were not very vocal about homosexuality and these signal were used to communicate the sexual preference and relationship status in bars and restaurants.

These codes are not much used anymore as things have changed quite a bit over the last few decades and people are a lot more vocal about their sexual preferences.

The Bottom Line:

Bandanas have been associated with different things throughout history and even today different colors of bandanas convey different meanings and that is why it is important to understand the meaning of different bandana colors before you wear one. This article gives you all the information that you need before wearing a bandana, now you can pick the right one and style it without any problem.

Photo of author

About the author

Dylan Baker

Dylan is a Men's fashion and image consultant, He is also the man behind Dapperclan. He is extremely passionate about fashion and wants to help men style and look better.