Bandanas, throughout history, have had tons of different meanings and connotations. At one point in time, they have been associated with rock music fans, gang members, outlaws, and members of the LGBTQ community.
But do bandana colors still carry the same influence? If so, what are the colors that one should avoid, and what are the safe colors to wear?
That’s what I’ll be covering in this article. I won’t be going into a lot of history, because frankly, you don’t really need to know what each bandana color has meant in all cultures throughout the past century.
I will just be telling you the colors that you need to go for and the colors that you need to avoid.
Bandana Color Meaning
|Red||Worn by members of the Bloods gang.|
|Blue||Worn by members of the Crisps gang.|
|Yellow||Represents the Latin Kings gang.|
|Pink||Usually worn for breast cancer awareness.|
|White||Represents peace and unity.|
|Purple||Represents the Grape Street Crips gang.|
|Green||Worn by Bay Area Crips gang.|
|Black||Usually considered a neutral color.|
|Grey||Used to be common in Asian gangs.|
|Brown||Associated with the La Gran Mafia.|
Looking at this list may scare you from wearing bandanas at all, but remember that these are mostly local gangs, and even they are on a rapid decline since the turn of the century.
So if you are wearing a purple bandana in Idaho, you can be sure that no one is going to confuse you to be a member of the Grape Street Crips gang.
Besides the gang meaning, there was a time when bandanas were also correlated with homosexuality. But this is no longer the case due to the rise of online messaging apps for LGBTQ people.
So no one is going to assume that you are gay for wearing a bandana (unless you are in a gay bar, of course).
There is also a lot of confusion about where to wear a bandana and what does it mean.
Bandanas that were worn on the head and back pocket were used to represent gang affiliation. Bandanas worn around the neck were used to represent homosexuality.
However, now the placement of your bandana has no cultural significance, so you can safely wear them wherever you want.
What Bandana Colors are Safe to Wear?
Black and grey are the safest bandana colors to wear. They are considered harmless and neutral by gang members.
But to be honest, more than the color of the bandana, what matters is how you style it. If by looking at you no one can say that you are a thug, then that bandana is safe to wear.
Basically, make sure that the rest of your outfit conveys that you are a regular working man. Most colored bandanas are safe to wear in major US cities, and you only need to worry about all this stuff when you are going to a low-income area (or Compton, because, well, it’s Compton).
Here is a list of bandana colors that are safe to wear in most parts of the United States:
As you saw in the previous section, there is some correlation between bandana colors and gangs, but it’s nowhere near what is portrayed in the media. Therefore, I still maintain that most bandanas are safe to wear.
Bandana Colors to Avoid
You should avoid wearing a blue or red bandana in most parts of Los Angeles.
As I said, most bandana colors are safe to wear but it all depends on your location. So see what (if any) gangs are prominent in your area, and check the color meaning table to figure out which colors you need to avoid.
Is it Okay to Wear Bandanas on your Head?
It is okay to wear a bandana on your head in most major cities of the United States.
Earlier, wearing a bandana on your head was considered a sign of gang affiliation, but this has largely stopped.
The main reason behind its stoppage is the mainstream adoption of bandanas by rappers, singers, and entertainers, who use this piece as a fashion accessory.
This has allowed the negative connotations of wearing a bandana on the head to dwindle and has made the practice mainstream and safe again.
Bandana in Back Pocket Meaning
Wearing a bandana in your back pocket was correlated with homosexuality back in the day, but it is no longer the case.
Earlier, due to the systemic oppression faced by the gay community, men had to resort to wearing bandanas and handkerchiefs to indicate their sexual preference. Both the left back pocket and the right-back pocket were used to further this cause.
But due to the progress made over the years, this is no longer the case in modern America.
In this article, I tried to explain the meaning of different bandana colors and their meanings. While some have gang affiliations, a bandana is safe to wear in most parts of the country.
Just make sure that you are aware of the gangs in your part of town, and what colors they consider sacred.
My name is Alex Higson and I am the founder of Magic Of Clothes. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and clothes and style are a huge part of my life.