Badasses Wear Bandanas

Kaku: Do you get stronger or something if you wear that washcloth?
Zoro: Maybe.

We all know Helmets Are Hardly Heroic, so what is a Badass who likes to have their head covered supposed to wear on the battlefield? A bandana of course!

The reasons for wearing one can vary. Maybe the wearer thinks it looks cool. It can keep the wearers hair out of their face without obscuring their vision like a helmet might. If supplies are scarce, a bandana might be the only headgear one is able to find. Whatever the reason, a bandana usually highlights just how much of a Badass the wearer is, and warns others to stay out of his way.

Bandits, bikers, cowboys, and pirates tend to wear bandanas to signify them being outlaws or to reinforce their tough and gritty look. In fact, the bandana will often be worn for this exact purpose: A Lady of War would never wear a bandana, but a grizzled Lad-ette marine might. An elegant swordfighter wouldn't wear the bandana, but a rugged thief would.

Note that this does not have to be an actual bandana, and could be a do-rag or headband, which would fall under Martial Arts Headband if martial arts is involved, especially in Asian cinema. It also does not have to be worn on the head, as characters often wear bandanas around their necks.

This is frequently slapped on a Badbutt in an attempt at characterization rivaling the subtlety of Ms. Pac-Man's bow.

Related to Badass Longcoat. Both are added to a character to show they are a badass with a short visual cue, in this case a certain type of rugged, masculine badass.

Sub-Trope of Nice Hat or Scarf Of Ass Kicking. Compare with Cool Helmet, and a Sister Trope to Fedora of Asskicking as well.


Anime and Manga

Comic Books


Live-Action Television
  • Charles Gunn from Angel wore a bandana in his first few appearances, but it was dropped soon after.
  • The streetwise bruiser Lex in The Tribe wore one in a few first season episodes as well as his flashback episode.
  • James May sports a bandana during several of the Top Gear overseas trips, which see him doing difficult things such as finding the source of the River Nile, traveling through the deserts of the Middle East, and threatening annoying co-presenters with a machete. It also serves the far more practical use of keeping his long hair out of his face.

  • Bandanas styled after American Flags are a recurring symbol for Flobots.
  • Bandanas have always been "Miami" Steve van Zandt's onstage trademark when playing with Bruce Springsteen.

Professional Wrestling

Role-Playing Games
  • Erik Paulson and Mort in Dino Attack RPG. Subverted with Plastic Serpent, who doesn't do anything badass despite being loosely inspired by Solid Snake (see the Video Games section below).

Tabletop Game
  • The Badass Bandana is an actual item in Munchkin.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Catachan Junlge Fighters sport these, as part of their theme of Rambo expies.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Motorcity: Capri, Mike Chilton's Cool Big Sis, wears one in the illustration creator Chris Prynoski drew.