Follow TV Tropes


Badasses Wear Bandanas

Go To

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.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Caesar Martinez from The Walking Dead wears one, and is one of the biggest badasses in the series, ripping a zombies jaw off by sticking his hand in its mouth.
    • Billy Greene and Michonne also both wear headbands.
  • After Wolverine lost his adamantium and reverted to a more feral state, his mask was a bandana.
  • Elektra typically wears one.
  • Batman villain Gunhawk (a gunslinger who specialises in BFGs and Gatling Good) wears one as part of his costume.


    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.
  • Kid Hero Lucas Sinclair from Stranger Things wears a camouflage bandana.
  • Daredevil (2015): For most of season 1, prior to getting the big red devil suit, Matt Murdock wears a black mask with no eyeholes pulled down over his face.
  • The Defenders (2017): Matt uses Jessica Jones' scarf like a bandanna to hide his identity when infiltrating Midland Circle.
    Jessica Jones: You look like an idiot.
    Matt Murdock: It's your scarf.

  • 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 
  • Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura often wear a bandana on their heads to cover their baldness. Both likely took their look from an earlier wrestler, "Superstar" Billy Graham, who did it first.
  • The One Man Gang sometimes wore one.
  • Mustafa Saed of SMW's Gangstas would wear a bandana on top of his head and another around his face, a look that would also be adopted by Konnan and Puerto Rican Street Fugitive El Niche.
  • The Undertaker used to wear one during his days as The American Badass from 2000-2003.
  • Bubba Ray Dudley sometimes crossed this with Wearing a Flag on Your Head, as he'd wear Confederate Flag bandanas.
  • Heavyweight Champion of All Pro Wrestling's Florida branch Ricky "The Rocket" Roberts wrestled in a pink bandana, as did Joey Franchise.
  • Dark Fantasy from Spain would wear a grey bandanna under her mask.

    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 
  • Marcus Fenix of the Gears of War franchise is one of the most visible examples of this trope. He is only seen without his bandana twice: at the start of ''Gears of War'' and at the end of ''Gears of War 3''.
    • Dizzy Wallin also wears a bandana under his cowboy hat.
  • Frank Woods in Call of Duty: Black Ops wears a headband throughout the game.
  • Yusuf from Assassin's Creed: Revelations wears a very colorful headband. It probably serves to make him a distinct character model more than anything else, but he is an Assassin.
  • Fire Emblem has Dart and Darros, both of whom are pirates. Most enemy pirates wear bandanas as well.
    • Ike from the Tellius games has his iconic tattered headband(s), giving him the fitting "grizzled mercenary" look. From the same games are Mia and Boyd, who both also have some kind of band around their heads.
    • Many Sacaens wore headbands; almost all of them were badasses by default and the headgear may have been more evocative of Braids, Beads and Buckskins.
    • Characters of the Thief, Rogue and Assassin classes tend to have bandanas, headbands, or hoods.
    • The Fire Emblem Awakening DLC and Super Smash Bros for WiiU and 3DS redesigns of Roy definitely invoke this, giving his headband ridiculously long tails with tattered ends, on top of him being made to look significantly older.
    • The wyvern-riding assassin Beruka in Fire Emblem Fates comes with a dark-colored one.
  • Solid Snake from Metal Gear. Big Boss wears one too, but his is a memento of his mentor, The Boss.
  • In the Fable I and Fable II, bandits often wear bandanas, but aren't very badass in comparison to your Hero. But you can wear a bandana; just expect people to run in fear from you.
  • The Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3 can qualify, should they manage to get their hands on a bandana.
  • Many characters from the Final Fantasy franchise wear them.
    • Firion, The Hero of Final Fantasy II, wears an elaborate bandanna decorated with jewels and beads.
    • In Final Fantasy V, all of Faris' pirate crew but herself wear bandanas. Every character including Faris will wear a bandanna when made into a thief through the Job System.
    • Final Fantasy VI has Locke, who is a thief that wears a bandana. He proves to be badass by saving Terra in Narshe at the beginning of the game, steals the clothes off of merchants and soldiers while they're wearing them, and in the World of Ruin, goes to a remote cave in the mountains in order to find the magicite Phoenix in order to resurrect his dead girlfriend.
    • Laguna's hulking giant of a companion Ward wears one in Final Fantasy VIII, here it gives him the impressions of a Naval soldier with his choice of weapons.
    • Lani, an axe-wielding bounty hunter and minor antagonist from Final Fantasy IX wears a bandana adorned with a feathered brooch.
    • Snow, the male lead of Final Fantasy XIII wears a black do-rag to show off his rebel-ness.
  • Flik from Suikoden II.
  • Most Tales Series protagonists. There's even a skit about it here.
  • A Waddle Dee that is used as a Joke Character Boss in Kirby Super Star Ultra wears a blue Bandana/do-rag to tell it apart from other Waddle Dees. He later appears as a main character in Kirbys Return To Dreamland where he wields a spear.
  • Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters has Billy Kane, a mean Brit wearing red-and-white bandanna.
  • Crono from Chrono Trigger wears one where it is his starting accessory which gives him a speed boost.
  • The hero of Secret of Mana.
  • The main character and his partner are always depicted wearing a bandana around their necks in official art for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon; however, this doesn't show up in-game.
  • The male human player character of SaGa 2, as well as Arthur of SaGa 3.
  • The protagonist of Cave Story has a green bandana around his neck. It's all but invisible on the in-game sprite, but it's there in the official artwork.
  • One of the (very noted) changes to Sonic's appearance in the Sonic Boom continuity is the brown bandana around his neck. Knuckles also inexplicably wears one in the old 90s OVA, coupled with an Indiana Jones hat.
  • Dickson from Xenoblade sports a dark red one on his forehead, making him look somewhat like an old pirate.
  • Mocked in Undertale by the 'Manly Bandanna' item. It's manly enough to have abs drawn on it.
  • Ernest from Battleborn is a badass Drill Sergeant Demolitions Expert bird alien who wields a Grenade Launcher. As indicative of the space military based faction he comes from, he wears an army bandana.
  • One of Link's equipable head gear pieces in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Climbing Bandana, which lets him climb surfaces more quickly.
  • Gunrock in the Power Stone games wears a blue bandanna on his head to emphasise his working-class background as a miner.

     Web Animation 
  • Madness Combat, Hank and Sanford wear bandanas to signify that they're important. Which is easy considering the fact that everyone looks almost the same.

     Web Comics 

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

     Real Life 
  • A number of real life Badass Bikers wear bandannas as fashion statements.
  • The "Rambo" look was something adopted by soldiers in Vietnam for a practical purpose: Perspiration running down their foreheads would mix with their camouflage face-paint and hurt like hell if it got into their eyes.


Example of: