Come summertime, our statement jackets, textured sweaters, and elaborate layers are stashed away in favor of barely there crop tops, cutoffs, and bikinis—meaning it often takes a little extra something to put that cool-weather flair back into our outfits. In comes the headband, a classic accessory that will hold your hair back while simultaneously adding a little polish to an otherwise low-key beach ensemble. And should you question the schoolgirl-favoured accessory’s place in your adult life, look no further than Brigette Bardot,who paired a wide black band with teased blonde hair and her signature cat-eye in Godard’s 1963 film Contemptfor a style that only added to her bombshell intrigue. Fellow New Wave actress Anna Karina accented her flapper-esque black bob with a simple headband, while Romy Schneider in The Things of Life and Ursula Andress, opposite Elvis in Fun in Acapulco, opted for thick white ones, their ears just peeking out.
A doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn famously topped off her headband with a miniature bow, a look that Madonna took to extreme proportions in Desperately Seeking Susan, while Nina Simone, amping up the glam factor, wore a glittering circlet over the center of her forehead. Decades later, Natalie Portman sported a similar embellished version to the 2005 Academy Awards, and soon after, Lupita Wyong'o followed suit, wearing a thin gold band covered in diamonds to accept her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2014.
But for all its history of glamour and glitz, the headband is, above all, practical. Paris-born Suzanne Lenglen revolutionised 20th-century tennis with her short, knee-length skirts, bare arms, and head wrap (in lieu of the more traditional hat), and more recently, David Beckham kept his bleach-blonde lengths tucked behind an elastic strap on the soccer field.