Accessories

Can You Wear a Headband After 40?

Hi Deborah,

I am over forty and have recently considered wearing headbands and other hair accessories because my hair is so short.  A little history – I cut my relaxed hair off and decided to go natural and not chemically straighten my hair anymore.   However, this process is proving to be difficult because I am currently at an awkward growth stage and want to use some hair accessories.

I’ve heard women over 40 and should not wear headbands.  Mind you, I am not talking about huge hair accessories, just something to wear to get me through the current awkward stage.  What do you think? – Thanks, Heather Q.

Hi Heather,

I’m glad you brought this up since headbands have been so popular lately. They can certainly be a good thing to wear when transitioning from one style to another.  A headband is great for accentuating bangs. It can flaunt a pixie cut, or show off longer locks quite nicely too. A headband can even become part of your signature style.

The problem with wearing a headband after 40 is you can come across looking too girly and juvenile. Up until now, there hasn’t been a wide variety of headband styles, and the majority of headbands out there were sweet and childlike. Now that’s changed.

I think headbands can be fine at any age, but as a mature woman, I’d steer clear of headbands with flowers, floppy bows, and sparkly little girl styles. Think classy, less cutesy when choosing a headband. This fine resin headband is more elegant.

Here are some things to think about when choosing a headband

  • Look for headbands in darker colors and more sophisticated prints ( likes leopard or snakeskin).
  • Interesting textures can be quite sophisticated too.
  • Thinner, finer plastic headbands tend to look chic as they are more subtle.
  • Vintage headbands with a twist knot are trending and can be a playful fashion statement.
  • A casual headband ( typically a brighter color) usually says “preppy.”  Make sure your outfit is also casual to work with this look.
  • Anything with a traditional bow is very tricky and in most cases are not age-appropriate
  • Scarves tied as headbands are an excellent way to keep your hair back and will give you a boho-chic vibe
  • Avoid any kind of headband that looks like something you’d see a 7-year-old wearing

 

What to Wear With a Headband Over 40

Another thing to pay attention to is what you wear with your headband.  I suggest staying away from cutesy dresses or tops with frills, bows, flounce, or a lot of busy detail. A  sleek headband with a refined, minimalist style can look very chic and very modern.

You can also wear a pretty hairband with something feminine in a grown-up way such as an off the shoulder top with your favorite jeans. There really are no right and wrong things to wear with headbands. The key is to remember that a headband is a focal point, so keep your outfit unfussy and your other accessories simple. This braided satin headband goes matches the textured look of the top.

Another trick: To look sophisticated, choose a color that blends in with your hair color, so there is only a subtle hint of a hairband.
After a certain age, headbands can be very tricky to wear, but not impossible.  Just be aware of what message you are sending and make sure your headband coordinates with your outfit and is not too flashy or junior.

Shop these trending headbands for a chic look:

Here are some influencers who wear headbands with style!

leopard headband

@heartbeetkitchen looks fabulous in this pleated leopard headband.

scarf headband

@dollypondstyle is so chic in this stunning scarf headband.

black headband with knot

@veronicakstyle shows us how fun a knotted headband can be.

@thetennillelife shows us how a simple black headband can crown a glorious head of hair.

beaded headband

@tamerabeardsley looks glam in her studded gold headband.

red headband

@gresystripesanddenim shows how a headband can add a playful pop of color.

plaid headband

@hinchology with a lesson in how to coordinate your headband with your outfit and your dog!

checkered headband

@tayrnbrittany looks gorgeous in this cute checkered headband with the top knot!

Join the Conversation

44 thoughts on “Can You Wear a Headband After 40?

  1. Confidence is the MOST important style guideline – so just about anything you wear with confidence is a fashion do at any age, size or other category, If you are true to your self and your persona aesthetic and exude confidence – most others will perceive you as looking great and if that is outside the usual “style rules” occasionally (but not always) that works in your favor. For some of us – confidence is one of the hardest outfits to put on. In those cases – fake it til you make it and just about ANYTHING that helps you achieve that goal should be seen as appropriate.

  2. I guess I see the point here, but it’s really all relative, and depends. I naturally shy away from tween looking anything — obvs Claire’s accessories are geared to not over-50 market — but, for instance, I have very long red hair because I dance hula and live in Hawaii. (I’m not allowed to cut it save for a trim!) There’s a big rule broken… Also, I’m 54 and I dance with 20’somethings named Makayla… Another rule probably broken. I just made a few pretty scarf-like headbands made of Hawaiian fabric remnants and they help hold my hair back. Not trying to make a statement… But they look good. Imho. I can”t help feeling that some of these over-50 :”rules” are made to “keep us in our place.” I kind of have a problem with that.

    1. Hi Janie, Thank you for dropping by. These days there are no style rules and no one is trying to keep anyone in their place. My feeling is, I think it is VERY important to wear what makes you happy. But for my readers who have asked for help, I’ve provided guidelines to what generally looks good. If these ideas don’t work for you, no problem. We are all unique and it’s important to dress to express who you truly are. I’m sure you look fabulous in your scarf like headbands made of Hawaiian fabric! Go for it! Wishing you all the best! Cheers, Deborah

  3. Boy do I feel dated reading these posts. I was a tom boy in my teens and 20s, and went from long, feminine, gloriously long blonde hair to a sensible professional bob. (Think Hillary/Diane Sawyer). In my 30s, I began to explore and experiment with fashion, to actually embrace my femininity and not perceive it as incompatible with being professional and adult. I think Marissa Mayers, even Ivanka Trump are able to pull this off — powerful business women who aren’t afraid to be feminine too. I am now in my mid 40s and bought a few head bands for the simple reason that they were on sale at a ridiculously low price and that if I added them to an online order of a sophisticated shirt I wanted, I could get free shipping. I don’t ordinarily wear headbands. Well, they finally arrived. They are stylish, elegant, feminine. Reading through these comments makes me wonder whether I would appear like a child if I wore them to work. I was going for feminine, stylish, artistic. I put one on — I am a blonde and the band was a muted, elegant violet with flowers (definitely not a color to blend in with my natural hair color). I loved it., made me look and feel elegant.

    Ladies, you only live once. I think we can be dignified, elegant, beautiful as we enter middle to old age. What is most important is our character, intellect, and the quality of our hearts and relationships. I should say that I am making these comments as an accomplished professional woman, soon to be married and with the prospect of motherhood thereafter. I embrace my femininity and love my headbands, though reading these comments will definitely make me think twice about wearing them now.

  4. I would just like to say that some fashion do’s and don’t’s do not take into account those of us who have very little choice. I have worn glasses since I was seven, orthopedic shoes through my teens (ugh!), have thinning hair in the front (hereditary), have arthritis since my 30’s and bear well over 20 scars from seven orthopedic surgeries (including two 2″ scars on the front of my neck and a 5″ scar on the back of my neck). I cannot hold my right dominant arm up for long so I have a hairdryer on a stand. I am missing a bone in my left thumb which makes it hard to multi-task with hair styling and I have dropped the curling iron burning myself. If my hair is short I am self conscience about my scars, if my hair is long it is terrible to style and my thin hair in the front looks terrible. To make a long story short, if you have choices, you are indeed lucky. If you aren’t broke from medical bills and you can afford the $35 to $50 a month for a simple hair cut, you are lucky. I am, however, blessed with very few gray hairs or wrinkles at 50. I wear hats and now headbands-both of which some expert designers say not to wear at my age since I would be selfishly drawing attention to myself. Be careful how you judge another person’s fashion choices. They may be the only choice that person has.

  5. Well I’m not quite 40, almost though! But I wear headbands in my short hair(pixi cut). I think they look cute and sometimes I like pops of color to brighten the day! I think that’s a perk to getting older…I don’t have to be told what I should or shouldn’t wear! Hahaha!! I say wear what makes you happy life is too short to worry about what other people are thinking of you big bow of a headband!!

    1. Heather, I agree 100%! Why not? And who cares what others think? I don’t. I’m 54 and I do my own thing. I’m not going to wear a big bow or a big anything on my head, for that matter, with the exception of a straw cowboy-style hat at the beach to protect me from the sun. But that is my taste and my preference.
      And really, what’s with all these rules? Based on age? Consider if it looks good on you, if you like it, and do what you like. You only live once.
      I’m wearing a headband now as a matter of fact. I have shoulder length dark blond hair, my natural color, and it looks good on me. This one happens to blend in with my hair color, but if it contrasted with my hair color, I’d still wear it If I liked it.
      Are we in grade school, worried someone might not like it? Nope, we are not.

    1. Nice response, and I agree! But none of the models on your site look over 20 years old – and most of them look like teens. An example of why we mature ladies sometimes wonder if certain fashions don’t apply to us.

      1. Hi Dana, Yes that is always a challenge, so I will throw it out there..If anyone has a cute photo – good quality – of themsleves in a headband, please send it in to post. Cheers, Deborah

  6. I get a little tired of everything being put into an age bucket…If you love headbands and you can pull the look off..then wear them…In fact the older I am getting the more I gravitate to the big flowers and bows and all things pretty…I think women especially think that when we reach certain ages we have to change how we look…I think that there is nothing more aging than dressing down and wearing drab colors.

  7. If Hillary Clinton can wear on and the mother-in-law on “The Good Wife” can, I guess if it’s one in good taste, why not?

  8. if you like headbands, and they look good on you, wear them! I don’t see an age limit for this useful item. They really do help the hair stay out of your face & provide a cute & quick fix for some folks on bad hair days!

  9. My comment re headbands is absolutley not – EVER. Dont go there! It is far too twee for anyone over 35. There are other wonderful accessories out there without having to resort to headbands or girly bows and ornaments. It just makes you look sad and stuck in a time warap.

    1. Hi Janice,
      I’m wary of ever saying “never”… really some women can pull of a simple headband, but your are correct when it comes to the fancy ornaments a little too tween for sure!

  10. To me, on someone over 40 many headbands would look overstated, and sometimes frivolous and undignified. I can see something narrow, and tortoiseshell or a color close to the hair color. Or, a wide scarf-type with an outfit with a casual, artistic look, but aim for some level of sophistication and simplicity. The headband-with-bow in the photo is so pretty. I think it would look good worn with a well-made white or ecru button-up blouse, in a dressy cotton, with simple gold or silver ball earrings and a strand of pearls. I think if I were to add detail with the hair band, I would keep the rest of the outfit around the face clean and simple.

    This question reminds me of when, in 1991 and 1992, Hilary Clinton wore headbands when campaigning with Bill. Style experts in the media sort of mocked her for that.

  11. My vote goes to YES headbands are okay- but NO to any bows or glop! I LOVE to wear a headband in the summer, or just when I have a day of hard work around the house, projects or the daycare days. Sometimes you just don’t want that hair in your face.

  12. I think the answer is, “yes,” if the headband is close to our hair color and we remove an accessory from some other part of our outfit to compensate. For a formal occasion such as a wedding, wearing what the British call a “Fascinator,” (which are getting trendy here in the U.S.,) could work on a similar principle; wear a color that matches or is close to our hair color, or is a neutral. Fascinators are hair ornaments that can be clipped or pinned on to the hair by themselves, or they are often attached to headbands. Restraint is key! –Lisa in Massachusetts

  13. Wearing a headband would be a no from me as well. But, since we are in the headgear area I’ve been wondering what would one add to a wide brim summer hat. I’ve seen big floppy flowers but that seems to fall into the headband category. Nice if you’re young or a bride but if you’re older it seems a bit off. What would some alternative be? Especially interesting alternatives. Chic not cute alternatives? Thanks. Pat

  14. I have short, black hair and often use a black headband with a small embellishment. (I have a multi colored jewel cluster, and another with a single, small peacock type feather) Since my hair is short, there aren’t as many style options- updo, pony mane etc so a headband works for me. I keep the rest of my outfit, including jewelry bling-free and use the headband as a fun accessory.

  15. If you have always worn headbands you do not have to stop because you are over 40. You may have to tweek the style. However, if you have never worn them there is probably a reason. The reason probably still exists. Some people ae not headband people. I am not one as mush as I would like to be.

  16. Hi — I’m kind of on the fence here … headbands here in the South are very Junior League and I see a lot of ladies wearing them. I wouldn’t wear them myself because I think they look dated, but I do like narrow decorated headbands with interest on the side for dress-up/evening … kind of an homage to those fabulous vintage cocktail hats. And that leads to a follow up … what about fascinators?

    I recently was visiting my sister in England and went to a consignment shop with one of her friends. I picked up a fascinator and asked how it should be worn. The friend sort of pinned it in the side of my hair; when I looked in the mirror, I realized I ROCKED the fascinator. I started hoping I could marry off one of daughters or attend a charity ball just so I could wear one.

    It seems to me that if a style looks good on an individual, or if, like me, they’re pining to wear a fascinator, why not? At worst, other people may nudge each other and mumble a comment behind your back; at best, you may have fun and feel fabulous.

  17. I have a Burberry headband I love to wear– and it is a neat styled look in my long hair and makes a complimentary accent to the Burberry lining touches in my jacket and cuffs…looks great with Ralph Lauren Polo shirts too.
    I also wear Lilly Pulitzer headbands Lily shifts and with Lilly Polo shirts as it all compliments a total look. Though I am from Florida so we naturally love our Lilly-it is a look I see sported more and more in Beverly Hills, West LA and Newport Beach.
    I have a cast off Abercrombie & Fitch of my 12 year old daughter I wear with an A&F pink and blue flannel she has outgrown–its one of my favorite casual run around looks with jeans and cowboy boots.
    I get lots of compliments on them—and in fact find I would wear them more if I didnt have to wear hats and sunglasses to protect my eyes and skin…

    1. Oh my gosh. Who are these women ? Are they kidding ? No headbands after 40? That’s laughable So once you turn 40 life ends and things are “inappropriate “ this is what is wrong for girls today – growing up thinking there are ANY LIMITS. wow so disappointed in these comments and just the article in general is so awful to judge each other or say age has jack shit to do with style. I’m guessing some women must feel old and not attractive because we are luscious and sexy and can do anything young women do – WE ARE all beautiful. – it doesn’t stop at an age! Please don’t listen to anyone tell you any of these things. Be confident. period.

  18. Subtle colors and “less is more” would seem to be two good ideas to use when planning on hair accessories, otherwise you might look like you’re trying to be 16 again. But that’s just my opinion. Good topic tho as I’ve noticed alot of younger girls wearing them!

  19. I wear headbands each day. They are not poufy or have large bows, but they are decorative. They are typically quite classic and elegant. I have pearls and onyx and leather. I do have a few that have crystals on them but they are understated. I have to keep my hair out of my face and it looks better than throwing it up in a ponytail and I have trouble putting my hair up. I think the half ponytail look appears too youthful. I guess it is a matter of taste.

  20. For me, the answer is no, though I’m sure that there is someone out there who can get away with it. (Though I would dare to say, that it would have to be “understated” for them, as well:) Just my opinion. Great topic! Jamie in AZ

  21. I have been asking friends this question because I love headbands with enormous bows and I am over forty. I have found that if I stick to a color close to my hair color, it doesn’t look so costumey and has a better look. Thanks for your blog! I need it! I tend to get carried away and dress like my teenage daughter!
    xoxox,
    Sandee

    1. HI Sandee,
      That is a good point about picking a headband close to the color of your hair…that way it will blend in more. When you have a teenage daughter in the house, it makes you think twice about what you are going to put on. Thanks for sharing, your blog is really nice too!

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