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It is safe to say headbands are a college student’s best friend. They meet every requirement a penny-pinching student has for fashion: they are multi-purposeful, simple, practical, inexpensive and stylish.

Simply put: Headbands are style lifesavers.

The seemingly simple hair accessory has the ability to take an ordinary outfit that’s been in the closet for months and create the perfect, polished masterpiece.

Need we say more?

The exciting thing about headbands is the majority of readers, whether they know it or not, already have headbands-in-the-making. Whether it is an uncomfortable plastic band that makes the head hurt, or a piece of fabric lying around from an old shirt, the potential is there.

But unfortunately, headbands often go unappreciated because many don’t realize the style benefits headbands can bring.

So this week, SLO Style Watch wanted to focus on the great invention that is the headband.

But there is a twist.

Because of the wide realm of styles, widths and materials out there, SLO Style Watch will be giving readers the basics in Headband 101, as we have made two “Do-it-yourself” tutorials so readers can have their very own headband.

So Many Options

One of the greatest things about headbands is the broad horizon of possibilities that accompany them. Wide headbands, skinny headbands, feathered headbands, adorned headbands, plain headbans and the list goes on and on. There is a headband for every occasion, and every outfit out there.

And the best part? They all work style-wise.

Ally Chen, co-owner and designer of the fashion website Glam Boutique, says headbands  are as versatile as the people who wear them.

A common perception people have when they think of headbands is “Gossip Girl”—this sort of preppy look,” Chen said. “However, there is a whole different side to the headwear.

One popular style Chen sees around campus and San Luis Obispo is the turban-style headbands, which tie around the head.

Because of the great variety of headband styles, we have provided links to blogs and websites for further, in-depth looks.

Chen also says location and occasion play a part in the type of headband one can wear.

“On normal days, I just wear a plain black elastic headband to give my hair a volumized look,” Chen said. “But if I’m going to a fancy occasion, I will wear a beaded headband.”

Chen says since the style in San Luis Obispo is a little more laid-back, neutral and casual bands are the most popular around campus. Despite the natural vibe, Chen says don’t be afraid to make a statement.

“Bold is fun,” Chen said. “Use headbands as a statement accessory.”

They have more than one purpose

Right behind it’s versatility, headbands have a multi-purpose function. Headbands can be the lifesaver on those bad hair days.

Kyra Joseph, sales associate at Hep Kat Clothing, says headbands are great for second-day hair.

“When my hair is dirty, I pull it up and fold a bandanna in half and just tie on top,” Joseph said. “It’s an easy, stylish way to keep your hair out of your face.”

Easy ( and cheap) to make

One of the reasons college students often pay little attention to headbands is their price. Depending on the shopping location, the price tag attached is often too high for a little piece of fabric.

But don’t let price be a turn-off.

Another great thing about headbands is they are very simple and affordable to make, and many already have over half of the necessary items to make the bands.

The most important part in the headband-making-process is choosing the right fabric.

Laurie Cummings, sales associate at Beverley’s Fabrics, advises buyers to purchase material with stretch.

“Elastic isn’t necessarily used for headbands. It is a notion used in sewing,” Cummings said. “Therefore, you want to look for ribbons, trims and fabrics that have stretch.”

The best fabrics to use are Lycra or a T-shirt knit, Cummings said.

Because of their ability to stretch, t-shirt knits and Lycra fabric will rest on the head better.

Knit and Lycra will stay on your head because you can make them as tight as you want,” Cummings said. “Cotton, however, has no stretch and will be uncomfortable because you have to get the fabric tight enough so it will not move.

The actual headband-making process can be a little daunting the first time, so SLO Style Watch created a simple eight-step tutorial.

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For those who don’t have access to a sewing machine, Beverly’s Fabrics has opened a sewing section in its downtown location, Cummings said. During normal hours of operation, anyone can use the machines. All that is needed is material, thread and any other sewing items.

In a quick pinch and need a quick headband? Here is a no-sew tutorial!

Take a piece of Lycra or T-shirt knit fabric (approximately 2 feet long) and place on forehead.

Wrap fabric around head to the back, crossing the ends over each other.

Bring fabric back around to forehead. Tie ends together into a bow.

Pull a little hair out from underneath the band to frame the face. And Voila!