A kerchief (from the French couvre-chef, "cover the head") is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the head or around the neck for protective or decorative purposes. The popularity of head kerchiefs may vary by culture or religion, as among Amish women, Orthodox Jewish women, Muslim women, and older Slavic women.
A "handkerchief" or "hanky" primarily refers to a napkin made of cloth, used to dab away perspiration, clear the sinuses, or, in Victorian times, as a means of flirtation. A woman could intentionally drop a dainty square of lacy or embroidered fabric to give a favored man a chance to pick it up as an excuse to speak to her while returning it. Handkerchiefs were sometimes scented to be used like a nosegay or tussy-mussy, a way of protecting those who could afford them from the obnoxious scents in the street.
Bandannas are worn as a practical garment by:
Bandannas in particular colors are also worn as a means of communication or identification, as with the prominent California criminal gangs, the Bloods, the Crips, the Norteños, and the Sureños or in sexual subcultures in the United States. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, the Bloods and the Crips, wore red or blue paisley bandanas as a signifier of gang affiliation.