In the 1940s, American factories needed workers, and because their usual employees, men, were overseas fighting in World War II, they turned to women. A propaganda poster in 1942 by J. Howard Miller featured a female factory worker dressed in overalls with her sleeve rolled up to expose her biceps and wearing a bandanna to cover her long hair, under the heading “We Can Do It!” A similar “Saturday Evening Post” cover by Norman Rockwell in 1943 led to the phrase “Rosie the Riveter,” and an icon was born.

Things You'll Need

Part hair horizontally about 2 to 3 inches from the hairline and brush that section of hair forward. Gather the rest of the hair into a high ponytail at the back of your head.

Separate the hair that you brushed forward into two or three horizontal sections. Brush the top section and apply hairspray to it, then brush again. Place the section into a flat iron or a curling iron, pull to the end of the hair and roll it backward toward your scalp to create curl and height. Slide the iron sideways and release. Do this with each section of hair.

Place some hair wax onto your fingers and work it into the roots of your hair to help control frizz areas. Bring all the sections of hair together and brush out. Wrap the hair around two fingers and work backward to create one large curl or “pouf” on the front top of your head. Secure with bobby pins, and spray with hairspray.

Fold the bandanna in half to create a triangle. Place the triangle facing downward under the nape of your neck. Bring together the opposite corners of the bandanna on top of your head, making sure all loose ends on the sides are behind the bandanna. Put the bandanna behind your ears or on top of them, depending on your preference.

Pull the bandanna triangle up over the ponytail so that your hair is secured. Place the end underneath the two sides you have brought together on top of your head. Tie those sides loosely into a double knot. Tuck any loose edges of the bandanna and secure edges all around with bobby pins.


  • For an alternative to the traditional “Rosie the Riveter” look, use a flat iron or curling iron to create curls in sections of hair in the ponytail. Secure those strands loosely to the head with bobby pins. After folding your bandanna into a triangle, fold it two or three times to create a wide strip of cloth. Place the bandanna under your ponytail, bring the two opposite ends together and tie into a double knot at the top of the head. Secure the bandanna with bobby pins.