Thinking about adding a little style to your pup for your session? A dog bandana is a terrific option; however, with so many choices, colors, and styles, how can you choose the best bandanas to accessorize your dog? To help answer that, I’ve invited Catherine Whiteman, the heart and human behind Three Wags, to share her tips for accessorizing your dog for his portrait session.
The Three Wags Story
At its core, Three Wags focuses on enhancing the relationship between people and their dogs, a value reflected throughout all areas of its brand. Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Catherine merges style with design and function and keeps the realities of dogs as a part of our everyday lives in mind to produce handcrafted, high-quality dog bandanas, bedding, toys, and home accents–each made in the USA. Her attention to detail and problem-solving abilities coupled with a passion for design and the need for practical, durable, and stylish bandanas for her own Brittanys soon birthed Three Wags.
“I began Three Wags to create style-conscious, functional, well-made products that make sense in the everyday lives of real people,” Catherine shares on her blog. “But why? Because we lead active lives. We love our dogs and most everything is better when done with our dogs.”
Many of the Three Wags prints are inspired by the beauty of nature and spring during Catherine’s years of growing up in Texas and infused with striking florals, natural textures, and happy colors. They’re contemporary yet timeless, stylish but durable, and loved by both dogs and their humans.
Choosing the right accessory or bandana for your pup’s session goes beyond just gorgeous jacquards and classic chambrays though. Catherine reminds customers that when accessorizing, size, season, location, quality, convenience, and even your dog’s coloring impact the options that may work best for your session.
Sizing a Dog Bandana
When it comes to choosing a dog bandana, you want it to fit great and look great. Catherine suggests paying close attention to the fit of the bandana to ensure it feels comfortable for your dog. If you have a super floofer in your family, take this into consideration when sizing your pup and leave a bit of extra room in the neck measurement.
“If you’re purchasing a bandana from an online boutique, be sure to check any sizing instructions provided,” she advises. “Bandana styles may fit differently from one shop to the next, one style or another. It’s really no different than you may find when shopping for yourself. You’ll usually find sizing information provided. Be sure to consult it.”
A bonus tip if your dog is going to be wearing a collar under the bandana: be sure to take that into account when you measure his neck. Since most dogs opt for a collar over a harness for their portrait session, be sure to leave enough room to compensate for the collar’s bulk. Accounting for that will help ensure your bandana lays appropriately and looks its best in your final images.
Picking a Print for Your Portraits
Dog bandanas come in many amazing colors and prints. When you’re picking one out for a session, it’s particularly beneficial to consider your dog’s fur color, eye color, and personality. If your dog is lighter in color, Catherine recommends selecting softer, more subdued shades so your dog remains the focus. For a darker dog, bolder colors are fine; however, she cautions pet parents about buying patterns and colors that deliver a major contrast against their dog’s coat, such as a red bandana on a black dog.
And for my multi-dog families, Catherine shares a Three Wags’ pro tip of her own gained from years of experience in coordinating bandanas for her Brittany household.
“Typically, if there is more than one dog in the photo, the bandanas chosen should match or be complementary. For example, you may have one dog in a soft chambray floral and the other in a solid chambray, or you may choose a single chambray that would look good on male and female dogs and dogs of different sizes.”
Just as I advise against in the what-to-wear section of your session guide, you’ll want to avoid overly busy prints on your furry friend as well. Larger prints with cohesive colors, geometric designs, classic plaids, and even solids–like chambray or holiday red–photograph nicely, but be mindful of your dog’s size. For a tiny dog, you don’t want a design to overwhelm the face.
With that in mind, Catherine reminds customers to be true to their dog and the occasion.
“You are going to be enjoying these photos for many years to come so I think authenticity is important. We tend to love photos of ourselves that reflect who we are, and I think the same holds true for our dogs.”
Style for the Season & Location
The session location and season are important. When you’re thinking about a bandana that complements your dog, think about the backdrop, whether it’s a grassy lawn, a beach in the summertime, or a botanical garden in full bloom. These create different color palettes than a wooded park in the fall, a snowy field, or a bridge with the cityscape backdrop. You want a cohesive look that will be pleasing to the camera and leave your pup as the focal point.
The materials you choose make a difference as well. Your dog’s comfort is always key and they’ll be happier if they’re comfortable. High-quality fabrics that aren’t itchy and stiff tend to score big in the comfort category. In warmer weather, lightweight, breathable cotton is a terrific option. Cotton flannels and lightweight wools drape nicely and have the added benefit of warmth for cooler fall and winter sessions.
Accessorize with Ease
Bandanas can have a buckle clip closure, others a snap or Velcro, and some a standard tie-on. With a range of options to choose from, Catherine reminds pet parents to also consider how the bandana goes on their dog.
“For many reasons, a buckle clip is a terrific option anytime,” she says of her bandanas’ signature feature, an easy-release buckle clip. “And especially for a portrait session. They are easy to take on and off–a plus for you and your wiggle worm dog, which you’ll be even more thankful for with more than one dog!”
Qualities of a Quality Bandana
When selecting a bandana, investing in those featuring quality fabrics, thoughtful design, and intentional fit will help ensure you’re buying only the most well-made accessories.
“Quality shows,” emphasizes Catherine. “It’s going to show to the camera in the way [the bandana] falls on your dog’s neck in a nice way.”
And because dogs will be dogs, washable fabrics will be your best friend. Top-rate fabrics also tend to wear better after washing, which is especially important if you’ve got a water-loving retriever or splashing springer spaniel.
To learn more about Three Wags, including Catherine’s well-designed, functional, and stylish products for dogs and their people, visit www.threewags.com and be sure to follow Three Wags on Facebook and Instagram. For additional savings on your favorite Three Wags designs, use our code TWHunter10 and receive 10% off premium bedding, bandanas, accessories, toys, and more. Three Wags offers fast and convenient shipping of its made-in-the-USA bandanas to customers throughout the United States and Canada.