If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are your hair was pretty good mates with a lot of very trendy hair accessories. There was the butterfly clip, a timeless staple; the barrette, a must for the fancy tween; and the scrunchie, the most relied-upon accessory of them all.
While Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw may have decried their credibility to Berger in that ~cute~ dramatic way of hers, the scrunchie has a long list of reputable ambassadors. The crew of Heathers in the inimitable ’80s film, Heathers, could work a scrunchie like no other; Madonna loved them; the ever-loveable Phoebe from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. got around them; and, more recently, girls like Cara Delevingne and Frederikke Sofie Falbe-Hansen have repped them. There’s even an entire Instagram page dedicated to their glory. That’s how #relevant they’ve once more become.
My recent foray back into the trend that carried me through my awkward formative years — mediocrely performing in dance eisteddfods, tumbling my way through gymnastics, hop-scotching around the school pavements — arose from a variety of events. The most pivotal being when, after a serious bout of Westfield-induced retail fatigue, I dropped by the supermarket, exasperated and empty-handed, to do my weekly grocery shop. I was poor and I’d just window-shopped my way around one of Sydney’s biggest (and arguably most annoying) shopping centres. If retail therapy was on one end of the spectrum, then what I’d just experienced was far down the other end in the fiery pit of retail hell.
It was around this time that my regrowth was really flaring up as well, making me the ideal candidate for a makeover of The Princess Diaries proportion. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was about to get one for the low, low price of $6.99. You got my back, Lady Jane.
Other reasons for introducing the scrunchie back into my adult life include: giving my hair a snaggle-free alternative to the standard hair tie; pretending the year is still 1995; and, most vitally, because J.Lo did it.
There’s a very fine line between tragic and chic when it comes to the scrunch. God love her, but Muriel from Muriel’s Wedding should be considered the pin-up girl for what not to do when it comes to wearing one in your adult years. This image, and the above gallery, however, should be referred to when sourcing inspiration.
Piled up high, securing a low pony, used to elevate the half-up half-down look, or creating the most chic low bun out — the scrunchie is a versatile gem. Experimentation is fun, but know there are limits. A baby pink velvet scrunchie, if done right, will elevate a minimalist outfit. Fluoro scrunchies, however, have no business existing outside of the early ’00s.
Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Dakota Gordon.