Scrunchie. Fabric covered rubber band. Vintage hair accessory. Friend of the weary and downtrodden, color-treated and conditioned Gen X tresses.
“Do they still make those?” said my stylist when I mentioned tying my hair up in a scrunchie for yoga class.
“I don’t know if they still make them,” I said. “But they’re magical.”
My hair stylist is in her twenties. She doesn’t know the power of the scrunchie.
In my hair history, I’ve owned sponge rollers, velcro rollers, hot rollers, steam rollers, curling irons, crimping irons, banana clips, bobby pins, barrettes, crab claws, and an ocean of ponytail elastics. I have not owned a Flowbee, and I’m resisting the urge to buy a flat iron, though my BFF swears by hers. Her flat iron, that is. Not her Flowbee.
The scrunchie has staying power.
I’ve saved two from the 90s. I keep them safely stashed behind my collection of plastic, hotel shower caps. Secret weapons of my hair care arsenal.
Scrunchie A is a cotton calico gem from 1992. It boasts a saturated red that glows like rubies. Bought it on clearance at the Gap for $3. (I remember all my significant fashion purchases the way I remember song lyrics.)
I wear it to the pool. The cotton dries fast, and the bright bathing suit colors of this past summer breathed new life into the 20-year-old accessory.
Scrunchie B, my favorite, is a silk-covered leopard print. It’s fierce.
My sister gave it to me in 1995. Little did we know animal prints would become the new neutrals. Thank you, Ballard Designs. Ordinary scrunchies may fall by the wayside along the runway of trends. The leopard scrunchie goes to yoga class.
Don’t get me wrong. I still care about my appearance. I want to be presentable, respectable, approachable. You and I, we have to wear clothes in public, so we might as well put some effort into it. And we need to do something with our crowning glory while it clings to our heads.
But I find, as the decades roll by, there are compromises to be made on the personal catwalk of life.
Comfortable shoes instead of stilettos, so the plantar fasciitis doesn’t anger the wicked sciatica. Untucked shirts and higher rise jeans, so I can belly laugh with abandon rather than sucking in my tummy or perpetually donning Spanx to squash the muffin top. Sweat pants worn occasionally even though fashion experts rage against them and the flip-flops.
Best regards, Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Stacy and Clinton. I’ll keep my scrunchies and wear them when I must. Because to me, they’re the epitome of style: comfortable, confident, magical, fierce.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV
From 1990, Groove is in the Heart by Deee Lite. Unless you’re wearing a scrunchie. In that case, groove is in the hair.
Do you own a scrunchie or other outdated fashion item you just can’t let go of yet?