For the Love of a Scrunchie

Scrunchie. Fabric covered rubber band. Vintage hair accessory. Friend of the weary and downtrodden, color-treated and conditioned Gen X tresses.

scrunchie leopard print 100 percent silk

scrunchie fierce

“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.

scrunchie close up

pair of scrunchies

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. 

good-bye glamour

good-bye glamour

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, GlamourElle, 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?


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Filed under humor, women's studies

14 Responses to For the Love of a Scrunchie

  1. Oh I WISH I still had some scrunchies! They held my hair up without PULLING and did not leave that “I was wearing a ponytail, but now I’m not” tell-tale bump. That being said, I still own Birkenstocks, and though they are timeless, they are also ugly. I wear them all summer though, because they make my feet feel loved. I’m also guilty of the fashion sin of finding one item and purchasing it in a bajillion colors. I’m currently addicted to the Target $10 wrap Tee. I own five of them. I wear them with everything, but mostly with my two Old Navy Roll top knit skirts. My new mom uniform. Always presentable. Done.

    • Aimee

      Roll top knit skirts: four magic words. (Sigh.)
      You nailed the reason why I wear my scrunchie to yoga class when you described the absence of “I was wearing a ponytail, but now I’m not.” You and I may have been separated at birth.
      And I know the Target wrap tee, but I can’t wear it because it gaps in all the wrong places on me. (A second sigh.) I do not have a current buy in multiples item. I was on a gingham kick, but there is a point at which one can have too many checks, no matter how wonderful the colors.

  2. Aimee, I love that you acknowledge scrunchies are outdated, but you love them anyway! The leopard print one IS kinda bangin’!

  3. I can relate. I have this fear that capri pants will go out of style and they’ll expect us to get ourselves back into (*shudder*) SHORTS. This girl is sticking with capri pants forever, even when they’re no longer in style, and my children can just laugh about it at my funeral.

    • Aimee

      Long live capris. I don’t think they’re going anywhere soon. But do you still have a scrunchie to go with the capris?

  4. Amy

    Okay, I know I’ve never met you, but we have Amys in common. And I really like you, so I’m going to be honest.


    Alright. You’re back. Let’s talk for a second.

    A: “I wear it to the pool.” – Did you mean to say “wore”? As in, “I wore it to the pool. In 1983.”? Because you don’t wear scrunchies now. You don’t. You DO NOT.

    B: “The cotton dries fast, and the bright bathing suit colors of this past summer breathed new life into the 20-year-old accessory.” – Fast drying cotton isn’t a plus. Water gets things wet and those things eventually dry. There is no wet hair accessory timer that we all must adhere to.

    Also, no color ever created could possibly breathe new life into a scrunchie. It’s dead, as it should be. I don’t care what color it is, it served it’s purpose, and lived well in a time of big hair glory. But now, that time is gone. As should be your scrunchies.

    C: The leopard scrunchie does not go to yoga class. Pretend that wasn’t you the next time you go. Just use a respectable headband and ponytail holder, and go buy yourself a fantastic new pair of leopard print flats. Leopard print is fierce. Scrunchies are not.

    And don’t blame this on me being from California. This is one Amy to another, out of respect.

    Surrender the fantasy and sing your Love Song To The Scrunchie in the shower from here on out, forevermore.


    • Aimee

      You have my heart, Amy. But I’m keeping my scrunchies! In fact, another friend who saw the post is sending me a sample of the new ones she makes for her etsy shop :)

      PS: You are hilarious and need to write that blog. Or guest post on mine. Please?

  5. Way to have the confidence to wear one in public and the common sense to relegate it to a self awareness class:)

  6. who says scrunchies are outdated? I used to make my own, now Goodie does it better. am a bit envious of your silk leopard!

  7. Um. I have a scrunchie on right now. Yes. I. do. Um…I have an entire bowl of them and another vase of them in my bathroom. Um, I am 45 years old. Um… I suck. I live in scrunchies. Yes. I really suck.