Scrunchies are back for real this time, and here's the price tag to prove it

Sabrina Rojas Weiss
(Photo: Balenciaga)
(Photo: Balenciaga)

Forget skirt lengths or the waists of jeans. The best symbol of the fluctuating, fickle nature of fashion is the scrunchie. The ubiquitous hair tie of the ’80s and ’90s has been declared fashionable again, so much so that Balenciaga is selling one for $185. Not everyone is quite ready to jump on this trend revival just yet, but many are willing to voice their opinion on the matter.

Editors at Vogue and Racked have waxed philosophical on this development, while social media abounds with fashion fans firmly declaring themselves pro and con scrunchie.

“You won’t catch me wearing a scrunchie ever,” declared Twitter user @elexisbrown23. While @sydegee wrote, “PSA to all my friends: for my birthday y’all should go in on a group gift, split the cost & get me this $195 balenciaga scrunchie!”

Some are charmed by their ability to mix, match, and collect these little bits of cloth:

Most agree it looks great on Arianna Grande:

And it’s still so darn practical!

Once upon a time, the scrunchie was not such a divisive object. Invented in the ’60s, the cloth-wrapped rubber bands hit their stride in the ’80s and early ’90s when they fit right in with the era’s voluminous fabrics, accessory overkill, and loud prints. From Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan to the queen B’s of Heathers, they were a symbol of cool girls. But they were also such a practical, gentle alternative to regular hair bands that they were also a favorite among less-fashionable moms and children. Inevitably, something so trendy is bound to fall from its popular perch. Anyone still holding on to their collection was promptly shamed out of it by Carrie Bradshaw in that Sex and the City episode.

This isn’t the first time editors have declared a Scrunchie Comeback. In 2010, American Apparel was selling them to ironic hipsters (remember those?). That didn’t really go mainstream, as you can tell by the way Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got mocked for wearing one in Madrid in 2011. Then, when ’90s nostalgia was in full swing in 2013, designers like Marc Jacobs and Missoni attempted to bring them back again. A few brave souls adopted the trend then, but for the most part, scrunchies remained in the shadows (though still atop the heads of gymnasts and figure skaters).

Unlike those attempts, the high-end presentation of this Balenciaga version (which, to be precise, the brand is calling a bracelet) and the Comfort Objects “Hair Clouds” made from Hermes scarves doesn’t rely on irony or nostalgia for their appeal. Perhaps this time it really will take.

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