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The Terrible Return of the Scrunchie!

NextTribe scrunchie comeback

All apologies to Ruth Bader Ginsburg who never gave them up, but when I saw that scrunchies were back, I felt squeamish. It’s hard to believe that the most brilliant minds in fashion and beauty can’t come up with a non-damaging hair-holder better than that poufy 80s eyesore.

Having been extolled by style bibles like W, Allure and InStyle, scrunchies are now proliferating in the manner of other playfully named but actually insidious trends such as mogwais (Gremlins) and tribbles (the original Star Trek). Urban Outfitters claims scrunchie sales have soared 170 percent! It wouldn’t be so annoying if scrunchies were only available in stores patronized by teenagers, but high-end designers are doing them too. Balenciaga’s 2018 resort collection featured a lambskin version selling for about $200 a pop!

Of course, Balenciaga wouldn’t be so déclassé as to call the egregious accessory a scrunchie; mais non, it is a chouchou. And Comfort Objects, a Scandinavian company that repurposes silk scarves into precious ponytail thingees, has chosen to dub them “hair clouds.” Yeah, right, uh-huh.

As far as I’m concerned, a scrunchie by any other name is still a scrunchie. And my complaint is not that an item from my own young adulthood has officially become retro (although, okay, ouch!), it’s that the silly things are conducive to hairstyles better suited to a Pomeranian than a grown woman. True, wearing hers low on the nape and neutral in hue, free of faux pearls or sequins, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg does bring a certain respectability to the scrunchie. But the Notorious RBG aside, most scrunchie statements scream fashion faux-pas. Can the comeback of the banana clip be far behind?

 –Nina Malkin




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