Scrunchies: Then and Now

And maybe…going forward?


The last thing the Internet needs is another throwback to 90’s memorabilia, but it was on a trip down powered-by-Buzzfeed memory lane that I stumbled across a photo of Cressida Bonas rocking a scrunchie so imperfectly perfect that it propelled me to bid the majority of my black elastic hairbands adieu.

The image left me on a wild goose chase, hunting down scrunchies and their muses. After about 60 sublime minutes of Pinterest-scouring, I had to metaphorically slap myself across the face and ask the question: what is it about the scrunchie that heats the loins as it does?

For close to two years, the fashion industry has been teasing the return of the scrunchie. After Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse modeled for the label My Crazy Scrunchie, Vivienne Westwood commissioned the brand to design a few looks for her Spring/Summer runway show. And the Instagram account, #scrunchiesofinstagram, whose bio reads, “SCRUNCHTASTIC! Championing the return of the scrunchie, one scrunchie at a time” has close to 2,000 followers. Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow and, of course, Michelle Tanner, are just a few of the enigmas who have graced the account’s page.

There is sentimentality attached to the hair tie. When I reach for my fabric-covered elastic friend, I do so not only with the intention of tying half of my hair into a Samurai bun, but also in commemoration of all of my preteen friends who’ve paved the scrunchie path. Would I really be inclined to listen to Clarissa try and explain it all had she not been so effortlessly sporting her side pony/half bun galore? Probably not. And what about Napoleon Dynamite’s Deb?

Would the Bell have been Saved if not for Lisa, Kelly, and Jessie’s repeat offenses?

Let it be known, Olsen twins. We know where your hair has been.

No doubt scrunchies are on the brink of peaking again, but is this just another case of irony trumping earnest intention? Or are we on our way out of a minimalist renaissance, reaching for the protective, slightly experimental, and wholly playful bands of 80s lore?

Visit Esther’s blog, The Philosophy of Windex here and follow her ass on Instagram here.

Get more Personal Style ?
  • Oh Yes. The scrunchy. I had them in every colour and I wore them with my flashdance outfits. Remember the one bare shoulder and leg warmers? Wait a minute. I think I kept them in a box in my closet. I’ll be right back.

  • Gizem Akkan

    nooooo.. i hate them! I will never let them take over my hair..

    • Tara Edie

      Thank you! Scrunchies are a BIG no-no!! Some trends are NEVER a good idea, and these abdominal hair accessories definitely fall into that category, with the likes of matching velour jumpsuits, exposed thongs, and Ugg boots with miniskirts. Leave ’em on the playground, please!


  • Leandra Medine

    Why, I’m wearing one right now.

    • scrunchiesofinstagram


      • Pandora Sykes

        How happy are you about this scrunchiesofinstagram!? X

  • Androbel

    I don’t know why people find them so funny, I love them!!

    Xo, Belen

    Androbel new post!

  • Angela

    Gross. No. They are like a tutu for your hair, i.e. BAD.

  • Debbie Iles

    Yep, had scrunchies, mum jeans *read high waisted 501’s with belt*, bodysuits and man shirts, lots of cropped tops….and all in those particularly awkward early teen years…I love that my teen dagginess appears to be coming back so that another generation can make the same mistakes we did! Also somewhat disturbed that I haven’t learnt from my mistakes and seem to be gravitating towards certain trends again….

    • Esther

      Debbie, CAN WE RAID YOUR CLOSET!?!?

      • Debbie Iles

        Hahaha! I wish I still had it all now (despite the tragic picture evidence). Proof you should NEVER throw out your out of fashion clothes. My actual closet is here 😉

  • Mina Youn

    A collection of Scrunchies used to be my best friend but till Sarah J.parker once told , ‘NewYorkers never wear scrunchies and long story short, broke up with ‘The’Burger. Since then For me, a Scrunchi has symbolised a thing of hillbilly and became the last item to select . Time changed , But still it’s like a trauma for me.

  • Maureen Krezel French

    Only one thought comes to mind…Sex and the CIty and the Scrunchie, Period….”no woman who works at W magazine would be caught dead wearing a scrunchie….AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA SCRUNCHIEEEEEEEEEEEE! (well in the bathroom, maybe). Have a great day….like, really.

  • Scrunchies as Carrie Bradshaw´s turist-o-meter #fail

    • Guest

      uh oh.

    • Esther

      uh oh…

  • Always make me think of Saved by the Bell. Too good.

  • Sylvia

    Is the girl in the pic wearing the “updated” look of the scrunchie? With the matching mirrored visor ala V. Stiviano

  • Yvonne

    Great article. I love scrunchies, I never stopped wearing them, especially when sleeping (so comfy)

  • Aubrey Green

    I love a scrunchie.

  • diane has scrunchies! in every color. rejoice!

  • Tonia Rose

    I have never been a major fan of scrunchies, especially in ghastly neon tones. However I recently came across a leather one, and it looked really chic. And my friend has a zebra print one which is also stylish 🙂

  • Never thought I’d be saying this but I’m totally on board now that scrunchies are back in action.


  • GapToothedGirl

    I hate them so much! Call me a sex and the city addicted, but I can’t stand them!!
    XOX, Gap.

  • StephC

    I miss the scrunchie – it was so much easier on the head. Also, you are missing the most iconic one – from “Heathers” the red scrunchie that symbolized power!

    • Talia

      I found a red scrunchie in one of my bathroom cupboards. I’ve started wearing it all the time to make people think that i’m Heather number 1

  • AngelaRGonzales

    Michelle Tanner, are just a few of the enigmas who have graced the account’s page.

  • mywhiteT

    I am not sure if I could pull off a scrunchie look today.

  • Dude, they’re already back. As a David Attenborough-esque observer of Hipsters in their natural habitat (my neighborhood… GODDAMMIT), I can confirm that the scrunchie has joined it’s mom jeans and chunky healed sandal brethren in the Urban Outfitters fashion scene. It’s gross, but I HAVE to look…like when you squish a spider.

  • Ray, L

    Too Bad Seinfeld is off the air, i’m sure they regret not shooting the “Eliane Gets a scrunchie” episode it would have been a classic…

  • Adardame

    Nothing holds my hair as well as a scrunchy. I just cannot find non-cloth-covered hair ties with the same length and elasticity.

  • Ray, L

    I stand (Partially) corrected Seinfeld did have an episode “Soulmate” that Has a “Velvet Scrunchie” as an important plot device.,,, Esther Levy and Seinfeld & Larry David what a team that would make…..

  • Catrine

    Scrunchies are awesome, I wear em all the time! They are also better than elastics when it comes to keeping your hair up & off your face when you’re sleeping because they don’t leave a bend in your hair like regular elastics do! So if you own them but don’t want to wear them in public (but liiiive a liiiitle) you still can have a use for them!


  • Bel Campbell

    They’re massive in Argentina because the long haired beauties put there hair up, then out, then up again a million times a day and the scrunchie leaves their tresses kink free – I also think they can look fab.

  • pamb

    I’m with Carrie Bradshaw: scrunch are for washing your hair. Not to leave the house!

  • Scrunchies used to be quite popular back in the 90’s…why does everybody hate them so much nowadays?!

  • I’m definitely going to make a few and sport them like a diamond ring. Just watch. I still love a cute scrunchie

  • Johnnie Goldfish

    Scrunchies like bobby pins just another tool for your mood