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An '80s survivor: Scrunchies come back in style

| Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The scrunchie is not a new hair accessory.

But it sports a new look.

“The scrunchie has gotten a lot more decorative recently,” says Holly Carter, beauty director for People StyleWatch. “Since its '80s heyday, the scrunchie has been more of a utilitarian accessory used only to pull back hair before face-washing time. Until now, that is.”

Celebrities are wearing them, and they have their place on fashion runways.

Scrunchies are gentle on strands, fashion experts say. The only challenge is to choose one that doesn't make you look like it is the 1980s or '90s. The styles that are on trend are being made in more sophisticated fabrics, such as leather and suede, says Nicole Chapoteau, Allure magazine accessories director. They come in smaller sizes, unlike the “oversized poofy styles” of the past, she says.

“I noticed a lot more women adorning their hair with fabric headbands, ornate metal headbands, neutral-colored scrunchies and floral hair accessories,“ Chapoteau says. “Accessorizing one's hair is just another way to add to your look besides jewelry.”

This trend doesn't require really long hair, Chapoteau says, because scrunchies come in all sizes. Just be sure to pick one that will hold your hair without taking over a ponytail.

It's being worn in ways that feel fresh — to jazz up a trendy topknot or pony, for instance, Carter says. Some of the newer scrunchie styles are more mature, stylish and aren't as big as a “doughnut,” she says.

“Marc by Marc Jacobs has one with a bright pattern that feels more like a cool ponytail holder than an '80s go-to,” Carter says. “Chanel even did an amazing take on the scrunchie for the fall (runway) show.”

Colorful patterns and textures like leather are great and feel “of the moment,” Carter says. Hair accessories, such as head bands, bejeweled barrettes, combs and hair pins are big right now. Using a hair accessory is a quick way to turn around a bad hair day with an instant style or jazz up an otherwise basic look, Carter says.

“To me, that's what makes them so appealing — accessories give women a way to have more fun with their hair and get creative,” Carter says. “Scrunchies are a part of the quick-and-easy appeal of hair accessories. So they are more of a viable, trendy hair accessory option as of late.

“Plus, for the younger set it's a totally new look! And to me, the great thing about them is that because they are made of soft fabric, they're not damaging to hair.”

While scrunchies may have once represented a more juvenile look, they are taking the fashion industry by storm, offering cool designs and bold color patterns — plus they won't crease your strands if you pull them back with one, says Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, senior editor for Self magazine.

“Right now, we're looking towards the fall, so look for a scrunchie in a solid jewel tone or black,” she says. “(The company) Scunci also makes great scrunchie hair-tie scarves, which is a nice way to dip your toe into the trend without going all out.”

Scunci recently released a line with design details such as pops of contrasting color and reflective accents. Their no slip-grip technology keeps them in place.

“Scrunchies are just another awesome way to add more dimension to your style,” Jacoby Zoldan says. “They can help pull a look together in a monochromatic palette or add a pop of color or pattern to an otherwise neutral look.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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