POPSUGAR Celebrity

Witness the History of the Scrunchie

Jun 6 2011 - 6:00am

Not too long ago on The Late Show With David Letterman, guest Jennifer Garner revealed that she used to run a lucrative scrunchie business back in college. This got me thinking about these vintage (and oft-mocked) ponytail holders. Just exactly where did they come from, and who used to — or still does — wear them anyway? Find out this and more, when you read on.

WireImage [1]

Sex and the Scrunchie

It's a popular thought that the scrunchie was invented by Rommy Revson around 1986 [2]. By 1988, Sarah Jessica Parker got in on the trend, sporting this scrunchie in her larger-than-life hair.

Silver Lining

They've gone under several different designs and names over the years, from Scünci to Rommi, but the name scrunchie actually came from the design itself. Hence, thanks to its scrunched fabric, this ponytail holder became known as the scrunchie. Here's Teri Garr sporting a silver one in 1989.

The Heathers Scrunchie

A red scrunchie "starred" in 1989's Heathers? In the black comedy, the prized red scrunchie acts as a leadership symbol of sorts, with Veronica Sawyer (as portrayed by Winona Ryder) getting her final revenge — and the scrunchie — in the end.

Golden Girl

Paula Abdul has always had a flair for the unconventional, but back in 1990 at the Grammy Awards, she set trends by pairing a shimmery gold frock with a matching gold lamé scrunchie.

Even Designers Wear Them

Some time in the 1990s, designer Cynthia Steffe was spotted wearing a scrunchie while discussing the merits of zippers and mod looks in this old-school video [3]. (See Cynthia's scrunchie around the 1:20 mark.)

Pop Star Scrunchie

Here's Janet Jackson (and her incredible abs) performing in 1999, scrunchie and all.

The Heiress Scrunchie

In 2004, Nicky Hilton [4] entered the scrunchie business, as she was announced spokeswoman and designer for Scünci [5], the makers of scrunchies and other hair accessories.

The Good Luck Scrunchie

The scrunchie even got a nod in 2001's Legally Blonde [6] around 15 minutes into the movie:

Margot: Here, you're gonna need this.

Elle: Your scrunchie?

Margot: My lucky scrunchie. It helped me pass Spanish.

Serena: You passed Spanish because you gave Professor Montoya a lap dance after the final.

Debating the Scrunchie

In a 2003 episode of Sex and the City, "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little," Carrie and Berger get into a kerfuffle over whether or not women in New York actually do wear scrunchies. Short answer: no.

Scrunchies Make an Appearance in Literature

In 2003's Slab Rat [7], author Ted Heller explores what it's like to work in the fierce, competitive world of fashion magazines. Zachary, the main character in the book, has a thing for an editor who wears a scrunchie. A scrunchie in the fashion world? While unlikely, as evidenced by Cynthia Steffe, it could happen.

The Bracelet Scrunchie

Never was there a more convenient place to keep a scrunchie than on one's arm, à la Ashley Judd, who sported this look at a 2004 Kentucky basketball game.

The Faux-Hair Scrunchie

Sometime in the 2000s, we saw an emergence of made-from-synthetic-hair accessories, like this one, which is essentially a hairy scrunchie.

In the Movies

In 2005's In Her Shoes we saw another reference to the scrunchie in film. Cameron Diaz [8] (as Maggie) snarkily says to a ponytail-wearing Toni Collette (as Rose), "1994 called. It wants its hair scrunchie back." Ouch.

Award-Winning Scrunchie

Scrunchies, by design, keep the hair off the face, making for the perfect addition to any gymnast's ensemble. And at the 2008 Olympics, this trio, which included Nastia Liukin, Sandra Izbasa, and Shawn Johnson, showed off not just their medals, but their colorful hair scrunchies, too.

The Avant-Garde, Luxury Scrunchie

For the 2009 Costume Institute Gala, Madonna had heads turning with this Louis Vuitton hair accessory.

The Scrunchie Revival . . . or Not

American Apparel tried to bring the scrunchie back in 2009 [9], and it looks like the brand is still trying [10], even to this day.

The Runway Scrunchie

For Marc Jacobs's Spring 2010 show, models walked the runway sporting perhaps some of the classiest scrunchies ever known to mankind: ruffled chiffon scrunchies.

Airport Accessory

On her arrival to New York's JFK airport in 2009 [11], Britney Spears's laid-back ponytail was accentuated with a bright red scrunchie.

Streets of NY Scrunchie

Catherine Zeta-Jones wore this burgundy scrunchie while out in New York last year.

The Errand-Running Scrunchie

Here's Kate Beckinsale [12] adding a special touch to her tousled ponytail, sporting an oversize black scrunchie, while out with her family in August 2010.

When a Scrunchie Looked Chic

When wrapped up in a braided bun, as seen here on a model at Sophie Theallet's Spring 2011 show, a scrunchie can actually look kind of chic. Who would have known?

A Scrunchie Retrospective

So impactful has the scrunchie been on our culture, last November DIS Magazine presented an in-depth lecture on the topic, called "Interpreting the Scrunchie." [13]

The '80s Party

No 1980s-themed event would be complete without a scrunchie. And at the '80s-themed Take Me Home Tonight movie premiere earlier this year, reporter Angela Sun walked the red carpet wearing some blue liner and a gold lamé scrunchie. Ironically, former scrunchie-lover Debbie Gibson just happened to be at the event [14], as well — just no scrunchie for her.

The Throwback Scrunchie

Speaking of gold scrunchies, while appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon recently, Liv Tyler got into the groove wearing this old-school hair accessory while performing a skit.

The Old College Try

Jennifer Garner [15] is a funny lady, and as mentioned before, the impetus of this slideshow. See her humorously chatting with David Letterman [16] about her quite lucrative scrunchie business (around the 6:15 mark) she ran illegally in college. What a rebel.

Source URL