A Guide to Barrettes: How to Style Them and Where to Shop Them

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Barrettes remind me of the good old days when I used to beg my mom to style my hair "half-up, half-down," which essentially referred to her swiftly lifting a small section of my hair from the crown and securing it with a clip. But boy, did my barrettes get more exciting with age. They went from thin, skinny metal bars to ornamental little things with bows. They became full-on fashion accessories. I matched them with all my outfits and, on the more vibrant days, coordinated them with butterfly clips. Barrettes were my jam.

As they make their return in 2020, they're bulkier and more geometric. Some come in lucite, some are big half-circles, and some are decorated with pearls and shells. Barrettes say a lot about your personality, too. With brands like BaubleBar, Ashley Williams, and Lelet NY creating barrettes with punchy phrases — including "J'ADORE" and "GLAM" — we might as well revolve our entire outfits around these little guys.

Even though some of my new favorite barrettes are still simple in design (like Cult Gaia's tortoise iteration that I pretty much wear every day), they all seem to make a street style statement that's easily recognizable. Ahead, we're breaking down everything there is to know about modern-day barrettes and directing you to some really great shopping options.

Are Barrettes in Style in 2020?
Getty | Edward Berthelot

Are Barrettes in Style in 2020?

Barrettes, like many trends we loved in the '90s, have definitely made a comeback. You can think of them as the sleek older sister to butterfly clips, and they can be worn a multitude of ways. They can be used to secure an updo, to pull back your hair on one side (as shown above), or to top off a ponytail with a miniature adornment.

When Were Barrettes Popular?

Barrettes are like a more glamorized version of the bobby pin, and they became popular in the '80s but were bigger must haves in the '90s, when we liked to "decorate" our hair with cutesy clip-ins.

How to Wear Barrettes

Secure a bigger one over the top of your ponytail for a day out. We suggest coordinating with some statement outerwear, and let them watch you as you go.

How to Wear Barrettes

Wear a more intricate piece that deserves all the attention with a simple slip dress for date night.

How to Wear Barrettes
Getty | NurPhoto

How to Wear Barrettes

Play up your brand love by repping a designer in big, bold letters. Bonus points if your statement sunglasses are from the same label.

How to Wear Barrettes

Style one with a bucket hat (this works best for long hair), clipping just a section into a half-up, half-down style.

How to Wear Barrettes
Getty | Edward Berthelot

How to Wear Barrettes

Pin up your hair to the side with not one but two bobby pins, completing the outfit with a free-flowing prairie dress and platforms, another essential '90s trend.

How to Wear Barrettes
Getty | Edward Berthelot

How to Wear Barrettes

Wear your hair straight and sleek with one clip on each side and mix with an '80s look, like high-waisted pants tucked into midrise, white leather boots.

How to Wear Barrettes
Getty | Ely Pineiro

How to Wear Barrettes

Coordinate your barrettes with statement earrings, a miniature bag, and a cotton-candy-colored blazer to achieve the ultimate feminine moment.

Where to Buy Barrettes

Some of our favorite shops for barrettes include BaubleBar, Wald Berlin, Lelet NY, Cult Gaia, Loeffler Randall, Completedworks, Urban Outfitters, and SVNR, but you can also shop for vintage treasures to secure something with a little more history.