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Fabric scrunchies
Scrunchies made from bead crochet.

A scrunchie (or scrunchy) is a fabric-covered elastic hair tie used to fasten medium to long hair types.[1] The elastic hair tie is encased in loose fabric that forms a ruffle when twisted around a ponytail. [2] Large, elaborate styles and diminutive, unassuming forms are available in many different colors, fabrics, and designs.[3]


The scrunchie was invented in the 1960s, [2] but it was patented in 1987[4] by Rommy Hunt Revson. She created the first prototype of the scrunchie because she wanted a gentler version of the metal hair ties used in the 1980s.[5] Prior to this, Revson was a house sitter in the Hamptons. [6] She bought herself a $50 sewing machine and learned how to sew, developing the working prototype within weeks.[6] Revson was inspired by the design of the elastic waistband on her sweatpants [6] and named the decorative hair accessory the Scunci after her pet toy poodle.[7] The name scrunchie was a natural evolution, because the fabric scrunched up. After patenting the scrunchie, Revson spent most of her time in legal disputes, both with manufacturers and her own lawyers.[8] Scrunchies were particularly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, including larger, more elaborate versions. Scrunchies regained popularity in the mid 2010s.[9]


Revson's scrunchies were extremely popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Scrunchies initially became popular in the 80s because they were a less damaging alternative for pulling big hair up.[10] Also, scrunchies came in many different colors and patterns, so they matched the colorful and over-the-top aesthetic of the 1980s. Well-known celebrities such as Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Demi Moore, and Sarah Jessica Parker were all seen wearing them.[5] Debbie Gibson in particular wore them; Madonna wore a large velvet scrunchie in Desperately Seeking Susan.[11] Scrunchies were also featured in popular movies like Heathers, being passed from one Heather to another based on popularity shifts.[12] The popularity of scrunchies continued into the 1990s as well. This time, scrunchies made an appearance in shows such as Friends, Full House, and Seinfeld.[5] The scrunchie's popularity was not limited to celebrities and television, however; many female astronauts used them to secure their hair while they were on a mission.[5]

The early 2000s marked a fall in the popularity of scrunchies. Carrie Bradshaw in an episode of Sex and the City mocked the fashion, saying “No woman … would be caught dead at a hip downtown restaurant wearing a scrunchie."[13][3][9][14] This comment represented the decline in popularity of the scrunchie during this time period, sparking a decade's worth of negative views and distaste.[13] The scrunchie became a faux pas in the sense that wearing it around was embarrassing.[5]

Even after its loss of popularity, the scrunchie made a comeback in the late 2010s.[15] It was seen all over runways making its way back into fashion.[15] In 2017, scrunchies appeared at the New York Fashion Week as part of Mansur Gavriel's fall 2017 collection.[2] It was an event that fashion publications like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar would mention in their own articles; scrunchies were coming back but as low, loose ponytails rather than on top of the head.[2]  A Vogue editor even included the scrunchie in a "can't-live-without hair products" list coining it as an essential accessory for makeup-removal time at the end of the workday.[16] The scrunchie has expanded on its popularity, with even Balenciaga getting involved, selling an "XXL" silk scrunchie for $275.[16]

Scrunchies are no stranger to the public sphere, making their way into the hair and on the wrists of celebrities.[15] Famous women such as Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Ruth Bader Ginsburg,[17] and Selena Gomez have all been seen wearing them again.[5] Famous singer Lizzo generated news when she wore a $100 scruchie with jewels on it backstage at MTV's Video Music Awards.[15] It was featured in the popular Netflix original movie To All the Boys I've Loved Before as a symbol of power struggle between main character Lara Jean and her former BFF[12] and the character Eleven on Stranger Things was seen wearing them in the third season of the show in 2019.[10]

Scrunchies are often exchanged between tweens and young teens as a sign of an emerging romance. Generally, a girl will give a boy a scrunchie as a sign of affection or to say that he is "cute" or that he is her "crush", and the boy will wear the scrunchie usually on his wrist.[18][19]

Scrunchies are also an integral part of the VSCO girl aesthetic, which is a trend that is discussed greatly on an app called TikTok. The VSCO girl is seen as a teen aesthetic among Gen Z culture, and the most prominent addition to the look is an armful of scrunchies.[2] The re-surge in popularity is partly attributed to the rise in nostalgic culture at the end of the 2010s.[10] Another reason cited for its rise in popularity in the late 2010s is an increased emphasis on hair health, the scrunchie is gentler on curly, coarse, or kinkier hair than normal hair ties.[15] They also add volume to buns without having to use hair bun inserts to create a doughnut shape, and they help to avoid creating dents in the hair.[13]

Types and variations[edit]

There are over five hundred different designs of scrunchies since its invention.[5] There are many different brands and stores that sell them.[5] In the US, almost every major store sold some sort of scrunchie in 2019. The Scünci-brand offers a range of textures, including velvet, satin, and fur, as well as various designs such as neon and metallic.[5] There are also different variations of the scrunchie. There is a scrunchie bow, which is a normal scrunchie with a small and short or large and long bow on one side of it.[20] There are also different patterns, such as leopard print, tie-dye, and dotted. There are also scrunchies with prints of animals or pictures of flowers on them.[20]


  1. ^ "Scrunchie". Merriam-Webster online.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mull, Amanda (September 5, 2019). "Scrunchies Are Little Rainbow Reminders That Millennials Are Old". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Marissa Gold (January 28, 2010). "Hair Scrunchies, Explained – Scrunchie 101". StyleList. Archived from the original on August 22, 2011.
  4. ^ US Patent #USS1D0292030, United States Patent and Trademark Office
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Granero, Kristin (August 28, 2019). "Everything You Need to Know About the History of the Scrunchie". PureWow. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c McNamee, Kai (September 17, 2022). "The inventor of the scrunchie dies, leaving behind a fabulous fashion legacy". NPR.
  7. ^ "The inventor of the scrunchie had a second idea that was even weirder". Trivia Happy. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  8. ^ "Lawyer, Scunci Queen Tangle Over Legal Fees". Observer. April 19, 1999. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Heather Schwedel, "Fight to the Decades: Are We Experiencing an ’80s or ’90s Comeback?", Flavorwire, August 25, 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Radin, Sara (September 18, 2019). "How Scrunchies Became the Biggest Fashion Trend — Again". Teen Vogue. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  11. ^ Mhairi Graham, "The Scrunchie Revival: AnOther considers the return of that 90's classic – the scrunchie", AnOther, May 29, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Hart, Maria Teresa (November 1, 2019). "How the scrunchie rose and fell and rose again in popularity". Vox. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Marriott, Hannah (March 1, 2018). "The scrunch bunch – the surprising return of the scrunchie". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  14. ^ Sex and the City Episode 78: "Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little", HBO, retrieved March 23, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e Selyukh, Alina (December 16, 2019). "Scrunchies Are Cool Again. Hair's How They Staged A Comeback". NPR. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Maloy, Ashley Fetters (September 16, 2022). "An ode to the scrunchie, the '80s fashion invention we never forgot". The Washington Post.
  17. ^ Uyehara, Mari (January 30, 2019). "The Dark Side of the Cult of Ruth Bader Ginsburg | The Nation". {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  18. ^ Puhak, Janine (October 5, 2019). "Mom's viral Facebook post explains why hair scrunchies are 'secret' sign of middle school romance". Fox News. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  19. ^ America, Good Morning. "Scrunchies are the new middle school crush gift". Good Morning America. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  20. ^ a b DuBois, Elizabeth (June 4, 2019). "I Can't Stop Buying Unusual Scrunchies". The Strategist. Retrieved February 7, 2020.

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