Once the preserve of the school playground, hair accessories have enjoyed a retro revival. Puffy headbands, claw clips, beaded clips, barrettes, ribbons and scrunchies – the list goes on for as long as you’re willing to scroll. And though they might feel modern, people have been decorating their hair for millennia. In ancient Egypt pottery rings symbolised status and authority. In ancient Rome hollow pins housed perfume, and in ancient Greece floral crowns honoured the gods. (Little did they know they’d one day honour the musical kind at Glastonbury and Coachella too.) In West African civilisations like Nigeria, coral beads were worn as ornamental crowns in wedding ceremonies, and in Eastern African countries such as in Ethiopia and Eritrea, delicate gold chains were used to accentuate cornrows.
Yes, the histories are rich and varied, and the options these days are infinite. Remember Solange’s A Seat At The Table album cover in which she wore a whole head of duck bill clips? Or the 2019 Met Gala when Lupita Nyong’o’s hair was punctuated by five afro picks with raised and clenched fists for handles. They were a symbol of Black Power, and in turn, unity and solidarity. Ashley Graham meanwhile had a ponytail swarming with Gucci emblazoned bows and barrettes. If you’re after something equally exquisite, but a little more wearable, there are 2.9 million tags of inspiration under #hairaccessories on Instagram.