Mar 19, 2021

90's Hair Accessories: A Retrospective

Ah, the 90's. What a time to be alive.

The 90's gave us a lot of great things. A thriving economy, classic tv shows, cell phones with batteries that lasted for days without charging -- all in all, it was a pretty good time.

We also got a lot of, uh, interesting hair accessories in the 90's. Sure, there were the things we still know and love today -- scrunchies, headbands, and the like. There were also a lot of hats.

Seriously, lots of hats. And butterfly clips. And other types of clips.

Consider this our MOMA-style (okay, maybe that's a reach, but still, you get it) retrospective for 90's accessories. We've got everything, the good, the bad, and the very, very weird.

Let's get started.

Bright plush bucket hats.

Did people actually wear these to class? Or was this just a TV phenomenon?

They were very muppet-y and, in this writer's humble opinion, the most absurd item on this list (which is honestly saying a lot).

Also: they had to be made of felt, or at least look like they were made of felt. We stan some 90's comfort headgear.

Denim accessories

Denim was in hats, headbands, hair flowers, basically everything. Perfect for matching with your denim overalls, your denim jacket, your denim vest... the list goes on.

V bright plastic hair clips

Bonus points if you coordinated your hair clips with your lip color.

~spicy~ beanies

The beanie manifested in so many different forms. There was the "I'm a cool grunge kid skater girl" beanie -- it performed best when paired with flannel.

But there were also "I'm wearing a beanie but I'm a fancy fashionista with lots of money" beanies. Banks family, looking at you.

Crocheted accessories

Crocheted beanies, crocheted bucket hats, crocheted hair flowers, crocheted headbands... honestly almost everything on this list also came in crocheted form.

Pom pom hair ties

Wearing these was 90's shorthand for, "Hi, I'm a cool girl, but I'm also quirky and fuzzy! Check me out!"


Ah, bandanas. The perfect way to cover up that you hadn't washed your hair for... a minute.

Don't want to wear it in classic bandana form? No problem. Scrunch it up into headband form.

And if you were especially skilled, you could turn them into scrunchies. Three 90's birds one stone, right?

~fancy~ bucket hats

An excellent way to channel your grandma and also show how rich and fancy you were.

Saved By the Bell taught us that fancy people really did just wear these to high school. Like, no big deal, just having lunch at the races after geometry. Totally realistic.

Hair jewelry

If your hair didn't look like a tiara just exploded in it, then what were you even doing?

Skinny glammed up headbands

These headbands were the diet coke version of hair jewelry. Still sparkly, but probably less bad for your hair (those crystals HURT, man).

Hair daisies

A very specific subset of hair flowers, hair daisies were a phenomenon all on their own. They could be dressed up...

...or dressed down. And obviously, they worked best when they matched with your outfit, also daisy themed.


Ah yes. The big daddy of 90's hair accessories. The patron saint of dressed up ponytails and half-updos.

They added volume, and gave every look a boost of 90's ~oomph.

Also they always had to match your outfits. Duh.

Bonus points if you happened to have bangs. Then you could do the half-up, half-down, with bangs look. Simultaneously pajama's level casual and 90's sleek chic.

Flower adorned hats

Uh, sorry girl, that look is very hippie witch. Also: stylish gardener grandma.

All joking aside, many of the flower adorned hat outfits were pretty solid looks. Like would you be weirded out if you saw someone wearing a flowery bucket hat today? Sure. But they could still be cute in 90's context.

... with some major exceptions. Is that a sunflower on a tophat? M'am, you live in the 90210. Couldn't you afford something a little less magic-showy?

Butterfly hair clips

Butterfly hair clips were magnificent. They could be used to hold a single, small section of hair artfully in place. Or they could be actually useful, and pull your hair out of your face. Choose your own adventure and all that.

Butterfly clips became such a phenomenon that they eventually transcended their original shape. The butterflies ~flew away~ and landed on regular clips to act as pure ornamentation.

Flower hair clips

They're butterfly clips, but with flowers instead of butterflies. An ingenious invention.

Even more ingenious -- they came in different sizes. Such variation and luxury.

Dragonfly hair clips

No. 1 choice for when you were too cool for both butterfly clips OR flower clips.


Shocking, but berets weren't always seen as a jokey way to pretend to be french.

Cindy Crawford even wore one on the red carpet.

Formal wear flowers

The best way to complete your spaghetti strap prom dress? A hair rose.

Extra-large rectangular hair clips

Using them to actually pull the hair out of your face is optional. Also -- color coordination is a must.

Oversized flat caps.

The oversized part was NOT optional. The bigger the flat cap, the cooler the wearer.

Wanna learn even more about haircare? Here's what you should check out next:

What Does Chlorine Do To Your Hair?

Spoiler: It's not good for it.

Does Hair Color Expire?

Pssst -- if you think your hair color has expired, you should go ahead and ditch it.

Hair Botox 101

The heck is "blotox" anyway?

How To Sleep With Curly Hair

Sleep easy with your curls secured.

Ouidad Cut 101

Is this the right curl-cut for you?

Caroline Schmidt