Who — or What — Is Responsible for the Pouf’s Resurgence?

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Poufs on Hillary, a fall 2010 Vera Wang model, and Snooki. Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images, Imaxtree, Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Snooki's pouf is arguably the most famous unofficial roommate to come out of Jersey Shore. Something that can draw more attention than the orange breasts and muscles in that house is surely a powerful thing. The Times thinks just that — power — is behind the pouf's recent resurgence. The hairstyle has been seen on Hillary Clinton and celebrities like Miley Cyrus, as well as on numerous fall runways, such as Vera Wang. Why shouldn't a powerful woman tease her hair into a big powerful hairdo to complement her power suit, which also made a resurgence for fall?


Voluminous locks have symbolized female power throughout history, from the wealthy Roman women whose elaborate hairstyles were created by their slaves to Marie Antoinette and her four-foot wigs, from the cast of “Dynasty” to the current crop of dandelion-headed women appearing in popular culture at the same moment as a simple plastic device that promises instant volume by “bumping” it up.

But whom to credit for big hair's rise? Snooki feels too recent, bumpits feel like too much of a failure, and wealthy Roman women just feel like an overanalytical pretentious reference. The Times argues the trend was born in Jersey, but was it? Southern women have worn their hair big for decades. On a trip to Cincinnati before Jersey Shore had ever aired, we noticed pretty much everyone there looked to be wearing a bumpit. So perhaps we can't pinpoint the trend to a reality-TV star, historical reference, cultural movement, or specific geographic region. Stephanie Kocielski, artistic director of John Paul Mitchell Systems, says it's the economy, which not too long ago explained everything going on everywhere in this country.


Because many women are resisting fashion purchases, she said, “the only real area where people can influence change right now is their hair.”

“The bigger the hair,” she said, “the closer to God.”

So poufs are signs of hope and optimism. Of course Hillary rocks them.

Big Hair Returns, via New Jersey [NYT]