compulsive shopping

I Can’t Stop Buying Unusual Scrunchies

Photo: Netflix

Childhood photos show my long hair in almost every style, including pig tails, high buns, braids, and half up/half down ’dos. But no matter how I styled it, I almost always used the same accessory: a scrunchie. No longer relegated to a few hooks in a drugstore beauty aisle (where I’d discreetly buy them years ago when Carrie Bradshaw first derided them), the scrunchies I loved as a kid are again ubiquitous. Our current scrunchie renaissance has resulted in a wave of different styles, which I’ve spotted at department stores like Nordstrom and Barney’s, smaller boutiques like Forty Five Ten and LoveShackFancy, and of course my local Rite Aid in Greenpoint.

I have about 15 in my regular rotation, many of them with a bow and each of which I like to wear for a very specific purpose. There’s the leopard-print scrunchie I throw on to look more put together when running errands. The quick-drying one I wear to work out. And even specific silk ones I’ll wear to bed that help prevent my long, thin locks from breaking while I sleep. Below, these and other scrunchies I own, plus others I want to buy, for practically any occasion.

Scrunchies I’ve bought

My hair is long (down to my bust) and thin, making it hard to stay put during any sort of exercise. I struggled to find a hair tie to work out in until I found this breathable scrunchie — which not only dries fast thanks to its sweat-wicking fabric, but more importantly holds my high bun in place whether I’m pedaling through Soul Cycle or attempting Warrior 3 at Modo Yoga. I also love the bow, which I think makes my all-black workout clothes a bit less dull.

$18 for 2

I tend to play more with fashion in the warmer months, creating outfits inspired by the trips I’m taking. I got this scrunchie set so I can lean into my preppy persona the next time a friend invites me to take the Fast Ferry up to Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend. Either one is the perfect topper to my “cruise” look of striped boat-neck shirt and white jeans.

I have tickets to four concerts this summer, and picked up this ten-pack of technicolor scrunchies (in materials including velvet and satin) to zhuzh up my traditional show attire of T-shirt and jeans. They look just as cool on your arm (the bright solid colors remind me of festival wrist bands) as they do in your hair.

I gave up ballet long ago, but have yet to fully shake the traumatic hair memories I associate with recitals (so many bobby pins!). You could say I bought this ballerina-looking scrunchie as a literal form of retail therapy. Its just-twee-enough pink-gingham pattern and oversized bow make me smile, replacing scary ballet memories with happier thoughts each time I wear it.