Middle School is undoubtedly an interesting era in most of our lives and in my own time, I certainly had a penchant for popular middle school hair accessories. When you’re 14 and becoming familiar with yourself as a human while exploring your identity, you often make a lot of mistakes, try out a bunch of new things, and hop on every bandwagon that goes by. The easiest way I could explore my own identity (my sartorial identity, at least) was through my hair.
I always had short hair as a child, so I was never really fussed about hair accessories. That is until middle school, when butterfly clips were all the cool girls talked about. Even with short hair, I would put in colorful butterfly clips and wear thick, embellished scrunchies in the same 'do. Although I sometimes look back at seventh grade photos now and cringe, I loved the styles in the moment. I mean, let’s be real: Most middle schoolers aspire to be a Lisa Frank unicorn at some point, so the more sparkly, glitzy, and glam your hair, the better.
In an effort to relive the glory days of classic middle school hair and to reminisce about all the rainbow accessories and embellishments that are now somewhat terrifying, here are seven hair accessories you thought were the coolest in middle school. Maybe you'll even think a few of 'em still are the coolest. (I may or may not be wearing a scrunchie as I type these very words.)
1. Butterfly Clips
Remember these babies? Even though they were terrible at holding your hair in place and even though they broke every time you really needed them, they were a middle school hair must. Holding your bangs back with butterfly clips probably wasn’t the trendiest or most functional look (nor was putting them in your ponytail or clipping your stray frizz with their wings). But they sure looked cute.
2. Bow Headbands
Just like Blair Waldorf established in Gossip Girl with all of her embellished headband glory, headbands were the cool things to wear in school. The more accessorized, embellished, and sparkly the headband, the better. While I personally still wear headbands to keep my hair out of my face, they were a total style statement back in the day. Plus, they could really spruce up a school uniform.
3. Colorful Clips
Because I have baby hairs that love to frizz up, these clicky clips are still shown lots of love in my hair accessory arsenal. That being said, I like to stick to the black or brown kind these days, so they blend into my hair. I used to envy the girls who would clip the colorful versions all around their hairlines like a clip tiara, as well as the ones who could perfectly color coordinate their clips to their ensembles.
I totally wear scrunchies in my hair to this day and have absolutely no shame about it. As I’ve grown older, though, their utility has been prioritized rather than their stylishness. I need a hair tie that’s not going to break on me when I'm putting my hair into a ponytail, and the extra fabric on scrunchies happen to give hair ties that extra support they need. In middle school, however, a scrunchie's goal was to be as big and as colorful as possible. Extra pointers if you had one with a bow.
5. Bow Clips
I was never a cheerleader in school, and the only reason I ever considered trying out was the enormity of the bows those girls got to wear. Those. Bows. Were. Big. As much as I tried to wear one that was exactly the same size in middle school, it never quite felt the same. I still have a few of these babies in my bathroom drawer, but I think it’s safe to say the time and place for my hair bows has very much passed.
Clicky clips might've been cool, but feather extensions were everything. Whether you opted for a natural feather that blended into your hair or one that was as bright as the sun, a feather added to your 'do meant an automatic seat at the popular table. But who cares about that?
7. Neon Streaks
I'll let Lizzie take it from here! Just like feathers, neon streaks were an emblem of 13-year-old cool. I probably wasn't rad enough to rock the look in my early adolescence. But even if I wanted to, I know I wouldn't have been able to pick a color. There were neon blue, green, yellow, and even rainbow ones. How is one person ever supposed to choose?
At the end of the day, middle school hair accessories were clearly just another way to become Lisa Frank unicorns.
Images: Melodi Erdogan; Disney Channel