Butterfly clips have swooped back into the spotlight, riding on the back of the popular '90s trend. Leaving a trail of glitter in their wake, these trendy little beauties led me to embark on wearing butterfly clips for a week. I must admit, as someone who's not afraid to try out the newest (or rather oldest) fads and will literally use any excuse to wear fancy dress or anything out of the ordinary, I was rather excited. However, there was a small part of me that wondered how a grown-ass woman wearing butterfly clips would be received by my family and friends.
Butterfly clips were made popular in the 1990s by the trendiest of teens. Mary-Kate and Ashley rocked butterfly clips on many occasions and their elaborate, insect embellished hairstyles left me green with envy. Lizzie McGuire showed us mere mortals how to style butterfly clips in our barnets with her 'dos that were a little more girl next door, than teen star with an entourage of personal stylists. In our youth, a whole host of our favorite pop culture princesses sported these girlish hair clips, including Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Britney Spears, and Sabrina Spellman. I looked through the hairchives (AKA Google Images) to find my inspiration and I embarked on my week of butterfly clip hairstyles. Here's what happened.
Day 1: The Subtle Twists
On the first day of my experiment — which basically felt like Christmas morning, by the way — I decided to go for a subtle approach to ease myself in. I had a meeting in the afternoon, so I needed to come off as slightly professional.
I took two sections of hair at either side of my face and twisted them back, securing them with a single butterfly clip on each side. This look surprised me; I was pleased with how versatile it was and nobody commented on my new look. I had been expecting nostalgic comments but not a word was said. Even my fiancé, when prompted about my new look answered, "It's alright." I felt like I'd played it too safe and wanted to dial it up a notch the next day.
Day 2: The Butterfly Braid
So on the second day of my experiment, I decided to rock a big, fat braid with a kaleidoscope of butterflies resting on it. I planned on going swimming, but I wasn't sure how well these tiny clips would stay in, nor did I want to cause anyone to stand on one lurking in the bottom of the pool, so I decided against wearing them during my swim.
As much as I liked the overall aesthetic, I had to keep my braid over my shoulder, because whenever I flipped it onto my back, the pesky clips would scratch me in an unpleasant manner. This was one of those fashionable moments that looked good, but made you suffer in the process.
Day 3: The Old School Style
It was midweek, so I thought it high time I rocked a stereotypically '90s style. I sectioned off five areas of hair and secured them loosely with butterfly clips.
Although it might not look it, this was actually a really comfy style and one that I'd definitely wear again. The only trouble was, with my hair being so thick, the little clips couldn't hold the sections of hair dead in place, so they drooped a little. This wasn't too big of a deal though and it definitely wouldn't stop me sporting this style again.
Day 4: The Pretty Pigtails
The week was already half way through and I was, so far, loving my experience with butterfly clips, minus the scratchy braid. On Day 4, I thought I'd channel Baby Spice and her cutesy vibes.
I put my hair into low pigtails and formed a line of butterfly clips on each side of my head, which reminded me of Sky Dancers toys. Oh, 1990s, why did you have to go?! I liked this style but I wouldn't wear it to any formal occasions.
Day 5: The Braided Up 'Do
On Day 5 I was going to visit some friends and I wanted to look a little swanky as I hadn't seen them for a while. I decided to try another braided style, but I went for an up 'do instead to avoid any scratches. Who knew butterflies could be such vicious little critters?
I was rather proud of my creation from the front and felt like my hair resembled some kind of butterfly nest. Although, as you can see my 'do wasn't so neat from the top and I dreaded to think what the back looked like! However, I did get some kind compliments, but I wasn't sure if my friends were just being nice because they're super lovely.
Day 6: The Sparkling Ponytail
On Day 6 I decided to go for a slight My Little Pony vibe. I was helping my mom out at her church fundraiser working with baked goods and drinks, plus I had to drive approximately three hours.
It was not a day for flowing, loose hair so I decided to rock my signature quiff, a high ponytail, and some butterflies in the back. The only trouble was, it was tricky to get the clips in neatly, so the top of my hairstyle ended up looking messy. My photo is slightly blurry because I couldn't see what I was doing, but I thought this gave the effect that the butterflies were in flight. I was working with the general public most of the day and nobody mentioned my hairstyle.
Day 7: The Space Buns
Well, I couldn't do a 1990s themed experiment and not include space buns could I? The addition of these clips to my space buns made me think of intergalactic butterflies, which couldn't be a bad look, right? I went on a little trip out with my partner and I actually felt quite self conscious.
If I lived somewhere like London or New York, I wouldn't give a hoot about wearing this style, but I live in a small town, so I felt a little self-conscious. I think if I'd have been wearing either space buns or butterfly clips, I wouldn't have felt quite so quirky, yet rocking both made me feel like I looked a little wacky.
What I Learned From My Trip Down Memory Lane
At the start of this experiment, I had believed there to be only a couple of ways to wear butterfly clips and that these were mainly retro styles. As the week progressed, I realized – like with any item of clothing or accessory – you can wear butterfly clips however the hell you want to! IMO, they looked equally great with '90s inspired hairstyles or modern 'dos. I had originally thought butterfly clips to be a comeback fad, but now having tried wearing them in a myriad of ways, I've grown ever more enamoured with them.
So if you're a '90s kid who needs a dose of nostalgia, whimsy, or girliness added to your ensemble, rummage through your bottom drawer to get your mitts on your old butterfly clips!
Images: Phoebe Waller