Banana Blast from the Past

I had a serious post in mind, but something else came up that needed my urgent attention. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you saw the following status update last weekend:

“Among the beautiful flowers at the botanical gardens, I saw a very rare, thought-to-be-extinct species this afternoon: a woman wearing a banana clip in her hair.”

Yes, a banana clip.


In case you missed the five minutes they were popular in the ‘80s, a banana clip is a cross between some type of comb and a ponytail holder. It allowed you to pull your hair back from each side, with the clip (in its banananess) following the contour of your head in the back.

If you were lucky, the effect was like a mane of hair running down the middle of the back of your head.


As I recall, actually getting the banana clip in your hair was a tricky maneuver, especially if you had stick straight hair (as I did.) You had to flip your hair over and slide the banana clip into place slowly, flipping your hair back at just the right moment.

It took me forever, mostly because I usually had straight hair and banana clips kicked butt only if your hair was curly. Plus, I was completely uncoordinated even at an early age, so trying to simultaneously “work” the toothed banana clip before my hair fell out of it resulted in a convulsive dance of head flipping and fashion futility—the first of many.

Once I did actually get it clipped, my straight hair would refuse to hold it in, resulting in a crooked style that looked like a bastardized side ponytail/Joker’s smile. But when I had a perm or crimped my hair—both options that resulted in the smell of noxious fumes, singed hair follicles and a decade of pictures that could now be used as blackmail if ever unearthed—I had a much better relationship with the banana clip.

And while my relationship with the banana clip was turbulent at times, a constant in my childhood was the scrunchie.


The scrunchie needs no explanation or description, as it simply speaks for itself. I will admit that I had about 3,532 of them strewn about my drawer when I was younger, just in case I had to coordinate my scrunchie with my socks or my Swatch watch.

Even if I didn’t have a scrunchie in my hair, I would often wear one on my wrist (the one not covered in plastic bracelets or aforementioned Swatch watch) just in case.

Today a banana clip sighting is much more rare than the appearance of a scrunchie, but it’s still a rare treat to find a woman with a scrunchie—especially if it’s patterned and coordinates with her Day-glo leg warmers.

But even though we laugh about the absurdity of these hair accessories now, let’s be honest— have we really come that far, people? Today we have the Bump-It and feather hair extensions, and people wear them on purpose.

The only way I will wear something called a Bump-It is if it promises to bump up my chest, not my hair, but to each their own. This is coming from the girl that gets wine and hair color from a box, so take it for what it’s worth.

And if it’s a banana clip, it’s probably worth about 75 cents at a garage sale—and a good laugh.

Were you Team Banana Clip or Team Scrunchie? What other hair accessories were you rocking in the past?

(Or now. No judgment, of course…at least not that much.)

33 responses to “Banana Blast from the Past

  1. I dabbled with both but was more of a banana girl. I liked the height it gave my pony.

  2. On the rare occasion I see the banana clip and I always freeze and stare in wonder. Thank goodness the people wearing them are always walking away from me, so they don’t notice.

  3. I had layered curls, so it was impossible to use a scrunchy…just not enough hair for a real ponytail. The banana clip was for me! You aren’t old enough to remember the “wiglets” of the ’70’s….sure made for some groovy hairstyles!

  4. Just so you know, this post came at perfect time as I’m bored as fuck waiting for my flight. And nothing can soothe an antsy Eden like an Abby post.

    Anyhow, I’m team scrunchie cause with my “klutz” factor, I’d break the banana clip within hours of using it. Plus the scrunchie packs well (sorry, I just finished packing so everything in my head is still in packing mode).

    • Agreed. If I tried now, I’m pretty sure I would maim my face or poke my eyes out. Scrunchies were/are awesome in their simplicity. Plus, they do pack well, as you mentioned.

  5. my mom had a perm and rocked banana clips, of which I was always jealous, but she wouldn’t let me get a perm b/c “You [I] actually have *good* hair and I won’t let you [me] ruin yours [mine]” – thanks mom! So I did the scrunchie thing, though I usually just wore one around my wrist – or a giant wad of too-big-t-shirt-slack pulled to the side over my bike shorts – because I’m pretty sure I spent 1988-1991 with a permanent, way-too-tight french braid.

    As in, when my mom went out of town for the weekend, she would french braid my too-the-waist hair fresh out of the shower on Thursday/Friday morning, and it would still be perfectly in-tact and decent looking when she got back Sunday night. No WAY was my dad dealing with my mane.

    Do you remember the topsy tail? the loop of cheap plastic people paid for in order to – gasp! – split the base of their ponytail and thread the tail through? I work at BANANA FREAKING REPUBLIC and a coworker was wearing a godforsaken TOPSY TAIL the other night. Pretty sure that is NOT in the dress code.

    • You were very resourceful with the scrunchie as a T-shirt tie. I rocked some of those plastic things that you basically threaded the T-shirt through and tightened up on your hip. My collection included a few neon colors, so you know it was awesome. And yes, I totally remember the Topsy Tail from the cheesy commercials. If I saw one in person, I’m not sure how I would react. Do you play dead and hope it just passes by?

  6. I saw a girl wearing a scrunchie yesterday and I did a double take. This girl was a student. I go to school at state college, where 80% of girls shop at Victoria’s Secret for clothes. I wanted to hug the girl.

  7. About three years ago my sister was spouting the genius of eBay and was like “I got a huge bag of banana clips for $1.00!!!”
    I was like “Yeah…there is a reason for that…”

    However I do believe that scruncis will come back soon, mark my words. I can feel it. After all neon colors, peace signs and gummi bracelets and “cootchie cutters” were rocking Limited Too last year.

    Remember the roach clips everyone wore in their hair? I was thinking the other day I kind of wanted one and went looking on eBay. Because.

    PS- I just won a feather extension I wanted SO very dearly but could not afford (Thank you Clare).

  8. I also have super straight hair, so the banana clip was not for me. I did have scrunchies though. I even used to make my own.

  9. Oh my god, I remember the scrunchies and the banana – though I called it the claw instead. I had the same problem w the banana, so I used the mini ones instead. Scrunchies I collect but never actually used one because my mum would never let my hair grew past my ears 😦 heh! Thanks for the memories ABby!

  10. I’ve never heard of the Banana Clip (gasp!) but I owned a million scrunchies, give or take a couple. I used to try and put as many as possible to hold up my ponytail “as high as possible”, almost like a multi-colored scrunchie Jenga tower on top of my head. Coupled with my Ringo Star bangs that went up to my nose, it was hot.

  11. If I had a good day with my crimping iron, I could manage the banana clip. As long as it matched at least one color of the 2 pair of scrunched socks I was wearing. (My hair’s very fine, so there were many restrictions when it came to accessorizing it.)

    I would only rock a scrunchy (or 2) if I could find a kid’s sized one, due to the fine hair issue. I had such hair envy growing up. No amount of mousse, Aqua Net or Dippity Do could give it the oomph to live up to ’80s follicular fashions.

  12. A few things:
    1. I wear scrunchies to sleep at night because they are SO comfortable. I bought them a few months ago at Ulta and promised the girl at the counter I would only wear in in bed.
    2. Scrunchies also remind me of the S&TC when Carrie tells Burger how the leading lady in his book would have never worn a scrunchie and gets all bitch-mode and pouty. hated him.
    3. A lady I worked with about 5 years ago rocked banana clips on the reg. She had super thin and horrifically damaged blonde hair that i felt like was going to fall out at any second, and often times wondered if that’s why the banana clip was there, to help those remaining hairs hold on for dear life.

    Either way, I’m totally team scrunchie.

  13. Team Banana clip! Had to rack up that mullet perm sky high! NJ 1980 Mall hair representin’ !

  14. OK I guess I am totally a nerd because I still own scrunchies and I wear them when I get home from work – I have to have my hair out of my face so up on top of my head in a scrunchie it goes!
    Now back in the day, I rocked a banana clip – but looking back I realize I looked like a Gladiator head. How embarrassing. I guess it’s like with the jelly shoes and twist-a-beads, I thought I looked cool.

  15. Haha. I had to get a perm to get the banana clip to work. It was not a good look. More poodle. Less hot. Scrunchies were good too…I took what I could get, I was a poor kid!

  16. Loved banana clips but I had that straight smooth hair too, and I wasn’t allowed to get a perm, so once I managed to get the banana in, it stayed for about 0.003 seconds before sliding away. So I scrunchied.

    But honestly I was big on hats. I rocked a Blossom hat one year like mad. They even let me wear it during school because it was so much a part of me. I even wore it to bed. (Reference:

    Non hair related…gotta have these to go with the scrunchies and banana clips:

    And while you are at it:

  17. I never wore banana clips. I seemed to possess that super power where I could tell that would be a trend I would likely regret. That said, during my Madonna stage, I sported an enormous black bow that was on an super-huge barrette. I was fabulous. Great post as always. And a fun sighting!

  18. Oooh I was on both teams, in fact I was watching a very very old Law and Order over the weekend and Claire Kincaide had a scrunchie in her hair and I laughed out loud. A girl graduated from Law School and thought they were a “good idea”
    My hair is so short now that I cannot wear either, I have been known to rock a headband once in a while these days, but mostly I’m accessory free. This brought back some fun memories.

  19. Banana clips and scrunchies … I guess I’ve learned a thing or two, you know, being a guy and all…. So what’s next, ladies?

  20. i did both. I had super thick, long hair and when it was curly I totally rocked the banana clip. Now when I was in dance class I used a scrunchy. No clue why.

  21. Maybe this was a regional thing, but remember in about 1987 how there was this brief trend of using large clip barrettes (so to hold a low ponytail) that actually had a thick grosgrain ribbon glued on them? I even had one that was springy mesh, formed into a bow. This was the same time everyone was pinning fake crests on their Forenza shirts from The Limited and wearing low-slung belts and stirrup pants.

    • I hope you wore one of those leotard shirts with the stirrup pants. There was nothing quite like having to snap that sucker in after going to the bathroom.

  22. God, I haven’t thought about a banana clip in ages. Those are some horrifying memories! My hair is straight and thin, too, so the clip always eventually turned sideways and ended up looking like shit.

    My mom still uses scrunchies. It’s not uncommon for her to come and visit and-gasp!-forget to bring one so she’ll say, “do you have a scrunchie I can borrow?” I just have to laugh. Thankfully I haven’t owned one in forever. Plus my hair’s too short at this point even if I wanted to kick it old school 🙂

  23. —I don’t give a damn what the style is……..I LOVE banana Clips! I have one in my hair right now! For reals. Didn’t you get the memo? Their back in style, babe! I look Hot.
    Great Post. 🙂

  24. I had it all the day-glow earrings (so we really have not come that far, look at the girls in Jersey, I’m one of them, hybrid, but I don’t do day glow)

    I am a child of the 80’s, and thank you, now I can’t get that song out of my head by “Simple Minds”, I love 80’s night at the clubs, I graduated in 1992 but I miss those days SO much… and even got scent home from school for wearing a “grab a hiney” tee-shirt! Remember those?

  25. I tried the banana clip, I actually liked it, but the damn things kept breaking. I like the scrunchies. In fact, I turn socks that’s lost their mate into scrunchies … cheap and easy.

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