Kitschy Cool: Barrettes are Back

Coco Chanel famously said to remove one accessory before leaving home in the morning, but, as her brand’s Fall 2019 show in Paris has confirmed, it shouldn’t be the barrette. Legendary fashion houses like Ganni, Shrimps, and Chanel all featured a range of designer hair clips in their 2019 collections, and thankfully, you don’t need Shrimps’ 100 dollar barrette (as much as you might lust over it) to create the same effect.

As someone who usually opts for more minimalistic looks, I initially struggled to make sense of my fascination with barrettes. I was first drawn in by the hair-wear of English it-girls Pandora Sykes and Alexa Chung (pictured below), and ultimately won-over by the reasonably-priced imitations to be found in Pixie Market, H&M, Zara, Claire’s, and your childhood wardrobe.

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The barrette is heavily practical. It keeps my overgrown fringe out of my eyes yet manages to look somewhat more intentional and put-together than a messy bun—how deceptive! Furthermore, the barrette is versatile. It can be worn to a whole range of effects: a well-placed hairclip can render your outfit festive and youthful if paired with a colourful sweater and skirt, it can strike a cool contrast with grungier wear like chunky black boots and leather jackets, it can dress down the excessively formal and dress up the excessively every-day. The barrette adds a sort of frivolity back into fashion, appealing to a childlike yet deeply human love of shiny and colourful things. I see no reason to deny ourselves such a simple pleasure.