we tried this

Should We All Start Wearing Barrettes?

At New York Fashion Week. Photo: Donell Woodson/Getty Images

According to Kate Middleton, Nicole Kidman, and a slew of influencers at fashion week, hair accessories are back. Barrettes in 2019 are big, beautiful, and ready to be Instagrammed, whether we’re talking about the colorful, playful clips from Australian brand Valet Studio or the Blair Waldorf–esque bows from Jennifer Behr.

So we called in some barrettes to see how they would look on Cut staffers with different types of hair. Reaction in the office was mixed: Some people made a beeline for the most attention-grabbing accessories of the bunch, while others asked “Uh, can I pull this off?” See below for ways to wear the trend, but the overall verdict was clear: The bows are back in town.

Kathleen Hou, Beauty Director

Kathleen Hou.
Kathleen Hou.

I don’t think I’ve worn a clip in my hair since I was 6 — but I really liked how it looked on me. There are a few things that make this hairstyle look modern rather than infantile. First, the barrette is not plastic but metal, with clean, simple, Celine spring 2015 vibes. Secondly, twisting your hair back from your face is easy and very flattering — it really frames your features in a pretty way. It shows off the length and texture of your hair in a decorative way, unlike a boring office bun. I would do it again, but first, I need to find some clips that don’t tear out my hair (these definitely broke off a few strands).

Ella Ceron, Writer

Photo: Sarah Spellings
Photo: Sarah Spellings

My hair is slippery and almost comically straight; it only holds a curl because I have systematically asked my colorist to rough it up with bleach and glaze on a regular basis. So I’ve always eyed barrettes like a challenge: Sure, I’ll try it, but it’s going to slip out.

This Marc Jacobs barrette features a bobby-pin style clamp that actually — gasp — stayed in my hair. It felt a little heavy, and the crystal detailing felt like someone had broke a tiara up into pieces, Cady Heron–style, and stuck one of those shards onto my head. (This is, for me, both a positive and a negative.)

That said, at $95, I probably wouldn’t buy it myself — that’s just too much money to risk in case it does fall out. But that’s my own neurosis, and not this hair clip’s fault. You tried, little buddy. Maybe I’m just more of an earrings girl.

Erika Allen, Culture Editor

Sarah Spellings.
Sarah Spellings.

As far as barrettes go, I think giant ones are the only kind I can pull off. Last year I bought a few tiny, pretty barrettes that I saw a former colleague wearing, but every time I put them in my hair they looked ridiculous because A) they did not hold any hair in place and B) they got lost in my curls so it just looked like I had something shiny stuck in my hair. After that I bought bigger ones that are not as flashy as this and I wear them regularly to pull my hair back when it’s flat or frizzy or day-two-or-three-slept-on.

I really like these barrettes, though. They’re not as heavy as they look, they didn’t get lost in the texture of my hair at all, and I don’t think they look too childlike or precious, even though they are candy colored. I also think giant barrettes are a nice option for people who like accessories near their face, but don’t like to wear statement earrings.

Opheli Garcia-Lawler, Writer

Photo: Sarah Spellings

I really hope big barrettes make a huge and lasting comeback. Large hair accessories are perfect for someone like me, who is lazy but strives to be interesting-looking. A large barrette like this moon clip can make a daily uniform of jeans and a sweater seem much more put-together, or at the very least, more intentional. It can also trick people into thinking that my hair had been brushed or attended to recently, even when that’s not true at all.

Devon Sherer, Senior Snapchat Producer

Sarah Spellings.
Sarah Spellings.

I have a few barrettes from middle school that have somehow survived countless moving trips and are now settled at the bottom of whatever bin I put my miscellaneous accessories in. Trying this was a great way to see if I should finally Marie Kondo them or put them into my rotation. I chose a skinny velvet black bow with pearls. It was cute but still felt sophisticated, almost like an adult version of the ones I wore when I was young.

Personally, I think I can pull this off! It’s a nice look if I want to come off younger or pull my hair out of my face while still having the volume of it being down. I don’t know if I would wear it to work, but to the park or a party? Definitely.

Diana Tsui, Senior Fashion market Editor

Photo: Diane Tsui

My Instagram feed lately is filled with 20-somethings wearing hair accessories. Usually it’s one or two barrettes clipping a side part, but I’ve also seen ribbons and headbands. too. The effect is stylish — but seemed limited to the under-30 crowd. Then I went to lunch with Olivia Kim and saw that she had pearl Simone Rocha clips placed haphazardly on the back of her head. It was cool but still age-appropriate, and it made me reconsider the look.

When I tried these barrettes, wearing one or two on the side of my head didn’t quite work — it was too youthful and, combined with my love of avant garde Japanese clothing, came off twee. It highlighted my tired face and I swore it made my eye-bags more pronounced. But I took a note from Kim and placed two sleek clips deliberately askew on the back of my head. From the front it looked like I had brushed my hair backward, with loose tendrils framing my face, and from the back, it had a cool, haphazard effect. I’ll probably re-create this for a fancy event as a way to mix up my usual messy waves.

Sarah Spellings, Fashion Writer

Andrew Nguyen .
Andrew Nguyen .

I have a lot of fine, blonde hair. But it’s short. I loved the idea and look of a big barrette taking up a lot of real estate on a lob. I wore the Valet ones in true childlike style — one on either side of my head (at least that’s how I wore barrettes as a kid). With a denim jumpsuit it looked a bit too juvenile, but with a more sophisticated/classic turtleneck and jeans it looked perfect. I think I will invest in some Valet clips — honestly, I’d wear them all the time.

Devine Blacksher, Fashion Assistant

Sarah Spellings.
Sarah Spellings.

As someone who wears her hair curly the majority of the time, it’s nice to have hair accessories that are cute as well as strong enough to keep my curls pulled back. The two barrettes I styled together, which were from Marc Jacobs and Alexandre de Paris, definitely got the job done. The upside was that both pieces clipped into my hair easily and stayed in place the entire day. The downside was the price point. The Marc Jacobs cost $95 and the Alexandre de Paris was $36. I personally would not spend more than $30 on a hair accessory. But overall, I am definitely Team Barrette!

Shop the Story

Valet Lulu Set of Two Resin Hairclips
Crescent Moon Barrette
Jennifer Behr Perlita Velvet Bow Barrette
Saskia Diez Paillettes Silver-Plated Hair Slide
Alexandre de Paris Thin Hair Clip
Marc Jacobs Crystal Barrette

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Hey, Should We All Start Wearing Barrettes?