Bad Decision Tuesday: Superfluous Hairclip Edition

Hey, you know what we haven't done for a really long time? Laughed at terribly unflattering pictures of me for sport! I know it's not Tuesday—although, honestly, when was the last time I actually posted a Bad Decision Tuesday on a Tuesday?—but what do you say we take a little trip down memory lane anyway? Come with me, if you will, to a time when boys were boys and girls were people who wore twee little barrettes on one side of their head for no reason, except perhaps that they thought they were Winona Ryder. I call this time.....the nineties. 

First, let's start with a rather timely photograph, taken on Easter Sunday in 1998. Aside from the fact that I look absolutely mortified to be having my picture taken—the horror!—with my nine-year-old sister, her ten-year-old friend, and our adolescent neighbor who sure is enjoying the heck out of that apple, this is not the most attractive picture of me by any stretch.

And yet! Mere moments before this photograph was taken, Sean and I had just agreed—by telephone, naturally, since long swathes of our courtship took place long-distance—to officially become boyfriend and girlfriend. Boy, did he win the lottery or what? Now that I think about it, perhaps the phrase by telephone is the key here; surely if he'd seen that silly little hairclip above my right ear—or, indeed, my hair in general that day—I might not be sitting here fourteen years later married to him. Thank goodness Skype was still about as tangible as flying cars! 

Also, brief aside, but fourteen years? FOURTEEN? Where does the time go? Well, wherever it went, I hope it took those stupid barrettes with it. 

Whoops, nope. No such luck. Here's another one, stuck infectually onto the side of my head in the summer of 1998, as I sip wine in my Grown Up Beige Suit of Grown Upness at a school event called Speech Day.

I'd taken my A-levels a few weeks earlier, which may account for the debilitating ennui in my eyes—and also the heavy bags beneath them—but I'm afraid I have no excuse for the little star-shaped clip which is holding, rather ineffectually, a lock of my streaky Sun In-ed hair. Cheers, 1998 Holly! Don't worry, we'll get that forehad acne taken care of soon enough. You just go listen to some Gwen Stefani and count your bottles of body glitter. 

Hey, you know what goes well with baggy skater jeans, your brother's hoodie, and a hand-painted mug of tea? 

Two jauntily attired grandmothers? Well, yes, but that's not what I was going to say, although I do adore this picture for the way they're flanking me on that sofa, loving me anyway despite the fact that I'm dressed like a 13-year-old boy who just robbed a Pacific Sunwear. No, I was going to say a hairclip goes well with all of that, particularly when it seems to be serving absolutely no purpose at all. Actually, that's not true; it probably made both my grandmas laugh when I left the room.

Whatever, though. They hadn't even seen my chopsticks phase yet. 


I still have four of my hair-related chopsticks. I keep them as a reminder of how far we've come.

Apr 09, 2012

I believe I owned the exact same star shaped clip in 1998. Pink, slightly glittery, came free with Bliss or Sugar magazine?

Apr 09, 2012

PS And my superfluous hair clip idol was Chloe in Home and Away. Perfect bob hairstyle and a whole wardrobe of clips. I was very envious.


Ah, the 90s. Good times.

Angie Orth
Apr 09, 2012

I thought I was the only one who looked like I robbed Pacific Sunwear! Baggy jeans and hoodies - those were the days. I want to know how come I didn't have a single friend or relative who didn't explain to me that I looked homeless...

Apr 09, 2012

I've recently been traumatized by the fact that the 90's was so long ago. Weren't we all just wearing flannel and ineffective hair clips last week?

Apr 09, 2012

the super baggy clothes are what i don't understand. i spent years wearing clothes that covered any hint of shape and i was the thinnest stage of my life! terrible.
everything comes back into college aged sister is in the throws of the 80's right now. does this mean the 90's are next? perhaps hang on to those ineffectual hair clips. you might be wearing them again in a few years.

Apr 09, 2012

I just kept trying to rock the useless twee barrette in my man-eating curly hair until the day I discovered the magic of butterfly hair clips. And bought them in every color, just so I could look like a herd (flock? flap?) of had landed my hair and were probably pooping all over my curls. Dark days indeed.

Apr 09, 2012

I too enthusiastically embraced the chopsticks look. Unfortunately my hair was too fine to be held up by them alone, so I'd create a bun with rubber bands and bobby pins and then add the chopsticks afterward, like some kind of chopstick poseur. The 90's were a dark time for hair fashion.

Anna Louisa
Apr 09, 2012

Ha! This was all fantastic (giving me flashbacks of myself in the 90s), but the chopstick finale was particularly wonderful :)

Apr 09, 2012

I once used real chopsticks as hair clips. I was attending a conference in Singapore and for some reason, there was a fancy dress night where my colleague and I decided to dress as geisha girls. NO, not that kind of conference.

Apr 09, 2012

There's a picture of me from the day of the Homecoming dance, I think my senior year (so 1997/98) and I'm wearing a long, shapeless, satin eggplant dress with large, VERY '90s-esque flowers all over it, clunky black shoes (of course), and -- you guessed it -- two very special barrettes on the side of my nearly-center parted hair. Oh, '90s. What were you on?

Alison Presley
Apr 09, 2012


1) I went through the big pants phase too. It is most painful to look back at the pictures.

2) Your grandmas are adorable.

Apr 09, 2012

I was laughing merrily at all the little barrettes, until I got to the part about the chopsticks. OH GOD I FORGOT ABOUT THE CHOPSTICKS. And like Abby, I still have them. (Also the little barrettes. WHAT. What if I get a haircut that's PERFECT for them?)

Carrie (in MN)
Apr 09, 2012

The chopsticks are what made me laugh - I was so jealous, with my heavy, thick curly hair - of girls who could rock the chopsticks. What about enormous banana clips - do we have any Holly pictures featuring those?

Of course, I'm so old that by 1998 I was making my dubious hair style choices while accompanied by my three year old son.

Apr 09, 2012

haha, absolutely great post! nothing is more sexy than some old fashioned self-mockery!


At least you wore hair clips! I couldn't even manage those successfully. Big baggy pants? Definitely! But here's the thing, fourteen years later - you look better! So there IS a positive side to getting older. Or is that more mature? Whatever! You look marvelous!

Apr 09, 2012

Yup. Chopsticks-check. Teeny little hair clip-check. Oversized pants teeny shirt and flannel over shirt - check. Also knee socks and baby backpack- check. Apparently I could not decide between Gwen steffani or Cher from clueless. :(

Apr 09, 2012

Chopsticks! I had blocked them out, but ah, the memories. But I have to say, I much prefer the chopsticks to the banana clips I wore in my spiral permed teased bangs hair a few years before that.

Apr 09, 2012

Laughing at the baggy pants and stolen hoodie! What were those brand of skater pants that were super rectangular? Like, if you laid them out on the bed, each pant leg would be a perfect, super-wide rectangle? Those. I had several pairs, probably bought from the boys section at urban outfitters or something. And always an extra-large hoodie, to hide my skinny teenager body. Why, oh why, 1990's, did you insist on such non-flattering clothing?!
My hairclip had a daisy on it. And a few years later, maybe 2000? I got a whole collections of glittery plastic hair clips in pink, yellow, green, and blue. Totally hot.

Apr 09, 2012

Oh, man. Bad news for me--when I've got Serious Work That Needs Doing, I still twist all my hair up into a stick on my head. Damn.

Apr 09, 2012

"who sure is enjoying the heck out of that apple" bahaha!

Camels & Chocolate
Apr 09, 2012

BEST EVER. I love 1998 Holly. Current You isn't so bad either ;-)

Apr 09, 2012

I'm loving these comments. I guess I am an old lady here-- did the 80s thing the first time. I spent the late 90s pregnant and sporting a Lucy Lawless "Xena" hairdo -- grossly incompatible looks, in case anyone was wondering...

It's taking restraint on my part, listening to my daughter *encourage* her prom date to totally go for the mauve tux with the ruffles.

Really, it's my mother's and grandmothers' restraint (which Holly alluded to) that astounds me. What made me think that Madonna was the perfect model for my senior prom look? Yet, my mother still plunked down the money for the dress.

Mama Bub
Apr 09, 2012

Are you telling me I have to stop rocking the bun stabbed by chopsticks look?

Apr 09, 2012

Chopsticks! hahahahaah.

I was always in a perpetual state of cutting and then growing out my bangs, so I at least USED the clips for their intended purpose, but a lot of times I'd have one on either side of my head. Oooh, and remember butterfly clips?

When you would fake corn-row your hair and use butterfly clips? I loved that look for some ridiculous reason. I'm very thankful my mother isn't a photographer.

Claire Bidwell Smith
Apr 09, 2012

These are AMAZING, Holly! I might have to post some of my own soon.

Apr 09, 2012

hair chopsticks! i think id officially blocked how many i had of those from my memory until now. man, the 90s were a stylish time... ;)

Apr 09, 2012

So, your blog often makes me laugh. But today you have outdone yourself. Ennui? Jauntily dressed grandmothers? I. Am. Crying. In a coffee shop, no less. And I wouldn't change it even if I could.

Apr 10, 2012

I'm kind of grateful for my thick, unruly hair. I desperately tried to the little clip thing, and the fake-cornrows-with-butterfly-clips, and the chopsticks thing. None of them worked, and I was very sad about it at the time. Now, not so much! Definitely makes for less embarrassing photos.

Clothes, though? Oh dear god. There is a photo of me leaning jauntily on a tree in an outfit I was soooo proud of, mid to late nineties. I was wearing black tights with Dr Martens (laced with ribbons and beads - I adored them) with cut-off jean shorts (tight to the knee, frayed) with a black bodysuit underneath and an open checked shirt over the top. Oh, and a boob length black thong necklace with silver dangly thingummies on it.

jive turkey
Apr 10, 2012

This post was amazing, in that it made me feel nostalgic, old, depressed, and giddy all at once. I LOVED those twee little clips, and I used to wear two, side-by-side(!!). My favorite ones were little pewter-looking metal ones with tiny flowers on the side. Oh, man.

Oh! Elizabeth: I TOTALLY remember the butterfly clip cornrow thing. How very unfortunate that was for all of us.

Apr 12, 2012

I read this post earlier but had to comment when today I looked at my coworker and asked her if that was indeed a purple paper clip holding her bangs out of her face!

Apr 21, 2012

Thanks for sharing these stories with us.
I was distracted from the actual subject in picture no. 1 by the apparent lack of your eyebrows. I thought the overplucking came at a later stage?

Also, I remember the baggy pants phase. It was bad. I actually took it so far that I carried my wallet in one of my back pockets. It was a wallet with a chain.
I don't know what I was thinking.

May 01, 2012

Yay! So glad this feature is back - even if it is a bit tortuous. I just found a whole stash of my old fancy hair pins in my mom's bathroom. It seems she "saved" them from being donated to, "you know, hold my hair back while I'm working around the house..." I shudder.

Jan 24, 2013

hahaha this is amazing. I can absolutely relate.

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