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The new look for fashionable tresses is decorated -- with butterflies and bra straps, jeweled barrettes and tiny plastic clips.

Focus On Fashion

July 04, 1999|By JENNIFER SULLIVAN | JENNIFER SULLIVAN,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Barrettes, bobby pins and headbands no longer simply secure flyaway hair. They've become a fashion necessity. Just look at the fashion divas of Hollywood. Whether it's diamond clips securing Cameron Diaz's tresses at the Oscars or faux jewels floating through Lisa Kudrow's thick mane during an episode of "Friends," hair accessories are hot.

And they're everywhere -- from Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus to Target and Kmart.

"Hair accessories are the new costume jewelry," Women's Wear Daily recently announced on its cover. "With them, designers are bringing back the era of adornment by day."

A tiara certainly can turn a fashion peon into a princess, but these ornaments also are winning fans because they're inexpensive, versatile and just plain fun.

During a hot, humid summer, a few tiny clips in all the right places can prevent a bad hair day. A sateen bra-strap headband can tidy up beach-battered locks. And a rhinestone barrette can help make a daytime look glittery enough for night.

Alison Burckhardt, Nordstrom's East Coast regional merchandise manager, says hair jewelry became a huge trend last year, but got even bigger this spring when women began wearing several accessories at once.

The newest "are the round crystals or flowers on a snap," she says. "They look like they are literally floating on hair."

And the freshest styles include twisting chunks of hair into baby-sized "jaw" clips and mixing bra-strap headbands with bobby pins, she says.

As for design motifs, Allison Gaines, manager of Morgan Gerard Salon and Spa in Annapolis, says, "It started with the butterfly, ... and now we have flowers, frogs, sea horses and dragonflies."

Part of the appeal of these accessories is price. While it's possible to spend a fortune on them, there are plenty of chic options in the $10-or-less category.

But women are wise to keep their age in mind when making choices. Burckhardt says rhinestone bra-strap headbands and metal clips with chunks of glass work well on women in their 20s and 30s.

The preteen set favors plastic clips, smaller bobby pins and "anything in the shape of a butterfly," says Cynthia Sutton, director of marketing for Claire's Boutiques, a chain of accessory stores.

Butterfly tremblers -- barrettes with wings that "tremble" when you move -- are so popular they will continue to be featured in Claire's fall collection.

Top products

These products will help hair accessories do their thing:

* PHYTOLOGIE'S HARD. A hair spray that works well to tack up hair.

* BUMBLE & BUMBLE'S STYLING CREAM. Corbin, of Corbin Salon at the Colonnade, said this works well when hair is slick -- since it builds body and "provides a little roughness to hair."

* SEBASTIAN MOLDING MUD. Allison Gaines, manager of Morgan Gerard Salon and Spa in Annapolis, said this heavy hair gel is "great for short hair."

* TIGI ROOT BOOST AND REDKEN GUTS. They help give fine hair volume and the thickness needed to keep heavier barrettes and bobby pins in place.

Pub Date: 07/04/99

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