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Hillary Clinton's staff send her a message: Lose the scrunchie

For an exceptionally powerful woman in the public eye, Hillary Clinton has generally managed to avoid drawing attention to the minutiae of her appearance.

Except for her scrunchie habit, that is.

Scrunchies – in case you missed their ubiquity about two decades ago – are fabric-covered hair elastics that took on increasingly odious guises (beaded crochet, devore velvet, metallic satin) as the trend began its death rattle.

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But the U.S. Secretary of State remains a scrunchie stalwart.

The fashion misstep is downright embarrassing for her aides, according to an Elle magazine story. In a new profile of Ms. Clinton, an anonymous State Department official explained that the dated ponytail holders help Ms. Clinton keep her hair looking tidy as she exits an airplane. But, the source added, "some of us are looking to ban the scrunchies."

Those are strong words for a hair accessory. Nevertheless, the topic has lit up the Internet faster than a foreign-policy debate.

After noting that a colleague had recently pilloried Ms. Clinton for her "egregious scrunchie wearing," Hilary George-Parkin at Styleite defended the Secretary of State's right to look like a Midwestern mom.

"This woman is out there representing America and championing the rights of women and children around the world. If she wants to do so in a scrunchie from time to time? So be it."

Others described Ms. Clintons's scrunchies as a fashion trademark – and even a sign of stability in uncertain times.

Commenting at Styleite, fustylite said she would hate to see Ms. Clinton ditch the pant suits and scrunchies. "HC is an icon of mine, and I think her style just shows that she's too damn important and busy to be bothered with shallow bs like stylists and hair dressers! Go Hillary!"

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The sudden preoccupation over Ms. Clinton's hair proves the Democrats have finally wrestled attention away from the national obsession over Callista Gingrich's helmet head.

Moreover, Ms. Clinton's fondness for dated ponytail holders may, in the end, prove her to be a fashion visionary.

Eighties neon and jelly-bean-coloured jeans are all the rage, which means that nineties fashions – scrunchies included – may not be far behind.

What do you think of the proposed Hillary Clinton scrunchie ban?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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