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The Grown Up Guide To Hair Clips

And why they’re the new statement earrings

By Lucy Adams

I feel sorry for my daughter. I’m not one of those talented mums who can Dutch braid with one hand while driving the car with the other, let alone comprehend youtube-ing how to do a fishtail plait. She wears the same ponytail or pigtail, week in, week out.

And I’m pretty similar. I’m a wash-and-wear and pull-it-back type of gal – and until recently I was fine with that. It worked for me.

But pretty clips, bows and barrettes have begun appearing in my social media feed and in my daily life. They are everywhere. Pearl-studded slides on work colleagues. Padded headbands on the runway at Prada. Cute sparkly clips on Zoe Foster-Blake’s Instagram.



In the end, it was the bows at Chanel’s latest show that got me. Simple and striking, those black grosgrain ribbons convinced me that I, too, could be the kind of woman who wore a hair accessory without looking like a preschooler.

And so it began…


The Black Velvet Bow

If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it properly, so I asked stylist and owner of RAW Salon Anthony Nader for his tips. “If you don’t prep hair, your accessories will slip right out,” he warned, and suggested sea salt spray or medium hold foam for damp hair, and hairspray or volume powder on dry hair.

I went for the dry option, spritzing Playa Endless Summer Spray,  before scraping my hair into a half-up style. Inspired by Chanel, I opted for a chic, black velvet bow from Pixie’s Bows. The result? Minimum effort for maximum effect. People commented. I loved wearing it. Big tick from me.

The Pearl Slides

Next up was pearl slides. To allay my fears that they might look more granny   than glamorous, I turned to stylist Lill Jenner for advice. “Just like any accessory, you need to think about your look as a whole,” she said. “The idea is to complement or accent your outfit rather than scream ‘look at me’.”

We settled on some chic pearl slides from Reliquia,  which she suggested pairing with pretty florals or a sleek pared-back look. Before I put the slides in, I sprayed KMS Hair Play Playable Texture Spray and and added volume at the crown with Oribe Swept Up Volume Powder Spray. The effect was feminine but with a cool edge. Not a granny in sight.


The Bejewelled Clip 

I’m not usually one for glitz, but I loved the simple, sculptural feel of this barrette by Sydney brand Valet (the sister label to Reliquia).

For a night out, I swept my hair into a loose textured ponytail using KEVIN.MURPHY Powder Puff.

I did have to experiment with the placement a little; too close to the front and I looked a little bit too schoolgirl, and too far back seemed a bit nondescript. 

The Retro Clips

I wasn’t sure if I could pull off these Sportsgirl clips (which are only $14.95!) Not only did they look an awful lot like the hair clips in my daughter’s jewellery box (was I becoming that mum?) but most women seem to wear them on either side of a centre part. I love that look, but not on me. (Not with my oval face shape.) So, instead I scraped my hair into a messy bun and slid them in at the back. Instantly, I felt more grown up (phew!) and considered.


The Fairytale Clip 

Whimsical and romantic, these Mimco barrettes are the clips I would have loved as a six year old. But now?

Again, I experimented with a few options: styled out and to one side (too formal – I was only going for sushi with the girls). A sharp centre part and placed on each side (too ethereal). Inspired by hair at Balmain FW 2019, I settled on a dressing-up a ponytail. When I kissed my kids good night they told me it looked as though I was wearing a crown, and, in truth, I did feel a little princessy, and in a good way.

After a week of experimenting with hair accessories, I’ve discovered they work with a range of hair styles, budgets and ages. Will I wear clips again? Well let me leave you with this thought: I am wearing them right now.


BY Lucy Adams

Lucy is a beauty editor who lives in Sydney, and a new convert to hair accessories.

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