Feather Roach Clips

Feathered roach clipsBack in the early 80s, feathered roach clips were all the rage in my elementary school. They were coveted prizes at the county and state fairs. Between rides on the Himalayan and the Swinger, you and your girlfriends might have won them by, say, tossing a ping-pong ball into an aluminum milk jug or playing Whack-a-Mole. (Meanwhile, the dudes were angling for framed mirrors sporting images of a Trans Am or Def Leppard.) These feathered clips were colorful and fun and just a little bit wild.

I remember being grossed out by the name. Ew! ROACH clip?? Grody! Why do they CALL it that?? Little did nine-year-old me know that they weren’t referring to cockroaches; these were the kind of roaches that would cause your mom to REALLY have a cow if they showed up in the house.  But, feathered roach clips for your hair were entirely legal and wholesome and pretty, then AND now.  These feathered clips were a serious fashion trend circa 1982.  See how nicely the feather clip paired with the rainbow shirt in the picture below?  That’s how you rock the 5th grade.  Word.

The perfect 80s combo: the rainbow tee with the feather roach clip.  Hello, 1982, we miss you!

The perfect 80s combo: the rainbow tee with the feather roach clip. Hello, 1982, we miss you!


I’m delighted to see the feathers-in-hair hair trend coming back. Today, ladies have the option of having shampooable feathers tied in to their hair, a la hair extensions, or going old school with a removable roach (or “alligator”) clip, which might be a smarter option if you have, like, a day job that requires looking all professional.

Feathers in a woman’s hair always make me think of Stevie Nicks, the glamorous gypsy of Fleetwood Mac. She rocked the look in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and it’s only natural that it popped up all over the place after that. Who wouldn’t want to imitate her?

I first saw the modern feathered extensions on Bai Ling in an episode of Lost a few years ago. SOOOO cool and funky:

This lovely young lady is sporting the trendy look we’re seeing on girls and young-at-heart women right now. I love the way the mottled feathers blend with the tones in her hair. So pretty!

80s trend of feathers in your hair is making a comeback

Feeling crafty? Bocage gives a clear how-to for making your own gorgeous feathered hair accessory.  The mix of feathers, chains, and two-tone lacings provides a look that Stevie would have snapped right up:

Do-it-yourself feathered roach clips for the crafty individual (photo credit: Stephanie Bodine)
Photo credit: Stephanie Bodine

If you’re not up for getting plumage tied in to your hair at a salon and prefer to buy pre-made adornments, check out these fabulous options for feathering your tresses with embellished roach clips.

This peacock one (and I admit I’m partial to peacock feathers) is gorgeous. Blowdry your hair into wings, clip this baby in, add some big gold hoops, and go heavy on the violet eyeshadow:

Peacock feather roach clips (photo credit: featherboutiquestore)
Photo credit: featherboutiquestore

With another peacock interpretation, this clip also features some fluffily champagne ostrich feathers and pale gold blot feathers. I think it would both bring out blond highlights in lighter hair and pop nicely against dark hair:

Peacock feather hair clips (photo credit: erinschock)          Peacock feather hair clips (photo credit: erinschock)
Photo credit: erinschock

Fuschia, teal, and black are SO eighties-cool. Love this fresh little feather clip in those rockin’ colors – it would be the perfect topper for a black leather mini, low-slung studded belt, and cropped white tank top:

Feather roach clips in classic 80s colors ... hot pink, blue & black (photo credit: PheatherHead)
Photo credit: PheatherHead

Eyepopping, interchangeable, trendy, AND retro. What’s not to love about feathered roach clips in your hair? Awesome!

Author: Pia Sooney

Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks. When not making friendship pins or listening to Depeche Mode, she runs a web design business.

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