You’re Such a Bow Head!

By Julie Anderson

80s hair bows (photo credit: Carole Julius)So, what was a bow head, exactly? In mid-eighties parlance, it meant a girl who wore a huge bow in her hair. Since hair was generally pretty big in the 1980s, no demure little hair clip would work; we needed hair accessories that would stand up to our perms and teasing. It was a preppy look in general, although there were edgier deployments of the hair bow. Bows in general were huge (literally AND figuratively) in the 80s; we loved them on our rear ends when we wore dresses, too, a.k.a. the “butt bow.”

I was into hair bows at the same time I liked Laura Ashley-esque dropwaist dresses and tailored, ruffled blouses. I had a navy blue one, a red one, and a white one, and felt like my hair wardrobe was complete. It was so easy to pull my hair back into a ponytail and slide a bow barrette onto it. Voila! Eighties girls also loved them on the tops of their heads (you know, behind The Bangs and in front of the Main Mane) or saucily placed to one side. Some bows were attached to thin headbands, too, which was a nice option.

The first bows I remember were stiff, tailored ones that resembled men’s bow ties. They looked crisp and freshly ironed. I loved the fact that the bows were often so wide that they could be seen on either side of your ponytail when you were looking straight at someone.

These sassy paint spatter-look hair bows have a great pop of neon color that screams EIGHTIES at the top of its voice. Awesome!

80s neon hair bows (photo credit: recycled stylez)
Photo Credit: recycled stylez

Here’s a black velvet and gold hair bow that would look lovely with your ruffled black and gold formal dress.

80s black and gold hair bow (photo credit: Crystal’s Closet)
Photo Credit: Crystal’s Closet

The next generation of bows was a floppy, chiffon type. These gave a softer, more touchable look, and were precursors to the scrunchies we loved in the early 90s.

This eye catching hair bow sparkles with silver dots. It begs for big ol’ silver hoops, don’t you think?

80s hair bow with silver polka dots and sparkles (photo credit: Vintage Doodads)
Photo Credit: Vintage Doodads

I love these animal print bows. The would look SO cute this fall and winter with your toasty black and brown sweaters:

80s animal print hair bows (photo credit: Vintageheartbreaker)
Photo Credit: Vintageheartbreaker

This turquoise and fuchsia set has added flair in the form of gold seashell embellishments:

80s turquoise and fuschia hair bows (photo credit: The Lovely Seamstress)
Photo Credit: The Lovely Seamstress

Like a bazillion trends of the eighties, big hair bows are totally back. Check out this article at for proof.

Author: Julie Anderson

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