Hindsight Fashion: Mall Bangs

20 Apr

Throughout the decades, teenagers have attempted to prove their coolness by wearing questionable accessories, hairstyles and items of clothing. Hindsight Fashion is a section about those trends that, in Hindsight, we probably wish we hadn’t worn.

This week’s Hindsight Fashion is: Mall Bangs.

Mall Bangs (voluminous, thick bangs requiring a great deal of hair spray) were a style that spanned from the 80’s to the 90’s and were most often styled in one of two ways: The first style (Gravity Defying, pictured above) involved the bangs being flipped upside down so that they sat standing above the head and fanned to the side. The second style, which was more subdued (Down and Round, pictured right), involved drying the bangs with a round brush to create volume so that the bangs would “pouf” out over the forehead. There was sometimes a combination model in which the bangs would be divided in half, the top half Gravity Defying and the bottom half Down and Round. This style was for the more technically savvy. Enabling one’s bangs to defy gravity required a great deal of hairspray, which often made the hair feel crispy and rough to the touch.

I think it’s safe to say that every woman alive during the 80’s and early 90’s sported some incarnation of Mall Bangs. For me, it was the Down and Round. As a child of the 80’s with a Mother who dug the Down and Round, I was automatically styled similarly, though mine were thicker and didn’t require hair spray. I also have it on good authority that a dear friend of mine used to have such enormous Mall Bangs that in her teenaged Driver’s License photo, her hair was so tall that it covered the “Pennsylvania” sign behind her (You know who you are!).

At some point in the mid to late 1990’s, hair styles began to move toward the more natural. Women grew out their bangs in droves and retired their hairspray. Although bangs have come back on trend again since, they have never reached the soaring heights they did during their Mall Bangs stint. And probably for good reason. Though there’s something very rock and roll about big hair, I think we can all agree that crispy hair is never sexy.

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