Why were Hillary Clinton's headbands controversial? Ex-first lady posts throwback pic wearing '90s hair accessory
Giving everyone a taste of her '90s hairstyle when she was heavily criticized for being the first politician to introduce hair accessories in their fashion statements, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posted a throwback picture of herself wearing a headband.
The former first lady seems to have gotten a little nostalgic about the era that was as she posted the old snap where she put up a determined face wearing her classic fringe hair at the time, which complimented her chunky silver neck-piece and matching earrings. Along with it, she wore a pink high-neck sweater, a blue blazer and a black headband. “Headband season. February 1992. #tbt (sic),” the former presidential candidate captioned the image.
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In the comments, people called her "iconic", "queen" and "classic", as they praised her for the role she played in American politics in the past. While her old hairstyle is a hit among fans now, it wasn't always the case.
There was a fixed style that every incoming first lady was expected to more or less adhere to at the time. And when she became the first lady in the 90s after her husband won the election, she was criticized by the media for not following tradition, which incidentally, did not involve headbands.
A 2015 article noted that Clinton herself was certainly aware of the gossip around her hair and even and wrote in her 2003 book ‘Living History‘ about struggling to adapt to her new style. “For most of my life, I had paid little attention to my clothes. I liked headbands. They were easy, and I couldn’t imagine that they suggested anything good, bad or indifferent about me to the American public."
"But during the  campaign, some of my friends began a mission to spruce up my appearance. They brought me racks of clothes to try on, and they told me the headband had to go. What they understood, and I didn’t, was that a First Lady’s appearance matters," Clinton admitted.
Nevertheless, even as late as 1997, Clinton turned a deaf ear to the suggestions as she was still sporting headbands. The particular hair accessory was all the craze throughout the 1990s — ranging from the plastic slip-ons with hair-grabbing teeth to thin stretchy bands and the thick padded ones. The last kind was heavily favored by Clinton.
In a 2001 speech to a class of graduating students at Yale University, Clinton said that her family and friends never impressed upon her the importance of image early in life. As a result, she had to self-teach herself the importance of public image.
“The most important thing I have to say to you today is that hair matters. Your hair will send significant messages to those around you. What hopes and dreams you have for the world, but more, what hopes and dreams you have for your hair,” said Clinton. “Pay attention to your hair, because everyone else will.”
People at the time mostly took an issue with the fact that Clinton's hair was ever-changing — something that left the media as well as the masses guessing as to what message she was trying to send with the way she wore her hair. Her hair ranged from long, short, blond, strawberry blond, teased, sleek, straight, curly, up, down and everything in between.
Salon owner Cristophe Schatteman, who styled both Hillary and former President Bill Clinton, says Hillary’s hair wasn’t actually trying to send a message. “She likes to have fun with her hair, and that’s just that,” he says.
Lauren A Rothman, a DC-based image consultant and author of 'Style Bible: What to Wear to Work', added that the morphing styles were “very on par for first lady and for being a woman exploring her style.” “The headband was really a hair accessory of the moment,” Rothman said. “It’s hard to fault someone for wearing something of the moment.”