+ Hairstyles

Faux Pas: A Serious Workout is No Excuse

Walk into the average American workout room and you’re liable to see a myriad of bad hairdos and ugly hair accessories. At the turn of the century, the jaw clip surpassed the Scrunchie as the most popular hair accessory in America.  Now, as we fall face first into the second decade of the new millennium, it’s time to say au revoir to the spiny hair clip for good because we as a nation, can do better.

First off, the jaw clip updo looks painfully dated.  It’s like stepping back into an era when Jennifer Aniston was married and skinny jeans were still faux pas.  And just because you’re at the gym doesn’t mean you get a pass.

I certainly wouldn’t let you workout in a Hypercolor tee and legwarmers, so why should I make an exception for an equally dated hair accessory?

Secondly, sporting a jaw clip hairdo is like wearing a sign that says “Don’t judge me, I’m WAY too busy to care about the way my hair looks.”  The thing is, I am judging you.  I’m thinking, “Gosh, she’s pretty, but that hair is just sad.”

Just because you’re rushing to a committee hearing or trying to squeeze in a lunchtime workout doesn’t mean you get a pass.  Haste makes waste, ladies.

Lastly, it takes minimal effort to create a cute ponytail, a simple ballerina bun or a modern side braid.  These hairdos will keep your locks out of your face, without making you look like a Midwestern Soccer Mom.

Ladies, the more distance we put between us and the Clinton Presidency, the closer the jaw clip gets to Scrunchie-level faux pas.  It’s time that we all moved on to something more modern.  And if that doesn’t motivate you, then perhaps the knowledge that it’s Sarah Palin’s favorite hair accessory will bring you back into the fold.

Just remember, a serious workout is no excuse…

If you want something that will hold your hair in place and doesn’t require 50 bobby pins, try the spiral styler from Goody.  I bought one this weekend, and it actually works even when running.


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  1. N says:

    I get that snark is your thing, but the best you can come up with is don’t wear jaw clips to the gym? The gym is the one place that isn’t a fashion show, so as long as you aren’t wearing paint splattered sweats, people shouldn’t feel pressured to show up in coordinated workout apparel. Frankly, I think women who treat the gym as a fashion show – makeup, perfect hair, aforementioned coordinating outfit – are ridiculous are also likely the women who yammer on the phone while doing cardio (if you can talk comfortably, you aren’t working hard enough). I go to the gym to sweat and it’s the one place I can throw my hair in a ponytail and not be judged for it.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  2. L A Cochran says:

    I’m all for finding workout wear that’s attractive because the better I think I look, the more time I’m likely to spend in those togs/the more working out I’ll do. That said, function trumps style for workouts. If I’ve got to put 20 hairpins in a bun just to keep my hair out of my face, it ain’t happening. You wouldn’t be happy with me anyway. On “serious” workouts, I use those even more dated plastic accordion headbands. Mock away.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    “it’s the one place I can throw my hair in a ponytail and not be judged for it.”

    I’m not judging ponytails, I’m judging jaw clips. And the gym is just the place that I see them most frequently, they’re bad no matter where you wear them.

    As for the other, there’s no reason that you can’t pick an outfit that has some style, is inexpensive and utilitarian for your purpose. You choose a cute swimsuit right? So why not choose cute workout clothes?

    No the gym is not a fashion show, but neither is your work place. And I don’t hear any complaints about encouraging women to make more of an effort with their professional attire.

    And while you might not approve of my snark, your generalization about women who might like to look nice while working out is equally if not more snarky. If I worked my ass off to get a cute body, why shouldn’t I wear something to show it off, I earned it.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  4. AMC says:

    Gotta agree with N here. A side bun updo or a messy braid just aren’t going to cut it for those of us who actually work out at the gym. If you’re reading a magazine while pretending to break a sweat on the elliptical for two hours, maybe, but there’s no way any of those linked hairdos can stand up to a real workout

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  5. Belle says:


    Maybe Fitness week wasn’t the best place for this post, I just hate jaw clips and see them a lot at the gym. And if you don’t like bobby pins, you can try lots of other hair styles (braids, ponytails) I prefer elastic headbands, but I guess the accordion thing will work too.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  6. Jessica says:

    I’m just sad because not only did I wear one to the gym last night, but I chose to wear one to work this morning because I was running late. 🙁 I do buns too for a nice updo, but my hair is so thin and I highlight it every 5-8 weeks that putting it in any type of elastic band damages it and the clip was the perfect alternative for days I don’t have time to do a blow-out. Do you have any suggestions of something that will look cute AND not damage my already damaged hair?

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  7. Belle says:


    A regular ponytail is no good for a workout? A jaw clip is your only option? I don’t think so. If a braid or a bun isn’t your thing fine, but most women are rocking a ponytail. I’m just trying to stop the outliers who are still sporting the jaded jaw clip.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  8. Belle says:

    that should be dated not jaded.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  9. AMC says:

    For those of us with long hair, no, a ponytail is not going to cut it for a workout. That is, unless you LIKE having your hair sticking all over your sweaty face and neck, in which case why put it up at all? I’m not saying a jaw clip is your only option but if it’s between one of those (basically, a ponytail jaw clipped to secure it up) versus your suggestions of a “simple ballerina bun or a modern side braid” I’d rather take the practical jaw clip.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  10. Belle says:


    I read an article in Lucky Mag that elastic ties like these ones from Bop Bijoux don’t damage hair.


    They’re a bit pricey, but you can find similar versions on etsy.


    July 20, 2010/Reply
  11. Stephanie says:

    Okay, you can judge the girls who wear things that are functional while they work out, and I will continue to judge the girls who look like they went to the gym to flirt with boys.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  12. Belle says:


    I have fairly long hair myself, and I prefer to run rather than elliptical. So I usually ponytail and ballerina bun using this little device from Goody. It means I don’t have to use 50 pins and it keeps things really secure.


    July 20, 2010/Reply
  13. Jessica says:

    Thank you! The Etsy ones look like a nice, cheaper alternative. 🙂

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  14. Belle says:


    Who says you can’t do both?

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  15. Belle says:

    Said the girl who hasn’t been on a date in three years 😉

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  16. Stephanie says:

    Well, I’m already married–and when I met my husband, I was playing football with friends. I was dressed to play football (headband + ponytail combo, t-shirt over a long-sleeved shirt, sports bra, shorts, ankle brace, cleats). I work out hard and I play hard, and dress accordingly. I’ve never taken a girl in matchy-match workout gear seriously, because I’ve never seen a girl dressed like that do a serious workout. I’ll be sure to let you know if I ever do!

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  17. AMC says:


    You are great at deflecting criticism and not getting riled up. Here I was, ready to be angry because I wore a jaw clip to work out, but now you’ve got me taking your f’ing fashion advice.

    I’ll try that spin pin. It actually looks awesome. Damn you for derailing my frustration.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  18. Belle says:

    I’m sure there are girls who dress up to have social time at the gym. I’m just saying that you can do both. And I think more women should do both.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  19. Elle says:

    I don’t think these clips look attractive. Plain and simple. Working out to me requires a lot of motivation and it helps if when I look in the mirror, I feel smoking hot. A simple ponytail with a headband makes me feel like I’m one of the members of the US Women’s Soccer team and could tear off my shirt revealing my imaginary six pack at any time. The clip makes me feel like a grandma. Nice post Belle.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  20. Katherine says:

    When I saw this article subject, I was about to get all bent out of shape about the gym judgey-ness, but I found the arguments more persuasive that I’d expected. 🙂 Nice job, Belle. I also put myself in check when I remembered that I got all judgey this morning when I saw a woman with a truly horrible haircut.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  21. Kate says:

    Thank you Belle! While I am skeptical of the shoes you posted earlier for a work out (the rest was super cute), I am right there with you about the banana clip. I hate those things. I will stick to my ponytail for my runs.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  22. Belle says:

    I’m all about finding more stylish products that are also utilitarian. I try not to tell people that one thing looks bad without giving them an alternative. I like the Spin Pin. But I have no problem with a good old ponytail and a headband.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  23. Belle says:


    I chose those shoes for yoga, because you should do yoga barefoot. Those are just to and fro shoes. They wouldn’t be very good for an actual workout.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  24. Kate says:

    Ah, see now that makes much more sense.

    Also, love the workout theme.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  25. M says:

    You know what – these workout attire posts are just silly. Anyone who drags their butt out to the gym or to a trail or wherever else they do their workout should feel good about that, no matter what they are wearing or how their hair is styled.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  26. O says:

    I agree M! Working out is the only time I get to wear all my favorite t-shirts from college. Those shirts make me smile, and tight tanks tops make me anxious. I’ll go with the t-shirt every time! Not saying everyone should, but it’s about what makes you happy when you work out.

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  27. LT says:

    Wow. I feel like this post is directed at me. DIdn’t realize this was even a ‘dated’ thing. I love my clip, though I never wear it for the gym, usually to work or around town when I don’t feel like doing something to my hair (which, I suppose, is the message i’m sending by wearing it). JCrew still sells these in the store — it can’t be that fashinably incorrect, can it?

    July 20, 2010/Reply
  28. Belle says:

    Actually it was directed toward the repeat offender on my floor in the HOB who wears one every day. Sometimes with wet hair, sometimes with dry, sometimes in a bun, sometimes a twists, sometime a half-up/half-down. In two years, I have never seen her hair without one.

    And on the topic of J.Crew, they also sell Critter Pants.

    July 21, 2010/Reply
  29. Christina says:

    Am I the only one who would fear injury with one of those clips at the gym? I just have these visions of falling down and ending up with a claw-shaped piece of plastic in the base of my skull. Elastic seems so much safer. But maybe this just says something about how (in)frequently I go to the gym…

    July 21, 2010/Reply
  30. lorrwill says:

    The Caribou Barbie swipe cinched it for me.

    But, yeah, I hear ya. Hair clips scream Soccer Mom, I Don’t Care, and a host of other negative messages about being out of touch.

    And the most important reason would be if you do ANY floor work, that sucker is going to hurt digging into your head.

    July 21, 2010/Reply
  31. gersemalina says:

    This post cracked me UP! I am that person with the jawclip, and I always thought that the fact that I had squeezed in a workout over lunch and/or in-between meetings DID give me a pass. I do see your point, though, and I’ll work on it. I promise :)!

    July 24, 2010/Reply