Ruth Bader Ginsburg is known for her devotion to justice and scrunchies. “My best scrunchies come from Zurich,” she told The Wall Street Journal last March. “Next best, London, and third best, Rome.” For RBG, this once-ubiquitous ‘90s hair accessory never went out of style. And now the rest of us are catching up.
While there is no scientific evidence that RBG is responsible for scrunchies having a fashion moment, there is also no scientific evidence that she is not responsible. Vogue and Elle have both done breathless roundups of RBG’s all-time-best scrunchies. In Alma, former Kveller Editor-in-Chief Molly Tolsky (herself internet-famous for posing in a blue menorah-strewn Hanukkah dress from Target on JSwipe) spotlighted a plethora of chic RBG-inspired scrunchies, including a black one with lace trim that she notes, is reminiscent of RBG’s famous judicial collars.
We know that the fashion world has accepted RBG’s style ruling as law because W picked “the return of the scrunchie” as one of its biggest fashion trends of 2018 and designers are now churning out obscenely priced high-end versions. Comfort Objects–which resolutely refuses to use the word “scrunchie” and calls its product a “hair cloud”–is selling, um, “hair clouds” made of vintage silk Hermes scarves for $135-$166 each. Balenciaga’s “chouchou” (aka SCRUNCHIE) retails for $195 and is sold out everywhere.
But perhaps you would like to donate more money to tzedakah and less to Balenciaga? In this case, you might check out Midrash Manicures’ limited-edition RBG-fangirl Hanukkah scrunchie. Midrash Manicures’ creator, Rabbi Yael Buechler, wanted to pay tonsorial tribute. “She’s an amazing role model and a symbol of a lot of the things I’m passionate about, like gender equality and women’s rights,” Buechler told Tablet in an interview. “She has inspired so many people, and she’s made ‘90s fashion cool again. She made scrunchies cool before they were officially cool.”
Shortly before Sukkot, when Midrash Manicures’ first RBG-Hanukkah scrunchie was completed, Buechler sent one to the justice. “I wrote in the letter that she’s been an inspiration in her work for Tikkun Olam, and this was a token of my appreciation for her work in repairing the world,” Buechler said.
Ginsburg sent a thank-you note immediately. “It came the Tuesday after the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh,” Buechler said. “That Shabbat had been a hard time, and this felt like a symbolic little bit of hope.”
One can purchase the scrunchie (“a reminder that we have a responsibility to pursue tzedek—justice—and to bring light into the world, this Hanukkah and beyond!” the website notes) for $6.50 at Midrash Manicures. (Through today (Nov. 16) only, one can take $5 off an order of $30 or more with the code TZEDEK, should one be craving the high-performance leggings that match the scrunchie; we all know of RBG’s devotion to her workout routine.)
Buechler and the rest of us fervently wish RBG a refuah shleimah, and we hope she will fighting for righteousness and making us admire retro fashion trends for many years. May she live to be 120 and inspire us all to start wearing ‘80s lace gloves.
Marjorie Ingall is a former columnist for Tablet, the author of Mamaleh Knows Best, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review.