So there seems to be an Alice band revival (don’t shoot me, I am only the messenger).

Of course in some parts of the country, along with the eighties, they never actually died. But this feels different, a wider return, and determined to stay for good. A gradual mainstream revival, since The Duchess of Cambridge was spotted at a horse trial in 2016 wearing a practical tortoise-shell band to hold back her hair as she played with George.

The last time I wore an Alice band was in 1985. I found a photograph the other day. My hair style hasn’t changed much. I was 5.



I am wearing one today as I type, by French hair accessory brand Alexandre de Paris, called NAÏADE. I plan to wear this burgundy velvet band at a December christening. I wore this black pearl band last week, to an art talk about auctions at Annabel’s.



So it seems that for reasons I cannot explain, I have embraced the now widely available section of exciting new season Alice band options. It’s fun. Either very formal or weekend casual. And on a rainy office commute they do keep my fringe neatly out of the way. Perhaps one has to be in the mood, perhaps it’s simply about first overcoming a nostalgic mental hurdle - the first time (this century) that you put one on. Perhaps it’s the usual new season need for something different. Perhaps it’s the ever too dark winter wardrobe and needing some additional decoration. Whatever the reasons, I am finding it extremely easy to add new brands to my hair accessory shopping list, thanks to the abundance of retailers deciding to make them.

Lele Sadoughi, was appointed as the first ever jewellery Design Director of J Crew. Now, her own beautiful accessory brand is now 6 years old and stocked in over 75 retailers. Her studded headbands are on my immediate urgent list. The burgundy velvet. As are her tortoise acetate lily flower earrings. But that’s a story for another time.



Most of us (in hindsight) committed heinous fashion crimes in the 1980s. There were two tribes: women who wanted to be Madonna, with carefree crinkle hair and lace gloves. And those who modelled themselves on Lady Diana (often in an Alice band).



Velvet was a key material, and I wore a short green padded velvet zip bomber jacket, with a denim ra-ra skirt. But no other accessory or garment screamed ‘Sloane Ranger’ as loudly as the thick, black-velvet Alice band. It was pushed forward, creating a quiff. And it was mentioned by Jilly Cooper, notably in the 1985 masterpiece Riders.

There was a brief male Alice band revival on the football pitch in the 90s, the metrosexual David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, wearing the thin plastic or elastic variety.

The Duchess of Cambridge has been sporting the headband at formal events recently - a new favourite accessory of late, and no doubt assisting in the mass resurgence of the trend. Kate wore a black velvet headband by milliner Jane Taylor while attending a service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey, a woven cream headband also by Jane Taylor, at Prince Louis' christening back in July. And another headband by Juliette Botterill, when attending the wedding of friend in Norfolk.



Who knows if this is another passing short phase for the Alice band, or perhaps this is the forever return – now here to remain as a staple hair accessory. Only time will tell. In the meantime, men may at first look a little bemused, but I intend to work my way through as many winter velvet colours as possible. And come spring? Well let’s just embrace the moment, and our inner 5 year old, and see what happens.

November 2018