Retro hairstyles for the gym

Modern takes on sporty throwback looks

The '90s aesthetic is making a comeback in athleisure wardrobes, but hairstyles of the same decade are also reappearing. They’re showing up on the red carpet (see: Ariana Grande) and on runways (i.e. Alexander Wang).

But aside from style, there’s another advantage to these retro hairdos: They’re secure enough to pull off in the gym and chic enough to wear pre- and post-workout.

Furthermore tapped New York City-based hairstylist Amanda Holley to share some of her favorite sporty '90s-inspired looks. Here's how you can master them in three steps or less.

The Workout: Yoga or Barre

You may have worn butterfly clips as a kid, but they’re also the perfect way to secure shorter strands during low-impact workouts if pulling your hair back into a full pony isn’t possible.

How to do it:

1. Starting above your ear, grab ½-inch sections of hair and twist toward the crown of the head, then secure with a clip, repeating around your hairline until you reach the other ear.

2. If hair is long enough, pull into a low ponytail or spray with hairspray for extra hold.

The Workout: Pilates

Throw a cool-again claw clip into your gym bag. For the chicest version of the look, wear one in a metallic hue.

How to do it:

1. Create a low ponytail and secure with an elastic.

2. Twist pony, then fold up against the back of the head.

3. Secure with claw clip, leaving the ends out.

The Workout: Bootcamp

Whether you’re doing burpees or supersets, a high pony is a subtle way to rock a '90s-inspired look that lets you get down to business. Add a scrunchie or a knotted headband, then take it off to transition your look for work or a night out.

How to do it:

1. Tease hair (by backcombing with a boar bristle brush or comb) along the crown of the head.

2. Flip head over and gather hair high on the head, pulling the underside taut. Secure with elastic.

3. Grab a ¼-inch section of hair from the underside of the pony to wrap around the elastic, then secure with a bobby pin.

The Workout: Running

This topsy tail low pony takes a few seconds longer than the standard version, but it looks infinitely more elegant—and stays in place better.

How to do it:

1. Gather hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck and fasten with an elastic.

2. Divide the hair above the elastic with your fingers, then flip the ponytail up and through it.

3. Pull ponytail down to tighten.

The Workout: Boxing

You saw this hairstyle on Scary Spice and Gwen Stefani in the '90s, and now, space buns are back. If they’re sturdy enough to last for hours-long performances, you know they’ll make it through your most intense boxing session.

How to do it:

1. Make a center part, separating the hair into two equal sections. Pull each section high on the head, creating two pigtails.

2. Starting with one side, separate the pigtail in half and twist the two sections around each other. Hold at the end, then wrap the twisted pony around the base of the elastic (like you would a top knot) and secure with bobby pins. Repeat on the other side.

3. Gently pull apart each knot to add texture, and loosen hair around the face and ears.

Photography by Troy Covey. Hair by Clay Nielsen. Makeup by Mariko Arai. Model: Umida Mamazakirova.