They say fashion can be painful. If that’s true, then we must have been the trendiest kids on the block back in the 80’s when slap bracelets (ouch!) were the most popular accessory of choice among youngsters. These colorful spring bands, made from flexible metal strips encased in a plastic or fabric sleeve, could be slapped around the wrist or straightened out.
The secret behind its massive success is unknown to this day, was it its simplicity, its colorful appearance or the fact that it could keep you from getting bored for hours upon hours, we might never know. But, what we do know is that we loved slap bracelets, therefore you can never go wrong with them. So, what are you waiting for? get yours NOW!
For those who weren’t around during the popularity of slap bracelets, here’s a quick description of the then-trendy accessory: imagine a wide band that isn’t exactly a bracelet, but more of a stick that can be transformed into a bracelet depending on how hard you slap it onto your wrist.
This wide stick in question is often covered in fabric or plastic – maybe it’s colored, maybe it’s tacky, maybe it miraculously matches your outfit, maybe it’s magic, maybe you’re born with it… or maybe it’s Maybelline? You won’t know until you know.
Kids nowadays might look at this weird plastic stick and think, ‘what am I supposed to do with it?’ but that’s all technology’s fault for taking the fun out of simple things in life – like slapping a bracelet on your wrist for amusement.
I remember these plastic bands being everywhere in high school and I may have even owned a few myself (guilty). There was something so satisfying, yet painful, about slapping a hard stick of metal on your wrist and watching it transform into a bracelet.
And boy, did it hurt to whack on the band around your wrist. I remember my wrist turning mildly crimson after the unpleasant experience, but despite the pain, I was ready to repeat the process again.
At the time, simple laws of physics felt like magic to us. Kids watched in awe as I would smugly straighten out the band into a stick and WHACK! Suddenly, it was a bracelet. The gasps and looks of shock mixed with horror from onlookers is what I lived for – and that was the true magic of slap bracelets.
These inexpensive bands were the emblem of childhood, and if you didn’t wear them, you were basically disrespecting the schoolyard fashion. The bracelets were a part of birthday loot bags kids would get along with other weird things from the 90’s like the milk bottle caps known as pogs (yes, we loved those too!).
Beauty is pain, and that’s exactly why slap bracelets were considered so cool back in the day. But it was a more realistic form of fashion where we would willingly inflict the pain upon ourselves and classmates for the sake of enjoyment. Whenever someone who see the colourful bracelet on your wrist, asking if they could see it, you’d have to respond, “ yes you can see it, but I’ll have to slap it onto your wrist first.”
Enough about the slap bracelets’ history, the real question at this point is whether they could make a comeback in our current tech-obsessed generation? I think they definitely could, but only among those who’re actually familiar with these accessories and have fond childhood memories attached to them. But the new kids will probably have a hard time bonding with their classmates over a good wrist-slapping session.
Unfortunately, like many other old schoolyard trends, slap bracelets were banned at the peak of their popularity simply because they were considered a dangerous trend for young students. Well, considering the dangerous age of technology we live in where violent video games are the preferred choice of entertainment among teenagers, slap bracelets were pretty timid – but who could have foreseen the future back then?