The Roach Clip

September 9th, 2015

The Roach Clip - Behind The Awkwardness

“I found this picture recently when I was cleaning out some old photo boxes. I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade, which would make it the early 1980s. My parents, obviously having no idea what roach clips were used for, not only let me buy it, but let me go to school with it pinned to my collar on picture day.”

(submitted by Rebecca)

26 Responses to “The Roach Clip”

  1. kimber says:

    They used to give these out for prizes at the fair. We would clip them on our rearview mirrors. One day the over zealous sheriff’s department questioned everyone in our school whose car had these which was everyone except for the ” preppies” I was driving my Dad’s truck that day so no roach clips, but it did have a couple of rifles and a bottle of liquor. They knew it was my Dads truck so they questioned me, but soon realized I had no idea what was in there. I didn’t know what roach clips were either before that day. I was a slow learner!!!!

  2. C says:

    I was child of the ’60’s and these were considered roach clips before that, ask anyone that worked at Radio Shack back then!!! One hung from the rearview mirror of my car …. and was used!!! The ’80’s was a very flamboyant time (think of shoulder pads and that hair!!!), with everyone trying to “outrageous” everyone else. But if you think feathered “accessories” weren’t around until the ’80’s, you need to go check out your parents photo albums.

  3. Randa says:

    We wore those in our hair, and didn’t think anything of it.

  4. Greg G. says:

    OMG! You win the Internet, apparently even before it was created.

  5. Mee says:

    My mom was given a box of clothes by a cousin in ’79. I found an interesting feathered hair clip in the box that I wore to school (6th grade) – clipped to one side of my head. Never knew what it was til several years later. No one said anything about it at school.

  6. Matt says:

    I’m not sure why all of you recreational drug experts are getting all smug. The point is that the majority of people that wore them as accessories didn’t smoke pot and didn’t know they were used for that.

    • not smug says:

      The point of….. the photo? You don’t have to be a recreational drug user to know what a roach clip is if you were alive in, say, 1970.

  7. Denise B says:

    During the 80’s we wore them all the time . I bought my own at stores on Cherokee st in Saint Louis . What started out as something to smoke weed with grew in to a fashion statement . I wish I still had some of mine . The ones sold for fashion to mainly clip in the hair were very beautiful

  8. Dummies says:

    All you jokers saying, “You must be too young to remember! We didn’t use them as roach clips back then.”

    Yes, we did, folks. SURPRISE! That’s totally the fashion trend you were following. And, here’s another shocker for ya, YOU were the one who was too young to get it. But yeah, it was a drug culture reference, I mean, duh… think about it. Lol.

  9. LadyB says:

    They were totally an 80’s fashion accessory – I had several that had feathers on them, and they were worn in your hair or clipped to the collar.

  10. furpurr says:

    For those who say “they were not ‘roach clips’ back then… Uh, YES. they were!
    I wore them in my hair, too, usually with colorful feathers attached to long suede strips…but I still knew what they were ‘actually’ intended for! I started wearing them in the very late 70s. Yes, they were used as ‘roach clips’ then, but I liked them in my very long hair!

  11. Gorey says:

    My best friend in 7th grade (1979) wore them clipped to a braided suede headband or the back of a cowboy hat in a sad attempt to impress the stoner guys in her neighborhood. Ugh.

    I remember a record store that sold those awful things in the late 70s, way in the back of the shop with the black light posters, pewter wizards and droopy candles.

  12. Michelle says:

    It’s only a roach clip because that’s what people came to use them for. It’s original intended purpose was not roach clip. In the 80s we wore them in our hair with feathers attached.

  13. april says:

    Had to chip in. My mom was in rehab in, oh I guess it was about 1985-86? We were going to visit her one day with the family, and there were a few nice wrapped gifts to bring. I wanted to bring something, but had no money. So I went through my dad’s vanity area in the bathroom, seeking something to contribute. I found what I considered to be a beautiful embellishment that would clip right on to one of the pretty presents (!)….which is how I successfully smuggled drug paraphernalia to an addict in rehab at the age of 8.

  14. Teresa says:

    Hahaa.. In 3rd grade we had to make a dodo bird out of paper machet. I used the feathers from one of my dad’s roach clips to make it more realistic! He was so mad!

  15. Martin says:

    You’re not the only one. I was in high school in the early to mid-1980’s and they were popular hair ornaments among a certain crowd. Some more worldly-wise kids knew they were also used as roach clips. I didn’t know this for years, and then one day I suddenly understood why those kids were poking fun at the sweet, naive girl (who was most definitely NOT part of that crowd) who showed up with one of these in her hair one day.

  16. SLA says:

    Seriously, I used to have a feathered roach clip for my cowboy hat. Back in the 80″s that was the thing where I lived. Not a big deal.

  17. Lara says:

    In the early ’80s when I was in elementary school, I had several roach clips and wore them in my fabulous feathered hair!

  18. Becca says:

    This actually isn’t all that unusual for the time period. In 1980 I was 8 years old, and in my school picture that year, I’m wearing one in my hair. I remember at least a half dozen other girls who did the same on a regular basis. I owned several of them in different colors. My mom would buy them for me when we went to the local swap meet. My parents were total squares who wouldn’t have had any idea what a ‘roach clip’ was, and obviously neither did I. I don’t recall anyone clipping one to their shirt though.

  19. BLear says:

    You must be to young to remember, but there was a time in the early 80s where we wore roach clips with feathers attached as hair clips and such. It really wasn’t ignorance on the part of your parents… you were in the height of fashion! Lol

  20. 80's child says:

    That’s because they weren’t roach clips back then. They were 80’s feather hair clips. Someone made them roach clips after the fact. You got these as prizes at carnivals.

  21. Tina Henderson says:

    We used to win roach clips at the carnival. I had no idea what they were until an older and wiser cousin from the city told me.

  22. Andrea says:

    I had a couple of these with the feathers on them as well. They attached to the back of my cowboy hats.

  23. Susan says:

    Back in the early 80s, that was one of the fads: wearing roach clips that had leather straps with feathers on them. We wore them in our hair, on our backpacks/purses, hanging off of our shirts/jeans. It was the “in” thing back then.

  24. Fia says:

    My parents knew perfectly well what those were for, but they let me wear my feathered ones to school for quite a while, because they knew *I* didn’t know what they were for.

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