Ribbons were first used by both men and women to tie up hair. The hair tie first became popular in men’s fashion, particularly in Europe, around the end of the 18th century. The hairstyle was referred to as “queue”, which means tail in French. In the Middle Ages, the concept of a ponytail was popular in fashion through cauls and snoods (shown below). This trend later became prevalent in the 1970s.

Elastic was invented in 1820. It wasn’t until the 20th century when elastic was used for hair. Specifically in 1958, the Hooke Browne Company first patented the hair tie you see above. Next to take the hair scene, was the scrunchie, which  incorporates fabric of any color to hold hair up.

I enjoy the simplicity of the black hair tie for its modest aesthetic value when it is on my wrist, and its practical function for holding my hair back. Unlike the cauls and snoods, it is important for me to have all of my hair off my neck. I am a ballet dancer, and rely on hair ties all the time. Their longevity and low cost additionally explain why I have a plethora of them around my dorm.

Sources: https://www.leaf.tv/articles/the-history-of-hair-ties/