Burn your AirPods, sweetie! Wired headphones are officially back


They’re vintage!

If the global pandemiqué has taught us anything, it’s that trends of all kinds (Emily Mariko’s salmon, Cerave skincare, anything Doja Cat-related) are the frivolous fuel that keeps our little pea brains trucking along. 

In times of hardship, stress or sadness, we can take respite in trying feta pasta, mindlessly bleaching bits of our hair and dressing like ’00s popstars. Let me indulge that silly little brain of yours for a minute. Good news… the early 2000s renaissance is here to stay, girlies!

Discover more (very serious) trend analysis in our Life vertical.

We’ve endured the comeback of low-rise jeans, skinny eyebrows and Playboy merch – but it doesn’t end at our wardrobes. Didn’t you hear, hun? We’re also forgoing our iPhones for flip models, dusting off our little digital cameras and exclusively communicating via MSN messenger. Most importantly, we’re throwing out – burning, melting, shredding – our wireless headphones.


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According to Vogue, it was December 2019 when our French queen Bella Hadid nonchalantly started ‘bringing back the humble wired headphone’. Naturally, a slew of famous people followed suit – but not your regular famous people.

This trend was (and still is) reserved for those who seem to loathe fame, who accidentally stumbled into the spotlight but will always remain humble, effortlessly attractive and very cool at heart.  We’re talking the likes of Zoe Kravitz, Iris Law, Kristen Stewart, Margaret Qualley, Dakota Johnson and Jennifer Lawrence; those aptly dubbed by my new favourite Instagram account, the ‘wired it girls’.

But why do we j’adore these cute music cords? In the words of trend forecaster and content creator The Digi Fairy, “We love when celebrities act like humble peasants”. And it’s true! The mental image of Lily-Rose Depp fishing out a clump of tangled headphone cords from the bottom of her quaint tote bag just warms me. 

These are people who probably haven’t recently needed to ration granola, scab off an ex-boyfriend’s Stan subscription or ask their housemates to buy dishwashing detergent. AirPods are 10 times the price of Apple earphones and yet, thrifty hotties are choosing to save that $270 to give their dogs pedicures or whatever. They’re just like us! 

Stringy headphones also ensure that everyone around you knows you’re listening to music and it’s definitely a band you’ve never heard of. Reminiscent of 2014 Tumblr and the teenage mania surrounding Arctic Monkey’s AM album, wired headphones are more about the idea of listening to music than the actual experience.

Dated technology communicates to the world that you’re too busy listening to obscure postmodern rock to care about trends (oh, the irony). Like using a record player as decor or getting lyrics tattooed on your body, it’s a way to subtly communicate that you’d rather die than listen to top 40 hits. Ariana Grande who? 

Believe it or not, my opinion is not the only one that matters. For the sake of journalistic integrity, I reluctantly decided to (very briefly) look at both sides of the argument. In an effort to gather completely unbiased and comprehensive data, I asked a bunch of my personal Instagram followers to weigh in.


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The case for headphones with strings

Aside from the undeniable fact that the right over-the-ear wired pair can make you look exactly like a “cute German DJ”, as one of my friends said, the detached design of AirPods can prove a challenge for clumsy hotties. Multiple AirPod owners described accidentally losing, replacing or washing a singular pesky pod. 

“Dropping AirPods on the ground for some reason always triggers a deep rage inside me,” one of my messages read. “The way both individual headphones spill and scatter across the ground, usually at opposite ends of the room, is infuriating.” The embarrassment feels similar to that of running towards a tram and narrowly missing it, leaving you to huff and puff while the patrons take pity on you. 

I was also reminded that the AirPod predecessor is the “2000s finance guy in-ear Bluetooth headset”, which is absolutely not the aesthetic (even in an ironic Y2K way). Do wired headphones break more often? Yes, probably! But can you get wireless 2009 edition Skullcandy Tokidoki headphones? Didn’t think so.


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Why wireless?

I guess a lot of people exercise regularly, which is really good for them. That seemed to be the common argument for Bluetooth enthusiasts; those who frequently run and skip and leap around are often hindered by pesky cords. I get it, (I’ve done online pilates before) it’s significantly more difficult to work out when you’re attached to something. 

Also the better sound quality, ease of use and long product life are cool, if you’re into that. Me? I’ll be following in the footsteps of the ‘wired it girls’ and throwing my recent technology (including my AirPods, which I use all the time) in the incinerator. My MSN inbox is always open!

Find the best wired headphones to accessorise with here.

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