Also known as the ‘rattail,’ this little strip of hair at the nape of the neck became popular in the 80’s for anyone who wasn’t a conservative preppy. Surfers liked theirs dyed blonde, while the New Wavers—like ‘Johnny Slash’ from the 80’s TV show Square Pegs—dyed theirs neon colors, braiding them into one colorful tail. Still others simply grew an extra tail of hair onto the back of whatever style they had, from crew cuts to bushy skater hair.
The tail continued to grow and widen into a very long braid, as seen on the New Wave musical group Thompson Twins. Tails eventually lost their favor in the mainstream and were snipped off with the next trim, but some gothic and punk kids still embraced the braided rattail as a sign of anti-fashion rebellion.
Years later, the fad reappeared with arrival of ‘thread dreads,’ a series of colorful yarns wrapped tightly around a braid of hair at the back of the neck.