Jessie Irvine playing pickleball and wearing her space buns
Jessie Irvine at the 2023 Arizona Grand Slam. PPA Tour

The evolution of Jessie Irvine’s space buns

DALLAS, TX – There are some iconic and memorable hairstyles in professional pickleball, and one of the most recognizable looks belongs to Jessie Irvine... and her space buns.

The buns have become a staple for Irvine, so I had to get the inside scoop on the story behind them and why she made the switch from just sporting a classic ponytail.

“I started wearing my hair in space buns about two years ago,” explained Irvine. “I came back home for Christmas and I liked the way my sister’s hair looked, so I went to her hairstylist and asked her to cut mine like my hers. My curls are tighter than my sister’s, though, so the few inches cut off ended up being double that.”

Jessie Irvine playing pickleball
Jessie Irvine at the Tournament of Champions. PPA Tour

Despite the major haircut, Irvine really liked the way everything turned out.

The bob looked good on her. 

“The problem was when it came to playing pickleball, I couldn’t get my hair back into the original ponytail because it was too short,” said Irvine. “I had to figure something out.”

She had two options with her shot hair - the space buns or something a bit more dramatic.

“I was thinking of doing a tiny mohawk for tournaments because my hair was too short to do anything else. I thought it’d be kinda funny, but my sister helped me decide and we went for the space buns,” said Irvine.

Jessie Irvine hugging Anna Bright
Jessie Irvine at the Baird Weath Management Texas Open. PPA Tour

Irvine didn’t anticipate the impact of her hair.

Like Callie Smith’s braid, the look became an integral part of her brand.

“I didn’t think it was going to be such a big thing among fans, and it’s so cool going to tournaments and seeing people wearing space buns,” shared Irvine. “It’s been great because it’s recognizable, and when you see fans also doing it, you know you’re doing something right.”

Nevertheless, Irvine admitted attempting to change the hairstyle and try something else now that her hair has grown back long enough to sport the traditional ponytail.

Jessie Irvine in a ponytail
Jessie Irvine Instagram

“I’ve tried going back to the ponytail, but everybody is like - ‘No, you have to keep the space buns. They’re part of the brand,’” mentioned Irvine. “I don’t know how long they’re here to stay, but right now, I’m enjoying it. I'm perfectionist, so when they’re not evenly matched, then I’ll take longer to fix my hair.” 

Then, Irvine walked through the hairstyle sequence. 

“I do two side ponytails. Then I’ll spin the hair around and clip it in and tie it up with a hair tie. I also use bobby pins, but those are for my baby hair,” shared Irvine. “I used to make them bigger, and I would take the hair and flip it over and tie them instead of spinning it. But, now they’re smaller and much easier to maintain and easier to put up.”

Jessie Irvine's puffier hair
Jessie Irvine Instagram

“I love this style because it’s minimalist. It keeps everything secure,” added Irvine. “And it’s cute, easy, and a statement.”

Who’s got your favorite hair on the pro pickleball tour? Leave us a comment on  Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).