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Thoughtless Acts: Bespoke Belt Loop

May 03 2017

Human-centered design requires us to observe human behavior with beginner's eyes, so that we can spot the innate ways people interact with the world around them. We call these intuitive and unconscious reactions thoughtless acts, and IDEO designers collect photos of them to inspire their work.


A few days ago, in the middle of an impromptu content brainstorm, I noticed that my colleague had her hair tie cleverly wrapped around her belt to keep the excess tail neatly in place.

Hair ties are something many of us wear on our wrists all the time. They’re inexpensive and, while essential for those of us with long hair, they're often under valued and under utilized. My colleague's back-up belt loop is by far the smartest and most delightful use of a hair tie I’ve ever seen.

I’m particularly inspired by this because I like to repurpose unloved objects in ways that exercise creativity and expand appreciation for junk. Recently, I took an old wine-stained summer dress and coiled it around my neck as a scarf. It now lives in the scarf section of my wardrobe.

Now, I'm thinking about ways I can repurpose all the brightly colored hair ties that I don’t like to wear against my black hair. Besides belt loop reinforcement, they might just be a new way to introduce a pop of color into an outfit.

Read more from our Thoughtless Acts series here.

  • Alana Murao

    IDEO Alum
    Passionate about the outdoors, ice hockey, and sustainable fashion, Alana is most at home somewhere between city and nature, finding balance and synergy between seemingly incompatible interests. As a true middle child, she loves being at the heart of a team and isn't phased by chaos or challenge.