The Side Braid
Witness the comeback of braids, which haven’t been this stylish since, well, fifth grade. What makes this updated version grown-up is its soft texture and relaxed style. “It’s chic yet beachy,” says Laurent Philippon, a hairstylist in New York City. Let pieces fall forward to add to the casual appeal.
(2) Finger-tousle hair for fullness.
(3) Gather strands under one ear, braid, and secure with an elastic.
The Triple Knots
This creation only appears elaborate; making the three small rosettes couldn’t be easier. It’s their position, nestled together along the nape of the neck, that gives the style an elegant vibe.
(2) One at a time, twist each ponytail length and wrap the hair around the base of the tail, creating small buns.
(3) Secure with bobby pins and set with hair spray, like L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray (Staring at $13 on Yahoo! Shopping).
The High Bun
Somewhere between laid-back and ladylike, this look works on long or short hairstyles and is ideal for tucking away unruly bangs. The knot’s location—at the crown of the head—draws attention to the eyes and the cheekbones, giving your face an instant lift.
(2) Gather hair into a high ponytail so it rests at the very top of your head. Secure with an elastic and use bobby pins to tack up shorter strands in back.
(3) Gently tousle the ends, randomly twisting them under and pinning them around the ponytail’s base. For longer lengths, create a loose bun and secure with pins.
Gathering hair into a low pony is simple, but you can make it look sophisticated and polished by creating a deep side part before securing your strands. “This feminizes and softens the look,” says Luigi Murenu, a hairstylist in New York City.
(2) Line up a comb with the arch of your eyebrow and make a part.
(3) Secure hair in an elastic at the nape of your neck.
A classic French twist looks just as appropriate with a sundress as it does with a formal gown. Plus, it’s deceptively simple—even with shorter lengths.
(2) Smooth hair over to one side and secure with several bobby pins down the back of the head (where the center of the twist will lie) in a vertical line.
(3) Flip hair to the other side so strands cover the line of pins. Roll and tuck the hair ends under, securing with larger U-shaped pins to hold everything in place.