By Brooke Foster
Name a female celebrity, and chances are there are red-carpet photos of her hair in a braid. Spotted recently: Miley Cyrus with a skinny side braid. Blake Lively with a messy French fishtail braid. Jessica Alba in a headband braid.
Once a symbol of the plain Jane – think Melissa Gilbert’s long pigtail braids on “Little House on the Prairie” – the braid has been elevated to high glam. Fashion designers like Charlotte Ronson sent models down the catwalk with inspired plaits during Fall 2011 New York Fashion Week. When Christina Aguilera wore three mismatched braids on a recent episode of “The Voice,” Twitter was abuzz with comments about the star’s hair.
Braids are even becoming the hairstyle of choice among trendy brides; Brides magazine recently named Nicole Kidman’s bohemian style braid a “wedding hairstyle of the week.”
And now a “braid bar” may be coming to a city near you. Last week the John Barrett salon at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan opened just that. For $45, anyone can make an appointment to sit in one of the salon’s fancy chairs and have their hair braided. “It’s a good way to bring in girls who maybe can't afford to come get their hair cut and colored, but they can still come get a really cool new thing," salon spokesman Jenna Goldate told the New York Daily News.
Red carpet trends aside, the braid is a perfect hairstyle for summer. Here’s a guide to some of our favorite braided hairstyles:
Milkmaid braid: Soft, feminine, and pretty, the milkmaid is a braid that goes around the crown of your head. It’s also been called a headband braid, since the hair is sometimes braided to look like just that. Refinery29 has a great tutorial to get the look.
French braid: A French braid is an intricate hairstyle that starts with three small sections of hair at the top of the head and weaves more hair in as you braid toward the nape of your neck. Here’s a helpful how to from Allure Magazine.
Fishtail braid: A loose braid that typically begins just below the ear and uses only two sections of hair for braiding (rather than the usual three). The end result is a braid that mimics the scales on a fishtail – only sexy. Cosmopolitan Magazine offers a step-by-step guide.
Side braid: You can do this one in about ten seconds. Pull your hair to one side and begin a standard braid below the ear. The looser and messier looking, the better. Voila! Perfect for pool or date night.
Pigtail braids:While you probably wouldn’t split your hair into two and braid both sides for a formal event, pigtail braids are the perfect weekender hairstyle. Try it with a flowy sundress for a boho-chic look.