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Plaits are one trend that has successfully made the transition from playground to the catwalk. From the punky schoolgirl plaits styled by Giles at LFW, to intergalactic warrior-weaving at Mara Hoffman's NYFW show, top stylists have used the versatile plait to create some showstopping looks. Plaits have also become a red carpet staple for celebrities, and have weaved their way into wedding looks, and special occasion stylings. Whatever length or thickness, there is a perfect plait to suit your hair. So here are six simple styles to try at home: on trend solutions to tame your tresses.
1. Super cool cornrows
The cornrow craze is making a comeback. Taking inspiration from the likes of hair stylist Bianca Tuovi and Alexander McQueen's geometric cornrow skullcaps, this 90's trend is once again becoming a hair style staple. Section hair and weave from the scalp to create long braids. Add pomade to keep your plaits neat: super sharp sectioning is key. Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora's faux hawk--using the cornrow plait to create the illusion of the shorter sides-- showed how cornrows can transform your whole look. Combine with a smokey eye and gothic-grunge clothing to fully pull off this head turning trend.
2. Keep it short and sweet
Plaited styles are not just for longer haired ladies. Sienna Miller's double french plait on the Cannes red carpet looked stunning, combined with a dark berry lip and simple flick of eye liner. Using a small amount of product will help keep shorter hair under control and tame flyaways. Good quality hair balm is a wonder at controlling short hair, leaving it with the perfect amount of texture.
Take a section of hair at the front of the scalp, and split into three even sections. Cross the left strand over the centre section, followed by the right strand crossed over the left. Add to each section with each cross over, incorporating more hair as you work towards the back of the head. Avoid pulling the hair away from the head - keep it close so it follows the shape of your scalp. For a catwalk inspired finish, clip at the back with a bow, or tie with a ribbon. Finish with strong hair spray to keep in shape.
3. Boho bridal braids
The boho braid is a great look for brides: the perfect way to dress down a glamorous gown. Seemingly untouched plaits have been seen all over the fashion world, sported by Blake Lively, and being the centrepiece of Michael Kors' latest runway look.
This style is all about texture. Spritz hair with texturizing spray and roughly blowdry with your hands to provide the perfect base. Use a large barrel tong to add bulk, then work hair into a deep side parting. Loosely plait down the length of the hair, deliberately taking thicker sections and alternating with thinner pieces. Do not worry if some strands are missed -- it all adds to the rugged look. Finish with a clear elastic, to give the illusion of natural hold.
4. Milking the plaited look
Fringe or no fringe, the milkmaid plait is a simple but effective style. Florence Welch showed how plaits can work with bangs. Follow Florence's lead, and pair with bronze eyes and a nude lip. Wear with a 70's inspired wardrobe of velvet and faux fur to finish this style, which will look fantastic on redheads. This is an ideal way for those with long hair to put their hair up securely. Roughly part your hair from the top of the head down to your neck, and section off one part. Split the other into three, and plait to the ends, backcombing with a comb to hold. If you want to get a super sized plait, gently pull apart, and push up from the roots to add natural texture. Play around with placement, and pin when happy; looping from ear to ear. If you have very long hair, double back on the plaits and use extra grips. Finish with some romantic loose tendrils to frame the face, and spray hairspray.
5. Fishing for compliments
Transform the common fishtail plait into an on trend up-do like Amber Heard with just a few twists and pins. This intricate looking braid has been used by stylists as part of catwalk looks, but also by brides for a romantic style. The fishtail is all about texture, and you can try multiple small fishtails, or plaiting all of your hair into a chunkier braid. This style of plait looks great on coloured hair, particularly with highlights, as you can clearly see colour contrast. Balayaged hair also looks stunning in this style, really showcasing subtle fading towards the ends.
6. Head and shoulders above the rest
If you are growing out your fringe, plait it into a style that doubles as a headband. Ladies with curly hair, this is a great way to control those locks. Use a little shine enhancing serum to finish, to make a frizz-free band across the front of the head. If you have long hair, the easiest way to make a headband is to take a section of hair from behind each ear, and plait to the end. Then take each braid and pin behind the opposite ear. Add oomph to your plaits by spraying dry shampoo through the lengths-- it's great for adding grip.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to plaits. Mix different types to create unique styles : pin them up, pull them apart, and make them your own. Our fantastic stylists are more than happy to give advice on which plaited style will suit you, and how you can wow with your weaving skills--so don't hesitate to get in touch!