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Ponytail 101

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Summer's sewn up with these simple grab-and-go styles, as the never-ending ponytail trend maintains momentum out on the street and evolves on the catwalk.

Once upon a time the ponytail was the preserve of perspiring gym bunnies, precocious schoolgirls and stern-looking bluestocking secretaries - a practical, no-frills, no nonsense method of keeping long hair tidily out of the way.

Should we forget, the ponytail can be seen sported in frescoes of Greek handmaidens dating back to 1600BC, and was equally popular with men of the early Mayan culture and members of the 18th century British military. However, as a perennial, go-to, glamorous all-round style for women of all ages, the ponytail seems to have spent centuries overlooked - until some point in the late noughties, when the humble ponytail came back with a bang.

Since then re-workings of the style has been on-trend every season, embraced by everyone from high-maintenance fashionistas to time-pressed mothers. Ponytails have become a celebrity style staple, worthy of being rocked on the red carpet by the entire lexicon of stars from Jessica Alba to Renee Zellweger. It became the signature style for pop singer Ariana Grande, and ponytails have even been spotted gracing the head of The Duchess of Cambridge on state occasions.

Yet with such a proliferation of ponytails in recent years, it's become increasingly important to get on-point with each season's edgiest and most attractive variations. So we've taken a little time to review and pick out a bouquet of our favourite ponytail varieties to help inspire you through a hot, long-haired summer.

Get High & Mighty

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Wearing a high super-tight ponytail was once derogatorily known as a 'Croydon face-lift', part of an unkind female stereotype that also visualised the wearer accessorised with a shell-suit and double buggy. These days however high-stepping ponytail wearers come in full-on glamour fatigue, and the help of that added tautening across the forehead is a bonus most of us will be grateful on any occasion. High and mid-high ponytails are big in the evening looks stakes this summer and the favourite way with these right now is to present locks falling in a smooth cascade from a tight wrapped column of your own hair. Sported by Beyonce, J-Lo and many more this summer, this style delivers maximum 'look at me' impact with the added practicality of keeping hair well away from the face in hot weather. Try a less-accentuated version of this style worn mid-high and to the side and you've also got yourself a pretty, preppy daytime variant.

Go Loopy

This season's freshest variation has a twist in the tail - in the form of a loop. This style is as straightforward as it is fashion-forward right now, with a range of looped-back ponytails gracing the catwalks this summer. Roland Mouret presented them low and drawn from a well-defined centre parting, while Carolina Herrera delivered a futuristic, Japanese inspired take by sculpting the loop with a wet-look finish, creating a truly modern look that also ties in to the seasons' other big trend. These loops are clever, cool and just how to wear your ponytail right now, a simple, 'ready in a second' look for medium-long hair that delivers cute, quirky style and certainly won't have you jumping through hoops in the morning.

Blow Some Bubbles

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Nick Matthews

Another popular ponytail trend that hasn't got old since floating down from the catwalk is the bubble ponytail. After hitting the runways in shows by the likes of Barbara Casasola the bubble ponytail has fast become a runaway favourite worn at glittering events by the likes of Blake Lively and even sported on court by tennis pros such as Catherine Bellis. You can wear your bubbles a couple at a time, casual, messy and ready to burst, a-la Olivia Wilde did recently, or let loose your OCD with a long, super-sleek, geometric bubble braid, like the ladies as the Valentino show. Make sure you're hair is stick straight and smooth to begin, gather and secure at the nape of the neck, then simply secure small elastics down the tail at intervals of your choice and primp out the hair between to create a chain of silken orbs. Shiny bubbles - no troubles!

Alongside our three faves this summer, there's a host of other casual ways to work the pony right now. A super straight low pony paired with a severe side parting is a serious seasonal sizzler. Meanwhile purposefully undone, messy look ponytails take loose strands and use them to carefully frame the face, creating a look that's both casual and classy. Work any of these looks and you'll be ahead in the style stakes by a tail's length!

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