Hairstyle Inspiration: Six Ways With Plaits

One of the things I love most about having long hair is being able to play with it and create interesting ‘dos, and I am huge fan of the plait. Somehow, they look a lot more complicated than they are, and seem to add a classic, pretty feel to your look. I’m convinced the trick to getting any good plait is making sure you have equal sections to start with. So if you’ve got stuck into a bit of a hair rut and tend to flit from pony tail to top-knot to hair just hanging off your head like limp wallpaper day in day out, why not try some of these super easy plait hairstyles for a change? And they really areeasy. I’m not talking about braiding your hair into one of those hairband thingies because I have NO idea how you do that. I’ll let you know if I ever do. Anyhoo…

1. The basic plait. It doesn’t get more simple than this. Style a classic one down your back, a scruffy side plait over your shoulder, or split your hair into two plaits for a more Heidi-esque look. I find it looks best if you pull sections of the plait a little horizontally after you’ve tied the bobble, just adding a bit more shape. Quick, easy, pretty.

2. The French plait. Like the French kiss, I don’t think the French actually own this plait, so don’t be thrown by the name. Slightly more complex than the one above, the French plait works its way down your head, adding more sections as you go. Styling just one down the back of your head is a chic way to keep your hair off your face, or try one on either side of your head. I like to do my French plait before bed and then sleep in it for a slightly mussed up look the next day.

3. The fishtail plait. Ahhh the fishtail. Some girls can do ’em, others gaze at them in awe. They’re not actually difficult once you’ve mastered the technique, but they’re misleading as you only split the hair into two sections to start with. Being someone who has now mastered the fishtail (I tend to wear mine to the side over my shoulder), I can tell you that it is often a conversation-starter. Amongst girls, mainly. Actually wholly. I’m not going to pretend any guy has ever approached me to compliment my fishtail plaiting abilities. Once at dinner last year, my female friends and I were discussing “fishtails”… The boys looked sufficiently perplexed. A museum security guard in New York City actually came up to me to ask how I’d done mine when I was on my big NYC adventure a few months ago. It’s a time-consuming little one, is the fishtail, so I usually do mine while watching TV in the evening. If you haven’t yet mastered it, search for explanatory videos on Youtube. You will be so happy when you’ve got it and you can wear a fishtail with pride.

4. The French into pony. Yes I may have made that name up. Catchy, I know. This style is where you French plait your hair down to the nape of your neck at your hair line, then tie it in a bobble, letting the rest of your hair hang loose in a pony tail. A nice way to mix up the classic French plait. I also like to add a ribbon for a girly touch.

5. The ponytail plait. Another name I’ve coined, yes. This is where you tie your hair into a relatively high ponytail, then do a basic plait with the hair and tie with another bobble at the bottom. I believe I once saw Blake Lively rocking this look on Gossip Girl, so naturally, I had to try it. This is now one of my fave hairstyles, and is especially fun when walking down the street as it swings from side to side beautifully, just like a, erm, pony’s tail. I like to wear mine with a big flower bobble or scrunchie at the top. Yup, scrunchies are coming back from the 90s. Just ask any of the Team GB gymnasts.

6. Little braids. For a bit of a boho, surfer girl look, try plaiting little sections of your hair into teeeny braids. Not the whole head, just a few here and there. They don’t have to come from the top of your head – underneath works just as well for a more subtle look, and these little braids still look really pretty when your hair is tied up. So there you have it. Easy peasy plaits to jazz up your hair routine. No excuses for boring ‘dos any more!