7 Fashion-Forward Ways to Wear Braids Right Now

HOLIDAY 2017
By Karie Frost for Modern Muse

Forget the simple three-strand braid — the recent New York Fashion Week runways abounded with creative ways to plait your hair. From crowns to latticework weaving to athleisure-approved plaits, these are the looks to copy now for show-stopping looks during the holiday season and into next year.

1. Latticework Braids

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Professional

At the Christian Siriano show, Sebastian Professional hair lead Anthony Cole tugged and pinned two side braids into a visually stunning latticework.

He says that to craft these plaits — which are meant to mimic the "3-D plastic quality" of vivid jacquard fabrics found in the collection — you'll need bobby pins and a paste, like Sebastian Professional Microweb Fiber, to lend your fingers grip for control when braiding. Then, use Cole's "fencing" technique: Interlace a four-strand braid along each side of the head, making sure to open up the weave at each intersection until "you get the look you want, and then pin each traverse to create the latticework effect," he says. To finish the style, join the two braids into a ponytail at your nape.

2. Braided Crown

Photo courtesy of Olivia Garden

Fairytales inspired the beauty vibe at the Michael Costello show and MIZANI hair lead César DeLeön Ramirêz explains that he wanted to create a hairdo that was "soft and romantic."

To get this look, Ramirêz recommends using a tail comb to create an ultra-precise triangular section up top, as well as to keep your top and bottom sections equal in size. "This allows you to maintain a thickness in the braids but not compromise the amount of remaining hair for the loose waves," he says. Then, weave an inverted braid on each side, following the edge of the triangle shape, and connect the two plaits in the back with an elastic.

3. Golden Beach Braids

Photo courtesy of Ted Gibson

This beachy look spotted at Carmen Marc Valvo provides a surefire way to soak up serious style points come spring and summer.

Celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson explains that you'll need a medium-barrel curling iron and copious amounts of sea-salt spray to create texture-laden waves. Then, weave three rows of skinny French braids that hug the head above one ear, plus larger three-strand plaits randomly placed around your head. As a finishing touch, adorn braids with small gold metal hair cuffs, joining together some plaits while letting others dangle freely. "The hair jewelry adds a touch of urban glam to the look!" Gibson says.

4. Sporty Braid

Photo courtesy of Davines

For the Kith SS18 show, Davines hair lead Joseph DiMaggio created a shine-packed, low-slung braid that you can throw together pre-workout.

To achieve the look, gather your hair into a low ponytail, leaving a one-inch section of hair loose. After loading the tail's lengths with shine spray, create a three-strand braid, and then wrap the base of the ponytail with the loose section, pinning it in place.

5. Hidden Braid

Photo courtesy of Evo

This lazy gal's take on the trend certainly has its appeal. "We're deconstructing it so that you can't really tell it's there," explains Evo hair lead Kenna, who created the half-up, half-down style for the Libertine runway. His suggestion: Make sure to rough it up.

To achieve tumbling texture, use a blow dryer and beach spray, like Evo Salty Dog Beach Cocktail Spray, and "rough dry" hair with your hands and heat. Loosely pull together the three-strand braid and, after you secure it with an elastic, randomly pull out bits and pieces from the plait to help conceal it from the naked eye.

6. Beefed-Up Braid

Photo courtesy of Nina Westervelt

Balancing bouncy fun with lived-in texture, this high-flying style seen at Lela Rose's SS18 presentation is 100% alluring. The secret behind its success: layering several products to build necessary body for the braid.

First, KMS lead hairstylist Lori Panarello explains, you'll want to add bulk to your hair with a volumizer, like KMS ADDVOLUME Styling Foam. Then, carefully layer a texturizing product, like KMS ADDVOLUME Texture Crème, which she says creates a "cushion" feeling. To further boost fullness, apply a dry texture spray, like KMS ADDVOLUME Liquid Dust, and scrunch it into your hair. Then, gather hair into a high braid and allow any wispy pieces to float flirtatiously.

7. The Blooming Braid

Photo courtesy of TRESemmé

The most challenging of the season's bunch are the winding plaits sprouting faux flowers seen backstage at Naeen Khan. "We wanted to do flowers in the hair in an unexpected way," says TRESemmé hair lead Odile Gilbert. "The idea is that, when you look at it, you don't understand how it's done."

Though Gilbert actually wove one, long continuous strand of flowers into her crown, you can just pin individual blossoms into your labyrinthine plaits as a fuss-free alternative. But one thing is necessary: You'll need plenty of dry shampoo, like TRESemmé Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo, to take away any of your hair's natural slip.