Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that pigtails are a polarizing hairstyle to say the least. For some, they evoke playgrounds of the past, a childhood look best left behind, along with lockers and light-up shoes. For plenty of celebrities, though, pigtails are a versatile, creative choice for all sorts of occasions both formal and casual. They’re seen on the red carpet, on relaxing moments at home, on the cover of magazines, and on the most dizzying press tours. So much of the style’s allure is based in how adaptable it is — regardless of if they’re left loose and low or pulled tight and plaited down to the ends, they’re a show-stopping pick that’s sure to ignite their Instagram comment sections.
For sportier situations such as on-stage performances, nothing beats high-positioned, bouncy pigtails like the kind beloved by Olivia Rodrigo and Jennifer Lopez alike. A more unexpected and evocative alternative to a ponytail, the look still keeps hair tangle-free and out of their faces. Alternatively, stars like Gabrielle Union and Priyanka Chopra keep them in the rotation for more glamorous moments, like fashion shows and grand openings.
Get inspired by these celebrity pigtail moments, with different style types to suit all sorts of aesthetics.
With tons of volume and loose weaving, Robbie’s pulled-back pigtails almost look French braided on her Suicide Squad press tour in 2019. To underscore the effortless effect, free-flowing pieces were left dangling on either side of her face.
Believe it or not, these rhinestone clip-secured pigtails were styled for Rodrigo’s first ever concert performance in 2021. She immediately made a splash, with her Y2K-inspired hairstyle helping affirm her SOUR album’s aesthetic.
Does it get any cuter than the bouncy plaits Rihanna wore for this Fenty Skin tutorial? The youthful hairstyle keeps the hair out of her face so she can apply a clay mask mess-free — skin care aficionados, take note.
Pigtails can be earthy-glamorous, too, as Chopra aptly demonstrated at the Bulgari Hotel opening in 2023. While each section was positioned at the very top of her crown, her natural wave texture kept the entire look feeling the right amount of casual.
Cardi B looked ready to join the Spice Girls reunion tour with this perfectly late-90s hairstyle-outfit combination. Her Reebok long-sleeve and shield-style glasses would seem Y2K-ish on their own, but it’s taken to the next level with her flipped ends and the tiny pigtails above them.
Watson made a serious splash on the Jan. 2024 cover of British Vogue, dressed in edgy, clashing clothes and a punky take on pigtails. While the ends are tightly woven, the top of her hair was artfully mussed for the best contrast.
There’s so much to love about Union’s take on the trend. Out in Milan in 2022, feed-in braid style and dramatic, exaggerated length come together to make this one of her coolest-ever looks.
For a more low-commitment option, try Bieber’s version. In a 2022 YouTube video, she leaves most of her hair down, with just the top quarter portions slicked back into braided pigtails.
Optical illusion time — look closely, because Condor’s hair only looks loose. Her long, curled pigtails are secured by thin, color-matching ties toward their ends at the 2019 Kid’s Choice Awards, letting the upper sections billow freely.
For a duet with LL Cool J at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2021, Lopez went for a combination of sporty and sultry with long, voluminous pigtails parted down the center. Considering the intense choreography she performed, it seems like it was a smart move.