Summer — be it with clothes or hair or plans — is all about adding a little bit of spice. In the last six weeks alone, we’ve seen amplified hair colors, more-is-more manicures, bright pops of makeup, and some offbeat accessories on the most stylish celebrities and tastemakers, but nothing’s having a moment like the style-accentuating braid. Now, mind you, this is different from a regular braid or even a head full of them — the style-accentuating braid isn’t a standalone, but rather something of a hair accessory built into an existing style. Dua Lipa’s pigtail braids, debuted just days ago, are a prime example of the phenomenon, right up there with face-framing baby braids, braid-flecked ponytails, and tiny ones hidden among beach waves.
Lipa’s braided pigtails, styled for a night out on vacation in Mexico City, elevate the schoolyard style with texture, movement, and light-catching intricacy perfect for her self-proclaimed mezcal-fueled dinner date with pals. Against a backdrop of a sport black two-piece set and armfuls of colorful bracelets and rings, the braids really stand out. They’re also noticeably sleek — the braids themselves are tied off at the top and bottom with clear bands, and Lipa’s part is smooth, brushed, and lightly gelled for maximum hold.
Back in the States, it looks like Sophie Turner had a similar idea for a day exploring Atlanta with husband Joe Jonas. Styled in an oversized t-shirt and perhaps one of the most glorious pairs of cowboy boots ever, Turner secured her deep red hair in a mid-crown ponytail, then braided the length of it for a gleaming take on everyone’s favorite athletic style — if you played high school sports, the braided ponytail is a comfortingly familiar look.
A huge component of the style-accentuating braid’s popularity is just how easy it is to nail, with or without a professionally trained glam squad at your disposal. Because these little braid accents are there to dress up a style rather than serve as the style itself, none of them need to be too precise or accurate — especially if you’re doing anything outdoors or water-related, a messy accent braid will only heighten the bohemian effect. If you’re not quite ready to commit to something as full-fledged as Lipa’s pigtails, try Turner’s easy pony-braid or take a page out of Kendall Jenner’s (or Ariana Grande’s...or Kehlani’s...or Hailey Bieber’s) book and just braid two tiny face-framing pieces all the way down.
One part Y2K throwback, one part summertime hair-off-your-face efficiency, there’s a very good reason why the It girls can’t stay away from the style-accentuating braid.
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