Thursday, 13 October 2011

Easy Updo Style For Formal Events

Q: I've got a black tie event coming up and I'm wearing a backless dress, so I'd like to wear my hair up. My problem is that when I twist it up, my ends are a good 6 inches or more.

When I try tucking them in, it all looks untidy (more down to my bad technique, I'm sure). I'd like to wear my large sparkly barrette. Is there a sophisticated way to pile all my hair up on top of my head and secure it with a barrette?

French Pleats Are Always Reliable
The timing of this question is perfect as we are moving into the season of Black Ties now. A French pleat style is alway a reliable option if you are doing your own hair.

However, ponytails were HUGE on the runways last month in New York, London and Milan. So if you are comfortable wearing ponytails normally on a day-to-day basis, this could be a successful look for you with  a little dressing up for your formal event.

French Pleat High Ponytail

An Easy Formal Ponytail Style


One updo that I love combines the pleat technique with a high ponytail.

This style has a number of advantages for you if you are doing your own hair:


  • It's easy. Your hair should be up and looking gorgeous in about 30 seconds.
  • It's sexy. As your hair moves, people get a cheeky flash of the bling you're working underneath.
  • It can be saved. If you need to, you can easily re-adjust your hair during the evening.
  • It's reliable. If you wear ponytails already, you will feel confident with how you look all night.


Practice, Practice, Practice


One tip I'd really like to stress is that practice makes perfect. I'm a big believer in preparing yourself for formal events well before the invitations appear through the letter box.

Buy your dress when you don't need one. Have your jewellery and hair accessories stashed away and ready.

And for goodness sake, practice your updos on those quiet Sunday afternoons or Wednesday evenings when Beloved Husband is watching the Formula One or something.

Following is a copy of my original tutorial on this style ... Enjoy!


Here's how you do it:


Start with a high French Pleat
Step 1: Make a high up French Pleat. 
You want long ends, so unless your hair is to the middle of your back, start your initial ponytail at the centre of your head or higher.

Here, I only twisted my hair around once.

If you have very long hair or want to use extensions (so to your bottom rib or longer), start with a more traditional French pleat, making the first twist of your pleat nearer the bottom of your hairline.

To learn more about the basics of the French Pleat style, click this link and scroll to the bottom to watch my video on how to make a French Pleat.


French Pleat using the Fiori Swarovski barrette
Step 2: Secure your pleat near your crown. 
Hold the style with a barrette or close-holding hair claw very high up on your head, near your crown. 

Choose a hair clip that is really strong, particularly if you have long ends. 

The longer your ends, the heavier your ponytail will be, so you need a properly designed hair clip. I recommend any barrette that we call at Stone Bridge a "large" barrette. 

French Pleat with the Estiva Swarovski barrette
Here I have used our Italian crystal barrettes, both the Estiva Swarovski barrette and the Fiori Swarovski barrette

The Estiva is excellent for a very formal occasion or top drawer black tie sort of event. 

Hair claws are best if they can get right around and under your pleat. Here I'm using our Crystal Strand Large volume hair clamp (no longer available). 


French Pleat with a Crystal Strand clamp
For a less dressy claw, try the Interlocking medium hair claw or our Cadre Rectangle hair clamps.

The downside to using claws for this style is that most types of clamp will stand proud, which kind of spoils the ponytail effect, so really barrettes are easiest. If you have enough hair and are will to experiment, our French Pleat medium comb also works for this style.

Our Stone Bridge Classic Beak clips are also good because they lie flat under your ponytail and also help spread your hair out to create more fullness. 

If you have a lot of hair - either very thick or very long and heavy - I would go for a small Ficcare Maximas clip.

Back view of my High Ponytail
Step 3: Arrange your ends.
Spread out your ponytail just above the clip so the weight is evenly distributed out the top of your pleat.

This gives your hair much better movement and makes your profile more attractive.



Get experimenting, and have fun!

Visit Stone Bridge to see what new hair clips we have in this week




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