Ponytails are the new braids. From New York all the way through Paris—the ponytail reigned supreme during the fall 2012 season. Obviously the pony is a perennial favorite, but it had a particularly strong showing this season. But the style can be more challenging to reproduce than it seems. On the catwalk, it’s a high-fashion look that reads casual and low-maintenance. But on the sidewalk, it has the potential to come across quite lackluster, horribly humdrum, and soccer mom-ish.
That’s where we come in—a few of our favorite designers (in collaboration with their amazing runway hair stylists) have found easy and interesting ways to retell the age-old pony tale. Here, ten quick tips for the prettiest, fashion-forward, DIY ponies ever, straight from the fall 2012 runways.
Pull The Sides Of Your Hair Over Your Ears: The antithesis of sporty, the ‘elegant, womanly, and very Hitchcock-like’ ponytail Guido Palau (Redken Creative Consultant and lead hairstylist) created at Jil Sander was made a bit more mature by brushing the hair down and back in a way that left only the earlobes visible—perfect for showing off your earrings.
Tuck It Into Your Collar: Instead of showing off your low-slung pony, why not use the neckline of your coat to completely shield it from sight, like Guido’s ‘cool and nonchalant’ look at Ports 1961? Or you can play peek-a-boo ponytail by wrapping an oversize scarf around your neck and hair a few times.
Sex It Up With Bondage Tape: Classic, but with a rather raunchy twist, let’s call this Jason Wu look ‘diva dominatrix’. In lieu of a regular elastic band, key hairstylist Odile Gilbert liberally wrapped the base of the pony with black bondage tape that she picked up at a sex shop in Paris. Talk about kinky...
… Or Wrap Your Own Hair Around The Base: Again, the idea is to play hide-and-seek with elastic band. After you pull your hair into the desired position, section off a sliver of hair from underneath the ponytail to wrap around the base. Secure it with a tress-tone U-pin and your look becomes instantly sophisticated, like the look at Ralph Lauren.
Lacquer It, Shellac It: Hopefully this little tidbit will help banish your bad hair days forever—when in doubt, you can never go wrong with sleek, shiny, and wet (looking). For an immaculate, fresh-out-of-the-shower look, liberally palm a high-shine gel from your hairline to the nape of your neck and brush it taut, like Guido did at Calvin Klein.
Add a Little Extra Height At The Crown: Time to take your look and your locks just a little bit higher. The tress-trick is this: After you pull your hair into a low pony, lightly loosen a few strands on top of your crown and tease them with a fine-toothed comb. Mist with hairspray to set the slightly 60s style, a la the models at the Diesel Black Gold show.
Leave Front Loose and Tuck The Wisps: Next time you find yourself unsure of which hairstyle to wear, go for disheveled and elegant, like the lovely look seen at Giles Deacon. Simply center-part your strands and loosely brush them back. Once secured, distress the look by pulling a few tendrils on both sides loose and slipping them behind your ears.
Wear It Messy On Purpose: Perfect for those whose hair is naturally full of texture--or for anyone looking to glam up three-day old curls--try a bedhead pony. One-part grunge, two-parts girly, Jeanie Syfu (TRESemme Celebrity Stylist and the mastermind behind this Tracy Reese look) managed to make scruffy look easy, breezy, and most importantly, sexy.
Extend It With Extensions: Ever felt like your ponytail is lacking? It’s super easy to pick up the slack—simply add a few extra tracks! Lengthy clip-in extensions are great for filling out and elongating an otherwise skimpy, short, and stubby pony. Make it look incredibly natural by wearing a hairpiece that closely matches your own hair color and texture. (As seen at Herve Leger and Jonathan Saunders.)
Rock a Bold Barrette: For future reference, barrettes are no longer just for little girls. The quickest way to glam up a plain ponytail—be it picture-perfect or laissez faire—is to accessorize it. Wear something small and sparkly after-hours, but by day try a piece that’s a bit larger in size, but more subdued in hue. At Rochas Eugene Souleiman made them out of glazed cinnamon sticks.