Your Guide to Classic Formal Hairstyles
Choosing the right hairstyle for a formal event is essential. A formal hairstyle reflects the dress code. It shows your respect for the special occasion and sets your look apart from the casual.
There are many ‘classic’ formal hairstyles. These polished, elegant styles are perfectly fitting for black or white tie events. They team up blissfully with ball gowns and evening dresses.
Today, we’re looking at those essential hairstyles. These flattering ideas have been around for many eras – and for good reason. They always look so beautiful and fit a plethora of balls, dances and proms.
Some have a soft, romantic look that pairs up with floaty chiffons to create a delicate overall ensemble. Others are sleek and polished, perfectly compatible with body-conscious gowns. We’re examining a mixture of both.
Each of these hairstyles is highly adaptable. That means you are free to add alterations such as braids, bands and more custom elements. These simply form the backbone of many formal hairstyles and are known as the essentials.
How to Choose a Formal Hairstyle?
If you have a backless dress or statement high neckline – wear your hair up to show off these features.
If you have a plunging neckline, considering wearing your hair down.
- If you have short hair, opt for polished straight hair, loose waves or a add a hair clip.
- Loose hair should be polished and well styled to appear formal.
- If you’re wearing a one-shoulder gown – you can wear your hair to one side to show off the shoulder strap.
Classic Hairstyle #1: The French Twist
If you’re looking for something vintage inspired, this low French Twist is our top pick. Always so elegant looking, this is one no-fail hairstyle option for formal events. We love how clean and polished this looks.
If you’re wearing a very embellished or statement gown, this hairstyle is a good choice. It’s neat and tucked out of the way, allowing your dress to shine. It keeps your hair pinned out of your face, while looking very beautiful, too.
Opt for this in a low, simple twist. It’s a flattering version and very classic. This simply tucks your hair inward, creating a clean bun structure at the base of your neck/back of your head.
Wear it to a wedding or prom. Add chandelier earrings and clean, natural makeup to top off your look. You can pair this up with any dress, but a traditional ball gown will add to your timelessly chic vision.
Classic Hairstyle #2: The Half Up-Do
The Half-Up Do is a beautiful option if you have long hair you want to display. It teams up best with strapless or plunging gowns. This is a highly customizable hairstyle that you can make your own.
The idea is to pin a strand from each side of the front of your head. These can be twisted, braided or simply tied. This forms a delicate crown, allowing the rest of your hair to remain free.
Adapt beach wave hair into a more structured look by adding a half-up element. This gives it a polished, formal twist. You can take it in a boho inspired direction by opting for a braided crown.
Ensure the loose part of your hair is well styled and tidy. Pack a comb and extra pins in your bag for touch-up on the night. You can also add an embellished clip to bring more sophistication to the final result.
Classic Hairstyle #3: Side Parted Waves
Another option for those with long or medium hair, the side-parted wave never goes out of style. The key to this look if keeping one half tucked gracefully behind your ear. Your hair should be precisely side-parted for formal events.
The tighter the wave/curl, the more vintage-inspired the final look. If you want red carpet glam, choose very gentle, loose waves. This can be easily achieved at home with a curling iron!
If you want to go in a retro direction, add a more dramatic curl. Keep each section sleek with glossy finishing spray and plenty of hairspray for hold. Use hair pins or clips tucked under your hair if you need to keep the parting straight and help it settle.
This teams up with almost any dress. A gorgeous option if you want to rock a red lipstick, just go bare with your eye makeup and add only a few layers of mascara. Keep earrings minimal and down-sized.
Classic Hairstyle #4: The Low Twisted Chignon
Much like the French Braid, a chignon is one of the most famous formal up-dos. This is a tidy bun, but can also be adapted to a messy chic look by allowing some strands to fall loose. This is a simple, twisted bun formed at the back of your neck.
Sophisticated and timeless, this twisted chignon will fit any formal event dress code. It’s often favored by brides for its simplicity and femininity. This teams up well with a pair of statement earrings and a smoky or bronze-hued eye.
If you’re a wiz when it comes to styling your own hair, you can try this out at home. This twisted look is not difficult to create, simply spin your hair into a spiral at the back of your head. Then pin/tie in place.
Classic Hairstyle #5: The Loose Up-Do
If you don’t like having all of your hair pulled back, this loose up-do is a great in-between choice. It combines the best of a classic bun with loose strands. You can also add creative touches to this hairstyle.
Keep the front strands of your hair loose, style with a curling or straightening iron on their own. Then pin the back section of your hair into a loose bun. This can be a twist, braided bun or very simple ballerina bun.
The important part is to create the right level of ‘messiness’. This hairdo should look slightly un-done, but not un-styled. A finishing spray will keep hair looking polished and in place.