It's Time to Rethink the Plait With These Grown-Up Hairstyles

Updated 05/17/18
plaits: woman with milkmaid braids
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For many, our first experience of plaits comes in the form of that impatient wait as a parent quickly twists one into our hair before rushing us out the door to school. In later life, our plaiting usually goes no further than a speedy braid when our gym ponytail gets particularly bothersome or we try to re-create that overnight curl method everyone swears by.

Apart from these ultra-quick braids, many other plait hairstyles feel out of reach. We look longingly at our style heroes and their seemingly effortless halo braids with envy wishing we could do our hair like that. The thing is that we definitely can. Plaits are actually really easy to re-create once you get back into it.

When you delve into the A to Z of plait hairstyles, you'll see that even though it takes a little time to get to grips with, there's a braided hairstyle for everyone and for every occasion—it's like the nude lipstick of hairstyles. Still not sold? You will be once you've seen all the plait hairstyles we've compiled.

Plaits: Triple Plait at Jil Sander

Created by braiding together six sections of hair, this one will take some practice, but the flat woven effect makes it well worth it.

Plaits: Looped Braid Bun at Delpozo

Braids can give otherwise unassuming buns a little extra interest. Create a loose plait and then twizzle it around the base, pinning in the ends.

Plaits: Double French Plait With Shells at Bohn Jsell

We love a hair accessory, and here's proof of how a few simple hair slides and charms can amp up a set of french plaits.

Plaits: Zendaya With Long Plait
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This plait is not only wedding guest–worthy but will also switch up your workweek look. Since it's sleek at the top and pushed to the side, the hairstyle's simplicity lends itself well to a pair of statement earrings.

Plaits: Woman With Long Loose Plait

Everything about this has off-duty model vibes. It's also the kind of plait that can be pulled together during a taxi ride without a mirror. If done on damp hair in the office, you'll also get a subtle wave for heading out to drinks.

Plaits: Woman With Plaited crown and Blonde Hair
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This easy, wavy plait hairstyle is calling out for a summer midi dress. It also breathes new life into a go-to look.

Plaits: Gabrielle Union With Cornrow Hairstyle
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If you've got natural or transitioning afro hair, these cornrows work well as a protective style, and the beads will be the only accessories you'll need.

plaits: woman with gelled doPlaits: Woman With gelled Down Plaitwn plait

That fresh-out-of-the-shower level of sleekness is given an update by the addition of a neat plait. It's polished enough to wear for a special occasion as well as updating a casual jeans-and-tee weekend combo.

Plaits: Woman With Chunky Cornrows
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Precise, chunky cornrows are a classic for natural hair and protect from damage while promoting hair growth when well-maintained. Add in an off-the-shoulder dress and you're summer-ready.

Plaits: Woman With Side Plait
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Fear not: Short hair is also invited to the plait party, and this style with a side parting and loose ends proves just how great it looks. Play around with hair ties or a ribbon to add interest.

Plaits: Woman With Plaited Pigtails
Steve Granitz/Getty

Your 6-year-old self might just be your new style icon. A triple plait on long hair has just the right amount of playfulness without veering off into full-on kooky. You can also tie up the ends into one ponytail if you're not convinced.

Plaits: Woman With Severe French Plait
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The plait hairstyle of choice for impossibly sophisticated women everywhere. Unless you're a French-plait regular, it might require some double-mirror navigation, but once you do it a few times, it'll become a favorite.

Plaits: Woman With Two French Plaits
Jim Spellman/Getty

Well, two is always better than one, and there's no better evidence of that than this plaited duo. It's become a social media staple for good reason: it's easy to do, manages to look great with any outfit you wear it with and most importantly, it gets the hair out of your face.

Plaits: Woman With Gypsy Style Plaits
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If wearing your hair down is your signature look, you can still take a baby step into the world of plaits with the addition of two tiny ones on either side.

Plaits: Woman With Coiled Plait
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Just going to preface this by saying that it looks like this plait hairstyle is harder than getting through the Crystal Maze, but it's actually quite simple. Once you've created two braids at the front, you're just joining the ends and wrapping them around. This is also the perfect opportunity for getting some hair extensions involved.

Plaits: Woman With Milkmaid Plaits
Monica Schipper/Stringer/Getty

A plaited halo with wispy locks is probably one of the easiest styles you can choose, but it has the biggest impact. Be prepared for everyone thinking that you have your own glam squad following you around once they see this.

Plaits: Woman With Plaited Hair
Matthew Eisman/Getty

This barely-there twist-plait hybrid will help get you out of a hairstyle rut and will work well on any hair length and texture too.

Plaits: Women With Plaited High Ponytail
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A high pony that's still loose around the front and sides will see you through a summer of events. When you add a plait and a coral lip, it ups the romance factor.

Plaits: Woman with Fishtail Braid
Karwai Tang/Getty

Let's face it: We've all spent one summer (you know the one) trying to work out how to do a fishtail plait before uploading every angle of it onto Facebook. If you've worked it out now, keep it loose and messy to bring it up-to-date.

Plaits: Woman With Cornrows and Wavy Hair
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Most of us have tried this look at some point, and with some tousled waves, it suddenly looks fresh and festival-ready again.

Plaits: Women With Rope Braid
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Add some dimension to a simple plait by playing around with kirby grips and black hair ties. Rough it up a bit by pulling some strands out of the plait and you're good to go.

When you're stuck for hair inspo, try out one of these plait hairstyles to switch things up.

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