Sure, you could spend the summer in cutoffs and sticky up-sweeps—but not when there are days and nights...and more nights of parties to attend. So, sidestep the relaxed route for a moment, because the best summer party pairing is a brave-the-heat hairstyle and a chic-and-breezy dress. Whether you're hitting a chilled-out backyard barbecue or a classic cocktail soirée, we’ve chosen six summer updos in styles that span the gamut—from bohemian tresses with a twist to a high and mighty braid—and the dresses to match. Partying never looked so easy.
1. A Side of Glamour Girl: Take a cue from stylist Jordan M.'s look at the Alexander Berardi spring '11 show and pull loose waves into an easy, breezy take on the low pony—just sweep it to the side. A delicate, lacy dress rounds out the romantic, Brigitte Bardot-inspired vibe.
The Hair: The side pony at Alexander Berardi spring '11. Image courtesy of Bumble and bumble.
2. Parisian Prep: Add some volume at the crown and a sleek headband for a modern take on a '60s ponytail. Blow-dry gel keeps hair soft and frizz-free, and a touch of hairspray locks the style in place. Since the look is simple, choose a dress with a vibrant pattern.
The Hair: A retro-inspired ponytail at Valentino fall '11. Images by Matt Lever for Redken.
3. Braided Beauty: For the hottest days (and nights), this French braid-bun combo gets your hair completely out of the way while mixing a little edge with elegance. Plus, it's a perfect style for second-day hair, and it works with bangs, too. (Just start the braids closer to the hairline to incorporate shorter bangs.) Pair it with a patterned dress for an extra dose of the wild side.
The Hair: Braids at Nanette Lepore fall '11. Image courtesy of Moroccanoil.
4. Flower Girl: We love a good hair accessory, but really the only acceptable time to rock a flower is in the summer, or at a wedding. So, follow Marc Jacobs' '70s glam lead and go with sexy volume and a flower tucked behind the ear. Keep the focus on the hair and pick a simple ensemble with clean lines—feel free to amp up the disco feel with a one-shoulder dress.
The Hair: Marc Jacobs spring '11 image by Matt Lever for Redken.
5. Updated Beach Hair: Without a doubt, textured beach hair is the style of the summer. Take the look one step further—and help keep your hair off your face—with a side swoop anchored with a small, fishtail braid. (You can add a beach spray to damp hair and air-dry, or spray on dry hair for a dose of texture). A flowy maxi-dress rounds out the beachy, boho aesthetic.
The Hair: Beachy, swooped, and braided at Rodarte fall '11. Image courtesy of Aveda.
6. Your High-ness: A high, sleek ponytail meets the classic braid is a quick and easy, warm weather-approved 'do. The tricks to getting that height? Stylist Rodney Cutler recommends blow-drying roots away from the face in a slightly upward direction and securing hair with a bungee cord to keep it in place. And make sure to balance out the intensity of the pulled-back look with a brightly colored maxi-dress.
The Hair: A high, sleek braid at Carlos Miele fall '11. Images by Adam Lerner for Cutler.