It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the whole braid craze started (we'll chalk it up to the side-braid at Alexander Wang's spring '10 show). But if this summer is any indication, the plait party's momentum shows no signs of letting up—in other words, braids are kind of a big deal. There's the milkmaid, the over-the-shoulder, French braids, braids tucked into buns, mini-braids interwoven into hair, French braids that give the illusion of an under-cut, the braid as a headband, fishtail braids…we could go on and on. And while it's proven to be a hairstyle rife with inspiration, the complicated mechanics of creating the many lusted-after looks can be daunting. So, to cut out the intimidation factor, we created three amazing braided hairstyles with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions: The ever-baffling fishtail braid (we swear, it's easier than it looks!), a French braid-bun combo, and a delicate, crown-inspired style. Get ready to break out the skills!
styling by by Kelsey Osterman, stylist at Cutler Salon; photos by by Amelia Alpaugh