12 formal hairstyles for short hair to get you through party season in style

Formal hairstyles for short hair guaranteed to up your party hair game.

As we all know, ’tis the season to get together with loved ones and have a holly, jolly time. But if the sudden influx of party invites has made you realise that you’re severing lacking ideas for formal hairstyles for short hair, then you’ve come to the right place.

Pulling together some of our fave A-list styles, the All Things Hair team are here on hand to help get you through any occasion in style. So if you thought that your options for short formal hairstyles were limited, then simply keep scrolling for the best hairstyles to suit all your hair desires.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: Close-up of Olivia Culpo with dark glossy short hair in a side-parted low mini bun
This sleek bun style is calling out for a pair of statement earrings. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

1. Olivia Culpo

The low bun is the hairstyle all the It girls are wearing this season. With a defined side parting and high-shine finish, this style would add the glam factor to any special night.

Editor’s tip: Use a little VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel to keep your parting defined and in place while also adding shine.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: side view of rachel mcadams blonde bob length hair in half-up, half-down style
You can’t go wrong with a half-up, half-down style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

2. Rachel McAdams

If your hair is too short to get it all up into an updo, why not try a half-up, half-down style like Rachel McAdams?

Pinning back the top half of her blonde, bob-length hair with a metal hair clip, we love the way Rachel wore it with tousled waves and left the front section of her hair to fall forward into a sweeping side fringe.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: Headshot of Dua Lipa with a sleek dark bob hairstyle
Do it like Dua with smooth, silky strands. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

3. Dua Lipa

Sometimes straight, smooth hair is all you need to make a statement – just look at Dua Lipa’s signature style. With her blunt cut and the chic way she’s tucked her hair back behind her ear, she’s total bob goals.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: Front view of maisie williams with brown hair in a wavy updo
Add soft waves for a romantic finish. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

4. Maisie Williams

When it comes to looking for formal hairstyles for short hair, textured waves are a common theme as they add body and life to shorter styles.

Simply curl your strands for a wavy finish using our hair tutorial and secure them into an updo with bobby pins. And best of all, any loose strands that fall only add to your end style – bonus!

Formal hairstyles for short hair: front view of kate mara with wet look smoothed back hair in side parting
Wet look hair is the perfect on-trend style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

5. Kate Mara

Whether you have a pixie cut or a bob, wet-look strands are a common theme among this season’s top short formal hairstyles. Seen on the likes of Zendaya and Margot Robbie, smoothed-back, wet-look styles like Kate Mara’s are a great way to style your short tresses for a formal occasion.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: Model Laura Love at the Met Gala 2018 with bob length wavy brunette hair and embellished hair slides
Embellished hair slides are one of this season’s must-have party accessories. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

6. Laura Love

Whether it’s slogan slides or OTT embellishment, it’s all about the hair accessories this party season. We’d recommend keeping the rest of the hair soft and textured so that your statement accessories remain the focus.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: front view of lucy hale with dark brown bob length hair with headband braid
A headband braid is effortless. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

7. Lucy Hale

Braided styles work for pretty much everyone, especially short-haired ladies. So if you’re looking for formal short hairstyles with a twist, it’s time to get acquainted with braided styles, like this headband braid seen on Lucy Hale.

Perfect for keeping pesky flyaways away from your face, headband braids are a great way for adding a boho vibe to your style.

Editor’s tip: Set your braids up for success by prepping your mane with the TONI&GUY Flexible Hold Braid Balm before styling. This will give your strands more texture and grip so that your braids last longer.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: Allison Williams with dark chocolate brown, lob-length straight hair worn pushed back with a sparkly headband
When in doubt, add a sparkly headband! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

8. Allison Williams

Looking for last-minute formal hairstyles for short hair you can do in a flash? Allison Williams classy swept-back style is timeless and classic and the star headband adds an element of fun.

Formal hairstyles for short hair: front view of lily collins with brown bob in side parting with curls
Lily Collins oozes glamour. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

9. Lily Collins

Ready to up the glam factor this season? Want a style that is sure to turn heads wherever you go? Then look no further than Lily Collins’ curly bob.

Styling her brown tresses in a side parting, Lily added large bouncy curls to give her ‘do a picture-perfect finish, that has us all swooning! Discover how you can create this look at home using our vintage curls tutorial.

Editor’s tip: To nail these timeless and effortlessly-chic curls, try spritzing your mane with the VO5 Wave Creation Hairspray before and after styling, to ensure you have a look worthy of any red carpet!

Formal hairstyles for short hair: front view of emma watson with brown hair in braided updo
Braids are a short-haired girls best friend. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

10. Emma Watson

If you’re looking for a formal hairstyle for short hair that is romantic and effortless, then we adore Emma Watson’s braided crown hairstyle.

What we love most about this hairstyle is that whether you’re a braiding pro or a complete rookie, you can totally rock the look, as it doesn’t need to look too perfect. So embrace any braiding mishaps and utilise that natural texture!

Formal hairstyles for short hair: jennifer lawrence with blonde hair in wavy updo with hair accessory
Update your style with a hair accessory.

11. Jennifer Lawrence

Take your next style cue from Jennifer Lawrence and rock a bunch of fresh (or faux) flowers in an undone updo. Either wear them in a crown for a Grecian look or place them at random for a boho-chic aesthetic. There really is no wrong way to rock them!

Formal hairstyles for short hair: Red carpet photo of Emilia Clarke with platinum blonde hair in a pompadour updo
Add lift with an elegant bouffant. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

12. Emilia Clarke

Full of retro flair, Emilia’s pompadour updo is a great one for girls with a pixie cut. Quirkier than your average updo and full of volume and lift, it’ll take your cropped ‘do to whole new heights.


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