Now that we’re knee-deep into the dog days of summer, it’s easy to put grown-up glamour to the wayside (#loosehairdontcare). But although awards and red-carpet season has come and gone, we still look to these glam events for dazzling beauty inspiration, especially when it comes to copping hairstyles for formal occasions. Call us suckers for a good updo—and in this weather, that’s a hard yes—but there’s always a time to dress up to the nines and look your best.
Maybe it’s a graduation party, your cousin’s bachelorette, a swanky Friday night date or your college roommate’s wedding (because there’s always a wedding). Whatever the red-letter occasion is, it calls for hair that wows, full stop. Read on for some dazzling, red carpet-inspired looks that will have you set to stun:
9 Glam Hairstyles for Formal Occasions
1. Vintage curls
Maybe it’s a nod to their superglam foremothers, but several Hollywood A-listers have been sporting Jheri curls and pin waves as their ’do of choice. This vintage look is making a renaissance, as retro-inspired hairstyles have been reaching a fever pitch in the industry. It’s also a wildly flattering look and a refreshing break from other longer hairstyles, and puts the spotlight on classic features, luminescent skin and rosebud lips.
2. Tousled waves
The big sister to the chunky, messy lob, tousled waves for evening look fresh, fun and very urbane. This hairstyle complements almost all face shapes, and, more relevantly, is one of those hairdos that look better as the night wears on. Part hair the middle or slightly off-center and pair with your most buttoned-up formal outfits for a nice little contrast.
3. Stick-straight hair
There’s something to be said about hair that’s perfectly in place. Be the envy of frizzy gals everywhere with immaculately straight, shiny, expensive-looking locks—but make sure your color is flawless though, as mistakes have nowhere to hide here. Dry in a downwards motion to seal down the cuticle and make hair more light-reflective, and get ready for the jealous stares.
4. Side-parted with glitter roots
Chic-ify that off-the-moment viral trend by keeping things minimal. A strip of glitter on a sharp side part elevates what’s already considered one of the most timelessly sexy hairstyles for formal occasions. Choose a glitter color close to your hair undertone for a truly complementary effect: Cool ashes can go for silvers, blues, purples and pinks, and warm honeys and caramels can try golds, oranges, reds and greens.
5. Slicked-back hair
Fulfill all those ’90s video vixen dreams and slick your hair straight back at your next formal event with some high-shine gel or pomade. Wearing your hair away from your face gives an instant shot of confidence (not to mention puts the focus on your features), which makes this look perfect for times when you need to make an entrance, like club openings, an ex’s wedding (because SLAY!) or a power-networking event.
6. Ingénue bob
What do most Manic Pixie Dream Girls in the movies have in common? Some version of a quirky short hairstyle with an irresistibly charming micro fringe. We never really saw this trend trickling down, but are thankful that the baby bang has hit the mainstream—nothing lightens up a bob (and a beautiful dress) more than a slightly unconventional, not-so-serious bang that puts those sparkling doe eyes front and center. Wear at social events or whenever you want to take your flirtationship with your soon-to-be-summer fling to the next level.
7. Old-school waves
No list would be complete without giant, molten, screen siren curls. Popular during the Golden Age of Hollywood for its unapologetically glamorous feel, this look is hallmarked by shiny, uniform barrels worn with a cascading side part and is usually swept over one shoulder (the better to seduce with my décolleté and fur, my dear). High tea with the ladies, or meeting the future mother-in-law over brunch? Nailed it.
8.Tiny Dutch pigtails
Turn the inherent street cred of this cool, über-trendy look into something sleeker by wearing them microsized on the scalp (as opposed to thick, banana-like bumps). Small, thin Dutch braids worn on each side of the head and secured in a bun or pigtails, are the It Girl’s hairflip answer to stuffy black-tie situations. And, oh yeah, they look majorly directional with strapless gowns.
9. Diva ponytail
Anything worn high on the head, crown-like, depicts a sort of regality. For times your outfit/occasion warrants nothing short of perfection, i.e. your wedding, your best friend’s wedding, an evening garden party or even on sultry summer date nights by the boardwalk, a high pony keeps you looking put-together without sacrificing an ounce of style.
Which of these hairstyles for formal occasions are you going to try?