Braids, for me, often conjure up images of sunny festivals, flower crowns, sundresses, and iced tea on a porch (apparently they make me think I'm from North Carolina, go figure). However, in the last few weeks, it seems like everyone from Kim Kardashian, to Hailey Baldwin, to Herve Leger has jumped on the braids trend.
The difference between Kim's boxer braids and the wispy, loose braided headbands from Coachellas of yore is twofold: first, the braids Kim and the NYFW16 models have been rocking are decidedly harder and bolder, and second, they are noticeably seasonally incongruous. Braids, despite Elsa's best attempts, have always seemed decidedly summery to me, but because of how much I love them (see: my previously referenced insistence on wearing them on all long-haul flights, I decided to enlist the help of Halli Bivona, John Barrett Braid Bar stylist-extraordinaire, to show me how I could actually rock bold braids in brutal winter weather.
I was always a huge braids devotee against all odds (I still argue that it is perfectly acceptable for a 27-year-old woman to wear pigtail braids any time that she wants). Thus, I was thrilled to discover how uniquely suited they are for winter weather. Braids, despite their normal association with the hot, hot heat of summer, are actually perfect for the cold. With braids, you immediately avoid many of the pitfalls associated with having long hair in the icy cold.
When you’re wearing coats and scarves, you avoid super static. When you’re constantly out in the cold, you avoid weather-related breakage and split ends, and when you’re wearing your favorite black beanie or fur hat, you avoid the dreaded, dreaded hat hair. For me, someone who legitimately used to cry when I experienced the sensation of static as a young child (true story), these braid advantages are godsends.
Here are Halli’s six best braids for when the weather is cold in 2016.
Deconstructed Crown Braid
Starting off slowly, Halli gave me a crown braid à la Herve Leger, but left it purposely deconstructed to soften the edges and ease me into my winter braided look. This braid is infinitely wearable, and would work anywhere from the office to the gym to the bar.
Dutch Side Braid
Dutch braids, or reverse French braids, are the harsher, harder cousins of their French counterparts. In order to give me a singular Dutch braid with a twist, Halli started at my left temple and braided a Dutch braid diagonally across the back of my head, ending in a clean side braid.
Crossed Dutch Pigtails or “Kardashian Boxer Braids”
Taking the Dutch braid to the next level, Halli created a twist on the Dutch boxer braids that Kim has been rocking recently by having them cross over in the back. The had the added effect of keeping my hair tight around my entire hairline, adding to the geometric, intense nature of the braids.
Basket-Weave Dutch Braid or “Modern Elsa”
After this, Halli took the Kardashian winter Dutch braids to the next level, adding in a dose of an icy fantasy world to create an Elsa-esque twist on the Kardashian look. She started with three Dutch braids on the left side of my head, but then slowly basket wove them together into a side braid. I was a modern, Kardashian-level, fairy snow princess, and I was loving the look.
Braided Bun Faux-Hawk
Changing gears, to showcase a more alternative braided hairstyle specifically for the winter, Halli created a braided rendition of a faux-hawk. She braided two looped buns by severely sectioning off the middle of my hair, and I was left with a space-inspired faux-hawk that would have made Star Wars’s Rey jealous. This look could be made even more extreme with the addition of one to two more braided looped buns.
Lastly, continuing with the space rockstar angle, Halli showed me her winterized version of the classic Coachella half-ponytail braid. With a teased pompadour, this braid definitely deviates from the normal half-pony tail, and adds some edgy realness to the braided look.
Would you attempt any of these braided looks on yourself at home? Better yet, which one of these looks do you want to see the xoJane staff attempt on each other, today at 5:30 PM, on Facebook Live?