It’s not an understatement to say that the hair trend of late has been braided hair, with 2010’s side braid having captured the imagination of the fashion forwards before it had even left the catwalk.
Such demand for a single hairstyle inevitably sent fashionisers looking for variations on the theme, and it’s fair to say that braided hairstyles will be with us for sometime yet. Which brings us to another interpretation of the larger trend: the braided top knot.
Born on Sass & Bide’s spring 2011 catwalk it’s a style that has all the hallmarks of a hair trend in the making: it’s detailed, it has a messy factor that is imbued with a too-cool-to-care attitude, you can style it yourself and, simply put, it turns heads.
Read on to find out more about this hairstyle that is emerging as one of 2011’s hair trends.
The topknot in general has had quite a runway presence in the past few seasons; from sleek, high versions to messier birds-nest takes. Then, in their spring 2011 showing, Australian label Sass & Bide added two braided cornrows to theirs, complimenting their tribal-inspired collection. Other runway examples for spring 2011 included Eva Minge, whose models sported braids at the front of the head, working backwards into a neater top bun.
For our instructions we’ve opted to focus on a style similar to Sass & Bide’s only simplified with a single braid, thus making it easier for you to style yourself, and with an added emphasis on a texture plait.
As we’ve found with other 2011 hairstyles, such as the double hair knot, a simplified ‘how to’ doesn’t always give you, our dear fashioniser, the result you desire. So when it came to putting together a how to guide for the braided top knot we enlisted the help of an expert on all things hair, Melbourne stylist Annika, and paired her with Scene Models’ Taylah Verney.
The ‘how to’ steps for a plaited / braided top knot are as follows:
Ensure that you have textured hair and, more obviously, that it’s long enough to braid.
The top knot, and the braided / plaited form of it, is all about texture in 2011 – something that’s in stark contrast to the soft refinement the top knot has been more likely to be worn with.
To style the braided top knot on Taylah we began by working a spray-in mousse through her hair and working it through to allow her natural waves to dominate.
Note: If your hair is dead straight or very fine, don’t be afraid to use ample amounts of mousse; work it through the hair and then blast it with a blow-dryer while scrunching the hair in your hands to create texture. If the hair is still too straight for your liking, use a hair straightener or styler (for example, ghd’s salon styler) to create some messy waves throughout the hair. Glide the styler along from the roots to the ends while rotating it about 180 degrees to create waves.
Tilt your head forwards.
As of step three you’re going to begin braiding, and you’re going to find it easier to achieve if your head is upside down – your arms won’t get as tired from the process, and you’ll find it easier to hold your hair.
Starting at the nape of your neck start braiding, with the braid travelling in the direction of the top of your head.
Notice that the braid here is raised. A regular (or ‘French’) braid sits flat to the head, but the raised (called an ‘inverted French braid’ or a ‘Dutch braid’) is much more effective for the braided topknot style. To create a Dutch braid each added strand of hair needs to be woven under instead of over the other strands.
Continue braiding until you get to your forehead’s hair line.
You should now have a braid that runs up the back of your head with an end that sits atop your head. If you need to you can tie the end with a hair elastic. Once you’re more experienced you’ll be able to hold it with your hands.
Add in extra texture and more of a casual feeling, as desired, by gently pulling at the plait section of the braids.
Grab the end of the braid that sits atop your head and twist it into a small bun / knot. Mould it into a shape as neat or messy as you like, remembering that this style works well with plenty of texture and doesn’t need to be too polished.
Secure the bun / top knot in place with bobby pins selectively placed at its base.
Finally, finish with some hairspray to hold the style in place.
And that’s it: you now have a textured, single-braided topknot.
For further instructions on creating a double-braided topknot, see below.
You’ll note that in the above how-to instructions we’ve looked at a single braid with a top knot, in comparison, however, Sass & Bide‘s catwalk featured two braids.
Though more challenging then a single braid, we do also have instructions on how to achieve the top knot with two braids which you can read by following the link.
beyond the topknot: other trends
The braided top knot might be amongst the most visually striking and appealing, but it’s not the only 2011 hairstyle trend.
Follow that link to find out more about the year’s hair trends, and if you liked this article on 2011’s top knot (and are a user of Facebook) please let us know by clicking ‘like’ below or leaving a comment.