The plait was back with a vengeance in 2010, so much so that if formed the basis for the year’s ‘it’ hairstyle: the side braid. Hair trends can last only so long, however, and so it is that the side braid is now a nice option as opposed to being a trend in its own right. Yet we at are still fascinated with the braid and with the beauty its structure holds. So with summer 2011 happening in some parts of the world and autumn / fall 2011’s fashions on the horizons we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the other plaited and braided hairstyles which are fresh, effortless, and simple to create.

Here’s one of those styles that comes straight from an autumn / winter 2011 / 2012 catwalk. One whose ‘how to’ guide you can experiment with and add to your repertoire of 2011 hairstyles. Seen on the runway at Nanette Lepore’s showing, this half up style with two braids works for either long hair, or a longish bob.

Read on to find out more about the hairstyle and to be taken through a how to. And don’t forget that to subscribe to’s newsletter or RSS feed if you’d like to keep up to date with all of the latest hair and fashion trends and inspiration on how to wear them.

half up braided hair

Hair products you’ll need

To style the half up and braided hairstyle you’ll need to have on hand some styling product (preferably a mousse and a hairspray), a hair straightener or curling wand, a comb, and a handful of bobby pins.

How to style half up braided hair

One of the keys to styling the half up braided hairstyle is to create both volume and texture. You know your hair best, so we won’t go into great detail on this step, suffice to say that:

  • if you have fine hair you should apply a styling mousse while your hair is damp. While drying it pull the roots forwards
  • if you have thick hair and / or aren’t in need of don’t need of extra volume then spray your hair with hairspray to give it hold
Next get out your heat styler of choice (a ghd ceramic straightener works well, or a curling wand) and create some gentle waves all around the head. These only need to be very loose waves. If your hair is naturally curly rather than starting with straight hair just dry it to be 3/4 straight, leaving in some of your natural texture and curl.
You should now have a head of lightly tousled, textured waves. Make the texture more akin to bed hair by teasing or back-combing the hair at the crown with a comb, but only a small amount – you can see from both the photos that this is a braided hairstyle that is more about texture then it is about volume
You’ll need the bottom half of your hair flowing free and the top half parted into two sections. Begin by separating the top two sections with a deep side part – the side of your hair that you choose to part is up to you and will most likely work best if you select to part your hair as it naturally falls. Next, take the larger of the two top sections and create a French braid along the head at a diagonal angle (e.g. from the part-line on the right side of the head back towards the left ear). Don’t keep the braid too close to the head – remember it’s meant to be a little textured and messy.
The braid should only reach about half way down the head, with the rest of the hair hanging loose. After you’ve braided your hair half way down, secure the end of the braid with several bobby pins, crossing them over to ensure they stay in place. Repeat with another French braid on the other side of the head, using up the smaller top section of hair.
You should now have a half up hairstyle with two braids along the top section. If it’s looking too neat, tousle up the braids with the fingers to loosen the whole look up and give it that effortlessly free-spirited feel. When you’re happy with the style give the whole head a light spray with some hairspray to keep it in place.

two braids half up hairstyle
A front view of a half up, two braids hairstyle on the catwalk.

What to wear with the half up braided hairstyle

It goes without saying that you could wear this double braid hairstyle with a wide variety of clothing styles and looks ranging from the very classic (a la Lepore) to the modern. It can lean to sporty, tomboy cool if worn with pared back makeup. Exaggerate the hairstyle’s texture for a look that’s straight off the beaches of summer, or cosy it up with autumnal furs and knits for autumn / winter.

But where the half up braided hairstyle really comes into its element is when you drape it in the gauzy layers of spring’s 70s flower-child chic fashions, and rock it with careless abandon.

Other styles

For more hairstyles for 2011 going into 2012 you can also read our full 2011 hair trends guide via that link. You can also browse through our full hair blog for more styles and tutorials.

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