When it comes to hair styles, it’s easy to spot the not-so-classic, dated ’dos that certainly don’t make the cut for any occasion — the mullet is a prime, albeit highly picked-on, example.
But, what of the classic hair styles that do make the cut? Below we have 12 looks that aren’t only timeless, they’ll also fit in no matter where you’re headed — from the beach to the boardroom.
1. Low bun
While the traditional ballerina bun is one thing, far more classic for any occasion is a lower slung up-do that’s perfect in its simplicity. Whether it’s neatly wrapped, or a more relaxed, braided twist, the look is effortlessly chic. Plus, it’s perfect for those days that take you from the gym to the office to the cocktail party with no time for a blow-out in between.
2. Sleek ponytail
If you only reserve the ponytail for the gym, then it’s time to reconsider this classic hair style. Sure, it’s ideal for logging the miles or putting in work at that Pilates class. But the ponytail goes way further. The timeless classic is way more than a dull, standard-issue ’do, and it suits any occasion and every outfit, from a glamorous gown to jeans and a tee. The main thing to remember is that with more formal settings, the sleeker the ponytail, the better. Leave the messy fly-aways for running the track — or errands.
3. Side braid
If your locks are on the longer side, you’re in luck; you can take full advantage of the side braid as a fresh, new way to style those strands. Braids have a youthful flair, which adds a flirty, feminine note to any occasion. Whether you wear a purposefully messy braid for your off-duty weekend fun or sizzle with a sassier, fishtail style for a fancy fête, the side braid is a go-to ’do when you want your hair pulled back but still framing your face. It’s also tailor-made for those asymmetric, one-shoulder dresses.
4. Bombshell waves
They may be called bombshell waves, as this happens to be a popular style among Victoria’s Secret models and screen sirens. But, really, the look is simply a celebration of voluminous, loose curls that are at once sexy and sophisticated — and entirely classic. Whether you’re off-duty casual or dressed to impress, these waves will turn up the beautifully sultry volume on any look.
This go-to up-do has stood the test of time; it’s just as relevant today as it was when first worn by the glamorous elite of old Hollywood. We love the look because it’s a bit more romantic and free-flowing than that low bun while still maintaining an aura of prestigious formality. You’ll be most apt to wear a chignon for a black-tie occasion, but its reach extends to cocktail parties, pretty brunch dates, and more. For the ultimate effortlessly modern look that’s not too formal, let a few curled tendrils of hair spill out from the tousled twist to frame your face.
6. Retro curls
If you’ve seen films from the ’40s, you’ve likely witnessed the unequivocal elegance of retro curls. Also called pin curls, or the Marcel wave, the look oozes old Hollywood glamour and maintains a modern edge, no matter the era. While this glossy, classic look does have a more formal feel, those glossy, set curls can also be relaxed. Big roller-set waves, brushed out a bit, will achieve more movement and casual flair.
Despite its shorter length, the lob — long bob — is incredibly versatile and it’s one of the most popular ’dos on the block. We love it because it’s not quite as short as the bob, meaning it doesn’t limit your styling too much. The look can be worn wavy, straight, or layered to shape the face. And no matter which way you wear it, it adds a fresh, modern spin to any occasion.
A closely cropped pixie style may not seem so versatile, but the short ’do has pervaded many eras with its adorable, chic relevance. When masterfully chopped to highlight your unique facial features, the cool cut can suit nearly anyone. Plus, it’s basically no muss, no fuss, making it perfect for any occasion.
9. Straight with a center part
Straight, center-parted strands are nothing short of a timeless classic. It’s the sleek edge that provides such a sharp modernity to any occasion. And it’s especially convenient for those of us who simply cannot be bothered with any sort of hair styling complexity. A flat iron and a glossy finishing spray is all you need to achieve the look.
10. Blunt bangs
The thing about cutting bangs is you want to make sure they’re well-suited to any occasion, because they’re not exactly the easiest look to change in an instant. But, have no fear, a fringe across the forehead is a surefire way to increase the cool appeal of your ’do while still maintaining a sense of classic allure. From a thick rim of blunt bangs to side-swept endeavors, the face-framing look is here to stay. Just remember, those fluffy, teased bangs of the past have no place here.
11. Tousled waves
It’s boho, beachy, or bedhead — depending on who you ask. But no matter how you classify the style, tousled waves have a unique place among hair styles in that they aren’t an actual style — they’re a glorified version of a messy mane. But, that’s why the look is so classic. It requires little to no fuss because, after all, it takes inspiration from slumber-influenced strands or a girl who constantly hangs around the beach.
Even without a deep sleep or the beach, it’s pretty easy to achieve this look. Simply mist texturizing or sea salt spray through damp hair, and let your hair air dry. A diffuser will also do the trick.
This is hair style that’s made all the blow-out bars so popular. While it really is just a sleek, body-boosted style that can be straight or wavy, it’s deceptively hard to achieve such sheer genius on your own. But in the hands of a mane-taming professional, the volume-boosted blowout can make you feel like a new woman who’s flipping her hair at every turn. Its classic versatility has made nearly everyone who’s experienced the perfect, salon-primped blow-out wish to wear it every single day.