Runway to Real Way: Ponytail Inspiration

Rachel Nussbaum
Runway to Real Way: Ponytail Inspiration
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Looking through the Fall 2013 ready-to-wear shows, we have officially been put to shame. Ponytails are usually our go-to on bad hair days, so they inevitably range from frizzy to an apocalypse occurring directly behind our head. Not precisely sophisticated, you could say.

The runways, on the other hand, were full of sleek and utterly smooth-talking ponies, from the rare high and bouncy one to the much more frequent grungy, low and mussed takes. “Clean grunge” is a bit of an oxymoron, but designers took the bones of the look and fleshed it out with a more polished, modern perspective, like they picked and chose what would work now from what was big then. We’d call revisionism, but hey, for once we’re entirely onboard.

To keep it current, most designers avoided going too scruffy, instead using tightly off-center or no parts to make their point. Paired with a bare-makeup look and matte, matte skin, this is the best “low-maintenance” look we’ve seen in awhile, and enough to make us consider wrangling our curly hair into a blowout. And that’s the best part–low ponies look best on second-day straight or lightly textured hair, so while the more textured among us may have to do some prep work, at least it’ll last. It’s happened: our “low-maintenance” look has been more of a no-maintenance thing in the past, but these looks are inspiring us to make an tailed effort. Given the biggest decision is elastic placement, we’re just about ready to commit.

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The look at Céline was tight and smooth, but also volumized. While it's usually impossible to do the two at once, try faking it--make like you're going for Bardot volume, but run a wax or pomade over it at the last minute to add shine and the slightly damped-down look.

Our dream pony was at Hussein Chalayan, and for once it wasn't a palomino. Side-parted but volumized and low, we never expected the three adjectives to look so good together. Just call us the grateful wrong--this blends the unexpected elements together for a polished but fresh look.

Victoria Beckham's take was low and loose, with tons of shine and thickness. Blow dry as per usual then loosely gather it in an elastic at your neck, but be careful not to mess with the body too much. Use hairspray liberally.

Michael Kors is known for his Americana aesthetic, and while it might not have been exactly what he was thinking of, we see tons of our old basketball ponytail in this. The basketball may not have worked out, but those days are finally paying off. Pull hair back tightly at the sides, leaving the top a bit looser, and run some serum down the tail for added shine.

On the other hand, Donna Karan was feeling more medieval. We wouldn't necessarily endorse this as an everday look, but switch the cloth for a bright, sheer scarf for an accessible, feminine take.

The pony at Anna Sui was bouncy, high and almost bun-like, thanks to curled-under ends. We're pretty sure this look was made with magic, but for a similar 'do, blow out hair with curved-under ends and then gather it up into a ponytail.

Bang-ladies, this one's for you. The pony at Antonio Marras was side-parted with a defiantly-short fringe, but it would work with longer bang lengths as well. The side theme continues down the body; bring it around town, so to speak, to soften the look up.

Chloé's take was more bohemian, with a seriously deep side-part and carefully gelled strands. Flashback to school picture day: you should probably use a comb with this one.

If you're looking for the ultimate uptown-girl pony, Stella McCartney has it down. With a mix between side-parted and pulled-back, her girl's smooth, careful pony is practically picking out a brunch spot.

Jil Sander's androgynous pony was low and tight just below the crown, and pairs fantastically with lady-like looks. The key here is to get gelled up--without the mirror-like shine, it'd be easy to just look greasy.

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