From fishtail plaits to French braids, here’s why you should be wearing the trend all year round…

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Present on autumnal catwalks, the red carpet during winter’s award season and sandy beaches throughout the summer, plaits have weaved their way into becoming one of the most perennial hair trends around.

Usually associated with the warmer seasons, they’ve undergone a revamp that has left them as a chic go-to, no matter what look you’re trying to achieve. From slouchy denim and trainers to an embroidered evening gown and heels, the plait can be easily adjusted to complement your style, and you can expect to see it firmly present throughout the chilly seasons.

Cementing their status as an all-year round ‘do, London Fashion Week’s A/W’14 shows saw braids in abundance and in many guises. From milkmaid braids and cornrows  to fishtails and French, hair stylists showcased an array of styles and proved that the possibilities are truly limitless.

Explaining the different ways braids can be worn, Ben Cooke , celebrity stylist and co-founder of Lockonego salon, says, “They can be simple or more creative, if you know how. They can be worn with the hair up or down, they can be one big plait or lots of little ones and you can use the tiniest amount of plaits just to add a little something to your everyday style.

“They can really change and add to your overall look and can suit any style and any age group. You can go for a simple side plait for every day, a halo braid for glamorous occasions or some dishevelled plaits for a rock chic look, which looks great for festivals or concerts. They make an outfit, they create a look and they can be as creative as you want them to be.”

One show that paved the way for plaits this autumn is Temperley London. Their catwalk was graced by loose and wavy plaits that tumbled down each of the models’ left shoulders. Their effortless bohemian vibe made them extremely appealing and can be easily translated into an everyday look, come rain or shine.

We also saw a lot of love for edgy cornrows at Alexander McQueen, knotted plaits at Simone Rocha and more wearable options in the form of plaited pigtails at Marc by Marc Jacobs and feminine braided buns at Dolce & Gabbana.

So when did plaits start becoming so trendy? “From an early age, many girls will remember wearing their hair in a milkmaid plait teamed with a school blazer and knee high socks! Plaits have grown up since then and get revisited and revamped nearly every season, you only have to look at the catwalks” says UK Creative Director at Sassoon, Bruce Masefiel d, who frequently lends his skilled hands behind-the-scenes at London Fashion Week.

“Whether they are wound into a ballerina style bun, pulled into cornrows or sculpted and teased into fishtails, we see plaits go from the catwalks to the streets, because they are so easy to replicate at home. For example, the braided crown that we saw this summer can afford to look dishevelled and imperfect – a great style for girls to experiment with and still look great,” says Bruce.

It’s this versatility that makes them so recurrent. By playing with different variations of braids, you can discover intricate yet easy hairdos that (deceptively) look like they required a lot of effort. Though Ben, the man responsible for Cara Delevingne’s cornrows at the Elle Style Awards, suggests considering your hair type, length and occasion before committing to a style.

This autumn, both hair stylists recommend opting for a fishtail plait . Bruce tells us why:

“A fishtail can be modern and directional, think loose and effortless –for AW14 wear it softer, sexier and slightly dishevelled"

To achieve a more modern take on the braid, aim for, what Ben calls, the ‘done, undone’ look by pulling out pieces of hair with a pintail comb as you go along.

To make it different from your summer look, Bruce suggests stopping the braid at least two inches from the end and tying it with an invisible band. Then wrap a piece of thin leather around it for an edgier finish.