Casual plaits are the fashion girl's hairstyle of choice right now—I'm copying these easy looks immediately

No more basic braids

Blonde woman with loose plait GettyImages-1961123362 listing
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Whatever your hair type, length or style, you’ve most likely been party to a braid or plaited hair style at some point in your life. Whether it was your childhood school look, an easy gym hair style or a simply  a way to protect your strands while you sleep, plaits have long been the go-to for low-maintenance styling, for a look that not only looks put together but delivers on practicality too. 

These days, however, the humble plait has had a resurgence, and while it definitely still delivers on the practicality front, it’s also adding another string to its bow, fast cementing itself as the cool-girl hairstyle of choice. At the SS24 shows, braids were everywhere both on and off the catwalks, and recently my FYP has been filled with twists, plaits and knotted styles in all shapes and forms. The key to pulling off the look in 2024 is to opt for looser, more relaxed braids and plaits with added details to make them feel elevated. Think scrunchies, slides and bows for added drama. 

If you’re wondering how to prep your hair for plaits, it’s useful to work with your hair’s natural texture. For the best results, ensure you detangle your hair fully to allow your fingers to easily slip through when braiding. You don’t want any pulling or snagging as this can damage your strands. For curly and Afro hair types, don’t forget hydration is key, even while your hair is plaited. And when securing, I’d always suggest a snag-proof elastic, to help minimise damage. Clear bands will be nearly unnoticeable in most hair for a sleek look.

So, now you know how to prep your plaits, you’re most likely wondering which styles are trending right now. From easy, effortless styles to more intricate designs, these are the best casual plaits to try this summer and beyond…

1. Leave it loose

Blonde woman with loose plait GettyImages-1961123362

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There’s something ultra-cool about opting for a looser, more undone plait like this. Channel the effortless vibe by weaving a loose braid, leaving enough hair out at the bottom for it to feel intentional.

2. Mix and match

Red hair woman with baby braids and plaits GettyImages-1688892054

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If you’re opting for a braided style, you don’t need to stick to one type. This look proves baby braids and more traditional chunky styles can be worn together to create a unique look.. 

3. Add some flowers

Brunette woman with plait with flowers in GettyImages-1606540718

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This season adornments come in all shapes and styles. Embrace the spring and summer feeling by weaving flowers into a loose braid (real or otherwise, both win on this occasion). 

4. Pair with space buns

Brunette woman with braids and space buns GettyImages-1816825333

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If you’re looking for a plait style to wear to your next festival, this look offers a modern twist on traditional space buns. 

5. Do the double

Blonde woman with double plaits and hair bow GettyImages-1976292727

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What’s better than one plait? Two of course. This double braid is super easy to recreate and looks like you’ve put in so much more effort.

6. Try a hair accessory

Brunette woman with red flower hair accessory and plait GettyImages-1978362111

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Hair accessories are a huge trend right now and they make the perfect pairing for a casual plaited hairstyle. Whether you opt for an oversized scrunchie, embellished slides or something fun like this floral hairband, have some fun and add some interest to your plait.

7. Embrace the tousled look

Brunette woman with loose plait with bangs GettyImages-1995698090

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If braids and plaits aren’t your forte, lean into it by opting for a messy, more tousled style like this. To create this softer look, leave a few strands free around your face before braiding your hair. Then pull on the plait for a more relaxed finish. 

8. Try hoop style

Black haired woman with twisted hoop braids GettyImages-2018780028

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Hoop style braids have been growing in popularity this season and while they may look complicated they’re actually incredibly easy to replicate. Simply plait your hair as you would normal before twisting it under itself and securing with hair grips. 

9. Knot it up

Black haired woman with knotted plaits GettyImages-2045331567

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Another plaited hairstyle that looks much more difficult than it is, this knotted style is a fun way to refresh your braids. Simply style into two plaits before twisting around each other to create a knot at the nape of the neck. Then, add hair grips to lock the look in place. 

10. Layer with lace

Brunette woman with long plait with lace GettyImages-2080588660

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to make use of any pretty ribbons or lace you have lying around? Why not try weaving it into your braid for an instant update on the classic style.

Jazzria Harris
Freelance Fashion & Beauty Writer

Jazzria Harris is a freelance fashion and beauty journalist with over 8 years experience working in the industry. At just 4ft 11, she’s an expert in petite dressing and previously wrote the column Jazz’s Short Stories giving tips and advice on dressing for petite proportions. Her wardrobe staples are a great black blazer, a hardworking slip skirt and of course a great pair of heels (for the extra inches, of course). Jazz has written for publications including ELLE UK, heat magazine, Eliza, Women & Home and more.