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French Plait: Style of a Generation

06 May

When I was younger, there was only one hairstyle I wanted to rock. It wasn’t the ‘Rachel’ cut (although I did get that years later) or the pixie crop and gorgeous as it was, it wasn’t even Bardot’s tousled beehive. Instead it was… the French plait! That’s right, the super simple, humble French plait was the hairstyle du jour pour moi back in the day. Almost every girl in my class came to school at one point or another with their hair braided from their hairline right down to the ends of their hair. The intricate woven design that ran down the middle of their head always looked very impressive to me and it was very much the trend back in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

The traditional French Plait

The traditional French Plait

Sadly I wasn’t a member of the French Plait brigade. Why? Because I couldn’t do one to save my life! To be honest I’ve always been quite rubbish when it came to doing hair – even now. I always just tied back the top section of my hair; wore my hair in a simple low slung ponytail; or if I was feeling more adventurous, a French pony which was a lot more easier to accomplish than the fiddly plait. I only ever attempted the French plait once in my life. It was incredibly messy but I was pleased that I had had the patience to persevere in order to achieve the weird, haphazard creation on my head.

The French Pony

The French Pony

One of the reasons why I loved the French plait – apart from the fact that it was very much en vogue at the time – was because it was so neat and sophisticated. Girls who wore their hair in such a style looked very well groomed and elegant. Teenage girls back in the early 1990s weren’t necessarily into elegant and sophisticated (certainly not any of the teenage girls from my neck of the woods anyway) but I thought it would make me feel very worldly and grown up. Thankfully, I had an aunt who would always French plait my hair whenever I stayed with her and I just as expected – I LOVED it!

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However, I have noticed that the more traditional style French plait isn’t quite so common now among girls of any age. It was seeing a young woman in a café recently with her hair in a French plait that reminded me of my school days and made me realise that it’s not as fashionable as it used to be for everyday wear. The only other time I see it worn is during Oktoberfest!

Side French Plait

Side French Plait


That’s not to say that the French plait is dead and buried. It would appear that it has undergone something of a transformation and the new 21st century plait can be worn on the side; across the front of the head. You can even French plait your fringe. Unfortunately, I’m still boring when it comes to hair but let’s see how I fare with the new style braids!

Plaited fringe courtesy of Ms. Aniston!

Plaited fringe courtesy of Ms. Aniston!

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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in The Way We Wore

 

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