Match your tresses with your dresses: Choosing the perfect 'do

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Picking a hairstyle

When you're going to a party, wedding or other special event, you should always consider what dress you will be wearing when choosing your hairstyle. Therefore, it's essential to select your dress early, so you'll have plenty of time to pick the perfect 'do.
Woman shopping for dress

Find a balance

It's imporatant to keep your dress in mind when choosing your hairstyle. If your dress or gown is elaborate, then you'll want a 'do that's more subtle. You want to showcase your dress and you don't want your look to be overwhelming.

"I feel strongly that the hair is an accessory to your dress," says master stylist David John of the ultra-chic Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles. "It shouldn't take away from, but show off the best features of you and your dress. If you have a lot going on with pattern and accessories, you need to keep the hair simple."

On the flipside, if your dress is simple, the right hairstyle can dress it up and you can have more leeway with what you do with your hair.

Consider the neckline

"If you have a low-cut or backless dress and want to show off your back (or front), wear your hair up," says John. "Hair also tends to look better with high necklines or collars if it is worn up."

With a strapless dress, you can go either way. Some women like to partner a strapless dress with a sparkling statement necklace. In this case, pulling your hair into an updo will highlight your jewelry and your neck. If you feel more comfortable when you're not baring so much skin, you can wear your hair down with a strapless dress. With an off-the-shoulder gown, a half-up, half-down hairstyle may fit the bill.

"Wearing hair down gives a softer look," John says. "I'm also a firm believer that you have to feel comfortable with how you look, so if it makes you feel better, wear it down!"

Vintage or modern?

You should also wear a hairstyle that matches the style or era of your dress. For example, a vintage gown looks amazing with a French braid, 1920s pin curls or a 1940s updo. A lacy, romantic dress would look fabulous with a braided halo updo -- or soft waves if you want to wear your hair down. With a modern gown with sharp lines and unique textures, consider an ultra-sleek ponytail with a strong part or stick-straight hair with blunt bangs.

Do a trial run

For important events, from weddings to holiday parties to special dates, you should always do a trial run with your hair, makeup and your dress. A few weeks before the event, put on your dress and style your hair as you plan to wear it. If you don't like what you see, you still have plenty of time to change your 'do before your big night out.

Quick tip

For your trial run, invite a friend over to take a few pictures of your look. You want to know how your hair looks with your dress not just from the front, but from the back and every other angle.

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