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A Guide to Hairstyles and Necklines

Choosing a wedding hairstyle to go with your dress is harder than you think.

Marianne Angeli Rodriguez illustrations

Picking the perfect wedding dress and deciding how to wear your hair are two important decisions you’ll make as a bride.

Here are some general rules. Nicolle Turner, who co-owns Maison de Cheveux with Penelope Gozza, says a detailed neckline needs some kind of updo so it doesn’t compete with the look. “If the gown is simple, then we use the hair to emphasize the bride’s best features; be it her eyes, lips or her décolletage,” Turner says. “You also have to remember what her hair will look like from behind and whether it needs to work with a low-cut back design or lots of detailing.”

Liz Duboue, owner and stylist at The Doll House Salon, says the simpler the dress the more she can do with the hair. “If a bride is wearing a dress with sleeves, a high neck or lots of detail,” Duboue says, “then we need to figure out how the hair can help complement the design and enhance the overall look of the bride.”

If you’re still confused about what look you should be wearing with your dress, here’s a primer for the best hairstyle matches for the most popular wedding dress necklines.

The Strapless Dress
Still the most popular choice for brides, the strapless dress offers maximum flexibility with hair. If a bride really wants to show her collar bone, décolletage and shoulders, a pretty, soft updo or side bun will be the perfect way to do this. However, if she wants to break up the uncovered skin, soft curls or a messy side pony will do the job beautifully, while still showcasing the dress and the bride to the best advantage.

The Halter or High Neck
The important thing to remember about a halter or high neck is that it covers up your neckline, so an updo that takes your hair off your shoulders is the best way to go. Hair that falls on the dress will only compete with it and the look will become too busy. A high tidy bun, however, will enhance the lengthening nature of this sophisticated neckline.

One-Shoulder/Asymmetrical Twist
Another newer style, an off-center chignon or side pony with soft loose curls will balance a one-shoulder look out and retain the modern and sensual feel of the dress.

The Illusion
An illusion dress that has sheer fabric from the bust to the shoulder or collar offers some options. If the fabric features beading or detail, a full updo will allow the design to be appreciated. If the fabric is sheer, a half updo or some soft cascading curls will enhance the feminine, romantic essence of this style.

The Scoop
Many scoop necklines also feature a design on the bodice so you don’t want a lot of hair to compete with it. Many brides like to accent the curve of the neckline with a braid used as a headband. A soft curl shoulder length look, a faux bob or an updo with falling curls also work well.

Bateau
This kind of neckline sits right at or slightly above the collarbone. As this style “crowns” the neck, an updo will keep the eye focused on the neck and face. A stylish chignon or bouffant will add to the lengthening and demure look of this choice.

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