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16 Fancy Formal Hairstyles That Are Perfect for Special Occasions


Weddings, proms, anniversaries, promotions, holiday parties, graduations—all these special occasions call for a well-curated ensemble, complete with a jaw-dropping formal hairstyle!

Maybe you’ve got your entire look planned, down to your nail design, but you still can’t decide how to style your locks. We’re not surprised by the many options thrown at you by the internet! It isn’t easy to narrow things down when there’s so much to choose from. Worry not! We’ve got you covered.

Below are some of our favorite formal hairstyles for each type of hair.  

Short Hair 

The Wet-But-Clean Look 

If you need to head out the door in a few minutes but still want to stun everyone around you with a simple yet elegant hairstyle, go for the wet look! You must dampen your hair and slick it back, down, and behind your ears. Then, you can secure things with a bit of gel. It’s easy, simple, and foolproof ‘to do! 

Add A Bit of Volume 

Adding volume to short hair is one of the simplest ways to add a bit of oomph to your entire ensemble. If you’ve got a little length on top, a few expertly placed curls and a little hairspray can completely change the game. So turn on the curling iron or apply some rollers to your crown! Once done, release it, spray it, and flaunt it!

Braid It! 

You have a wide range of hairstyles if your hair is neck- or shoulder-length. One way to get praise all night long is wearing your hair in a waterfall braid because it’s formal and fun.

If your hair isn’t naturally curly or wavy, you might want to use hot rollers or heat tools to add curls. This will also help the braid maintain its shape.


If in doubt, accessorize! Go for a statement piece like a dainty crown or a chunky headband. You can also wear something more subdued, like adding a few clips on both sides. 

Medium Hair 

A Simple Temple Twist 

Have a few stray hairs that won’t behave? Nothing to worry about at all! Simply take a portion of your hair around the temple, twist it several times around your fingers, and secure it with a barrette or a French hairpin. Then, you can curl the rest of your hair into a messy bun or tousle it.

Half-Up, Half-Down 

It’s simple. It’s stunning. It’s super easy to do! You can go with a topknot, space buns, or a half ponytail. Style your Hairstyles like you usually do, then pull the top half of it up loosely. Don’t forget to secure everything in place with a cute hairpin! Add a dash of sass to this look with a texturizing spray to create soft, beachy waves.

Stay Classy With A Chignon 

Whether you like it polished, swept back, or messy, a chignon is always classy, regardless of how you do it. With some styling, you can look like you stepped out of the 50s at a Gatsby-themed party. Attending a rustic wedding? Add a few flower hair embellishments, and you’ll feel at home.

Curl It, Wave It  

 Prom nights and gala events are the perfect occasions to stand out. So let your hair down and style it with big, bouncy waves or curls! They’re the ideal addition to your mermaid dress or backless dress. 

Long Hair 

Slick It Back 

Going for a sexy yet still formal look? Try a slicked-back hairstyle! With the length of your hair, this edgy look will stay feminine. For this chic, sleek look, apply a small amount of hair gel to your roots and comb your hair back. This ‘do look fantastic with an angular or high-contrast outfit. It strikes the ideal balance between sharp and soft.

Do The Half Updo

Half updos are every long-haired girl’s go-to since they’re super easy to pull off, and they go with any outfit, especially sweetheart neckline dresses! This particular hairstyle is effortless to notch up or down. Add a touch of glamor to this ‘do by loosely curling your hair before styling it. 

Hold It Up High! 

A bold and sleek high ponytail never disappoints! It’s one of the best and easiest hairstyles for any formal event. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Comb through your hair and apply some heat-protectant spray
  2. Add some swagger by straightening your hair with a straightening iron
  3. Gather all of it at the back and tie it up with a bungee elastic

Let Loose 

When all else fails, go for some sexy loose waves! It’s a classic style, but if you want to change it up, you can curl each section of hair away from your face for a uniform look. You can also switch directions with each section for something more natural. 

Natural Hair

Braids and Buns 

How about stylish and simple updo hairstyles for natural hair for a look that is every bit as amazing as you are? You could easily create a piled-high bun with plenty of attitudes using braids and twists. Add some face-framing braids to make a sort of halo around the face.

Edgy Frohawk 

It’s funky. It’s trendy. It’s also a very sophisticated look! You can play around with this style by parting or sectioning the hair at the sides with twists or braids and adding embellishments such as elegant clips, or you can sweep it up and pin it so that the hair sits softly in the middle. Pro tip: put your hair in Bantu knots the night before for a spiraled and voluminous hawk the next day! 

Simple Flat Twist 

Flat twists are your best friend if you find braids difficult or prefer a two-stranded style. If you want an updo, sweep it into a low bun. But if you wish for a princess-like look, let them cascade down your back. The process can be done in under an hour if your twists are large. It’s easy and perfect for days when you’ve got to prepare quickly! 

Side-Swept Stunner 

One of the shortest hairstyles you can do with natural hair is to leave it down. But this can be a little too simple, so spruce your look by sweeping your hair to the side and securing a section with pins or a large statement clip.

Your Hair, Your Crowning Glory 

Your hairstyle completes your look for the wedding, party, prom, or event you’re attending. You’ll knock everyone’s socks off with the right hairstyle and confidence!