Joan Smalls braids

Wind-whipped, waves and fuzzy fishtails may be a seasonal favorite, but fall’s gravitational pull toward a glossier kind of elegance—ushered in by the return of the flat iron—is turning up in a sleek new take on braids, too. Spotted at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards last night on the arm of designer (and competition winner) Paul Andrew, Joan Smalls wore her poker-straight hair woven into a trio of neat plaits at the crown for a look that married graphic polish with a hint of modern romanticism. Paired with glossy nude lips and lavender-rimmed eyes that picked up on her Stella McCartney scarf dress, it’s clear the appeal of a minimalist braid is that it lets your makeup take center stage.


Photo: Courtesy of Estée Lauder

Photo: Courtesy of Estée Lauder

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