Chris Eckert/Studio D
"To give shape to this style and add a modern twist," says our hairstylist, Sokphalla Ban, "use a curling iron to put in some soft, tousled waves not ringlets, which can leave you looking childish." Make sure to alternate the direction of the curls: one section curled in, one section curled out. Do this to all your hair. "This is going to give a really natural, organic look," Sokphalla says.
Before you curl each section, spray a medium- or flexible-hold hairspray about 6 inches away from the hair to help hold the waves.
Use a 2-inch barrel curling iron. Anything bigger will just give you a bump in your hair, and anything smaller will be too curly. "A 2-inch curling iron gives a really natural wave that's the perfect size," Sokphalla says.
She also notes that it's important to section hair as you go. "Otherwise, you may miss a piece and end up with random straight sections of hair."
Because the top section of the hair is going to be pulled back, you don't have to curl your hair to the roots. Start in the middle and wrap the hair around the curling iron rather than putting it through the clamp. This will give it a smooth, consistent wave. "It also allows it to look more tousled and natural," Sokphalla says, "and the clamp can leave a dent in the hair, which you especially don't want if you're getting lots of photos taken."
Go with your natural part: Pull your hair back and blend the waves blend together by brushing them out a bit. "The modern part of this hairstyle comes from the looseness of the curls," Sokphalla says. "It gives a soft, romantic feel to an otherwise classic style. Leave the top portion smooth, because if you have it all in curls, it will feel too romantic, too soft for the elegant, traditional feeling you're going for.
"When doing a half-up, half-down hairstyle," Sokphalla continues, "I feel like the amount of hair you pull back is what makes it glamorous and traditional; leaving too much free can make it look more casual, so be sure to pull back a good amount of hair."
Once you figure out the placement of the hair, use a clear rubber band and tie it back. To give it a more finished touch, Sokphalla suggests hiding the hair band. Do this by taking a little section of your hair from the ponytail and use your finger to create a tiny loop at the end through which you'll place a bobby pin the loop will help hold the bobby pin in place all day (you can secure the loop by wrapping another clear rubber band around it). You can then wrap that section of hair around the ponytail and pin it in place underneath.
Finish the look by spraying the flyaways with hair spray and creating some height by adjusting the top ponytail section. You might also want to reinforce some curls in areas that need it.
If you're trying this look yourself, remember these tips:
If you have thin hair, use a thickening spray to help hold the waves. (We recommend Bumble and bumble thickening hairspray, $25.)
To maintain hold throughout day, it's good to touch up with hair spray every so often, although the frequency "depends on the weather and the texture of the day," says Sokphalla. She recommends touching up right after the ceremony and just before the reception. "That way, you feel revived right before your party." (We recommend Sebastian Shaper Zero Gravity, $21.50.)