When to Wear an Updo or Let Your Hair Down - TELETIES

When to Wear an Updo or Let Your Hair Down

Stuck between wearing an updo or letting your hair down?  No problem, we got you covered.  There’s a few rules of thumb to follow depending on the event, occasion, reaction you’d like, and season.  The guide below starts with a few examples, then goes into a couple popular outfits to help you decide when to do an updo, or let your hair lay low.

  • Weddings - Everyone has an opinion on hair etiquette, but the only opinion that matters is the bride’s. It is her big day and her wedding images.  If you’re a bridesmaid, ask her what she wants her team to do. If you’re a guest, updos are perfectly fine as long as you don’t do bridal hair like a wedding chignon bun.
  • Necklines - High necklines and long hair normally don’t match well.  High necklines are a way to increase the appearance of your bust. Long hair, especially when it flows over the front of your shoulders, can offset the illusion while an updo keeps the emphasis on your face and allows the illusion to remain intact.
  • Highlighting outfits - The updo allows your outfit to be the centerpiece of your look. If you want to keep the focus on your clothing, like you’re a model or walking a red carpet, then go updo.  If you want your face and outfit to flow together for a first date or casual days, then let your locks hang low.  

But when push comes to shove, it is personal preference when you should go with an updo or leaving your hair loose.  Here’s a couple of examples of when to choose which style based on events and outfit types.

Little Black Dress

There’s nothing more classic than a little black dress.  If you’re going to a formal function then updos will work perfectly.  They’re elegant, sophisticated and classy.  But if you want to stand out for a cocktail party, go with something that lays low as most other people will have gone up.  Or try an asymmetrical hairstyle where you have some of your hair down one shoulder and the rest pulled back.  

Maxi Dress

This go-to dress is always a win, and the hairstyle can change based on the event.  If it's a bottomless brunch, start with an updo like a bun, and drop it like it's hot with some natural waves when you’re ready to head home.  Casual day out with friends or a first date? Wear your hair down.  It’s more inviting, easier to add a sun hat to if you go for a walk after, and sits comfortably all day.  The neckline rule is more important here too.  

If you feel insecure about your torso because you’re slimmer and your maxi dress has a high neckline, stick with the updo. If you want to keep things looking sleek and slim, wear your hair down.  


You’re likely heading to a formal event if you’re wearing a gown, so use the wedding and neckline rules from above.  If you have a low cut look and want your body to take center stage, go updo.  Looking to have your face take center stage?   Framed bangs and forward facing hairstyles will bring your look to life and keep their eyes connected to yours.  Long locks that flow over the front of your shoulders, or curly bangs that hang down create a nice flow from head to toe, but frame and highlight your face to keep the attention there.

Sun Dress

Sundresses almost always call for long and loose hairstyles.  They complete the soft and summery vibe, add to the flow of your ensemble, and keep your look comfy.  There are exceptions like when it gets windy or you’re going to be in a convertible where you need your hair confined.  

Keep a hair clip handy and do a quick french twist, or throw your hair up into a bun.  Don’t worry about a sleek look, sun dresses are for comfort and fun so messy buns are perfectly good to go.  And both of these styles can be created in seconds and undone easily so you can continue on your day.

Shift Dress

Shift dresses are always good with low flowing hair.  The longer hairstyles add dimension and life to the flat laying clean lines of the dress.  And choosing a style with hair over one or both shoulders is perfect.  If you like the updo look, but don’t want an updo, try a high scrunchie ponytail or go for a 60’s vibe with a barbie ponytail for this look.

There is one big exception to the updo in a shift dress rule-of-thumb, and that is music festivals.  Space buns and other balanced updos can complete the look if you’re doing playful makeup designs with pops of color, and you can add ribbons and scrunchies to bring the color palette from the dress together with your hair. 

Jeans and Tshirt

The simple answer here is whatever makes you feel like you.  If it's a jeans and tshirt day, do what makes you feel comfy.  Wear your hair up in a clip if you’re out running errands, and let it flow if you’re relaxing at home.

If you found this guide to when to go with an updo or let your hair flow free helpful, subscribe to the TELETIMES blog below for more style ideas and hair health tips.

Share this Post