Almost every woman has a go-to hairstyle for ease and speed, and for many of us, that look is some variation on a chignon. Both high ballerina buns (in tribute to your dance roots), and tousled top knots are akin to chignons, but despite some misconceptions, don't always fall within the same category. Sure, they're all bundles of hair when it comes down to it, but a chignon — technically speaking — refers to a knot at the nape of the neck, as suggested by the origin of the word "chignon," coming from the French phrase, "chignon du cou," which translates to nape of the neck.
Of course, meaning changes over time, and the chignon has become much more inclusive, but for all linguistic purposes, chignons are the incredibly specifically positioned, unique snowflakes of the bun world. Which, in my opinion, makes them all the more alluring.
However, wearing one day in and day out without fail can be slightly less than alluring. Since women (and some men) have been twisting their manes into these sophisticated knots for centuries, there is a pretty vast variety of chignon styles in existence, and if you're going to rock them nearly daily, it's certainly worth putting a few more chignons into rotation. After all, no two snowflakes look identical — why should your super special nape bun?
As wedding season revs up this June, you may be looking for a few new ways to sport your favorite bun — ways that lend themselves to being worn at special occasions. Whether you're expected to be the ideal bridesmaid at a fully formal event (but maybe your budget is too tight for the salon from having to purchase that timeless, orchid, floor length gown you'll be wearing), or are just another happy guest at a simple, backyard reception, social media sites like Instagram and Tumblr boast a ton of hairstyle inspiration.
You could spend hours getting lost in the options. But not to worry, I've curated a list of lovely chignon variations to save you time and help you find the perfect new twist on your favorite fallback.
1. French Braided Beauty
Quite a bit more complex than your average chignon, this lovely look would be beautiful for a country wedding.
2. Funky Fishtails
Although this style is a bit messy, the texture achieved within the fishtail braids that gives the appearance of swooping down into the chignon is incredible. I can definitely envision this at a beach wedding, or perhaps a rooftop city event.
3. Deceptively Easy Braids
This braided chignon is next on my personal list of looks to master. Since the two rear braids are simple, and the french braids on the sides are loose, the overall difficulty rating for this style is actually not that high. With a little bit of patience and some bobby pins, it's entirely achievable at home.
4. Braid Bands
It's a little bit tricky to tell exactly what's happening here in terms of the chignon construction, but I suspect it's along the lines of wrapping the length of the hair around the braids from each side. Exceptionally lovely, and would work in casual situations, or at a formal event.
5. Single Tuck Chignon
Classic and clean, the single tuck chignon, when teased before construction, can give the illusion of beautiful body. Plus, the delicate braids as an accent here really create a polished look.
6. Sophisticated Knots
The simple elegance of this slightly twisted chignon makes it look absolutely classic.
7. Low Curly Bun
I love this look, because I have straight hair, which of course, comes with curl envy. Whether created with natural ringlets or handmade, this low curly bun is all sorts of romantic.
8. Dutch Braid Bundle
OK, I'll admit it. This one still has me a little stumped. I'm sure there's an easier than it appears explanation for how to create this braided wonder of a bump, but until I find it — or cave and ask a hairstylist (or that woman at the Renaissance Fair who braids for cash) — it remains a magical mystery of which I'm rather in awe. Kudos, trabjerg89.
9. Side Swiped Stunner
Again, classic lines make this chignon work. The asymmetrical side bun is beautiful, and the wave that flows down to meet it frames this lucky lady's face in the most lovely manner.
10. Twisted Tresses
Somewhere between braid and twist, the hairstylist who first envisioned this chignon took it up another notch, and I love it!
11. Petite Fishtail Tuck
Adorable! This is truly one of the sweetest chignons out there, for its simplicity, and feathery charm.
12. Criss Cross Classy
Sporting the sectioned off faux bangs that I so love to create, I'm pretty enamored with the simplicity of this classic chignon. Great for a bridesmaid, or ideal for a fun Saturday night.
13. The Double Tuck
Tuck, tuck, goose! Wow, where did that come from? Certainly not this sophisticated style. Beautiful tiers create depth and a waterfall effect in this doubly dynamic chignon.
14. Delightfully Embellished
Even with a simple twist and tuck chignon like this one, a few petite charms and adornments can make all the difference.
15. Triple Threat
Très chic and oh, so lovely, there's nothing quite like the polish of a well aligned braid. Learn how to achieve this and other chic chignons over at the Confessions of a Hairstylist YouTube channel.
Images: lovemaegan/Flickr; Giphy; beautyhackk (2), diy.crafts_food_fashion_, hqsalonspa, sarahemyles, sweet_her(2), trabjerg89, jenhillyard, hairandmakeupbyemilyh, ruzaessentials, hairmachinervc, xhoniebunnyx, lesmercredisdedaphne, theconfessionsofahairstylist /Instagram