Beyond looking cute on the runways, red carpets, Instagram feeds, and IRL, hair bows have cultural significance, too. While we may be slowly moving away from the Barbie-core aesthetic, the fashion world hasn’t shown any sign of pumping the brakes on the “it girl” era. The spotlight is still laser-focused on hyper-feminine looks, with trends like ballet-core, preppy girl, and, more recently, coquette-core at every turn. “Coquette refers to a more flirty, girly look, likely also heavily influenced by the Barbie movie and Margot Robbie’s play on the ‘boss babe but make it flirty’ vibe,” says Ehman. “This trend encompasses elements of pearls, lace, and bows as a whole.”
When looking at bows specifically, the numbers don’t lie. Pinterest predicted 2024 will be the year of bows, with terms like “bow aesthetic” and “bow outfit” accounting for a +55% and +190% surge in searches, respectively. One thing we do know when it comes to styling hair bows? Even though they’re synonymous with all things girly and romantic, they’re completely customizable. Depending on your personal style, you can lean towards more flirty, edgy, or romantic using textures like velvet, embellishments like pearls, and various sizes like enlarged or small and dainty. In terms of styling, Ehman loves a half-up, half-down ponytail with mini bows at the base. If you’re feeling more of an effortless look, try a messy pony with a silky, relaxed bow, and if you’re into a more polished look go for a slicked-back, high, and tight pony with a structured velvet bow. For shorter hair, Ehman recommends tucking one side behind your ear with a bow. Longer hair can opt for a more romantic look by finishing off the end of a braid with a delicate bow.
If the idea of DIY’ing a hair bow on your hair yourself is daunting, the good news is that it actually couldn’t be easier thanks to the sheer variety of styles available (we promise you won’t need a tutorial). Easy alligator clip closures, claw clip openings, and bow-adorned scrunchies that double as arm candy have all made it possible for the less in-tune to take part in the trend.
Below, we’ve broken down the best hair bows in each category to make shopping for your new favorites easier.
Best Black Hair Bows
What’s chic, stylish, and perfect for date night? These show-stopping black hair bows hailing from brands like Jennifer Behr and Hill House. They’re the perfect finishing touch to your nighttime ensemble, complementing every outfit from casual jeans and a tee to your most romantic, stockings-and-mini skirt Blair Waldorf moment. Chicago-based hairstylist Raven Hurtado of Maxine Salon recommends donning a black hair bow especially if you have red or blonde hair — the contrast will be chef’s kiss for your look.
Best White Hair Bows
Whether you go for the oyster bow barrette or that grosgrain-like crinkle texture, think of these white hair bows as the missing piece to your daytime wardrobe puzzle. Flowy maxi skirts, beach-ready sundresses, and crisp matching sets will all benefit from having a white hair bow as their topper. For an ultra-girly afternoon look, Hurtado says to add some texture to your hairstyle by curling it, then pull it back into a half up–half down style, making sure to leave the bangs and face-framing layers out. Pop the hair bow at the base of the top section et voilà! It’s giving high tea aesthetic.
Best Pink Hair Bows
Some people may feel inclined to shy away from pink hair bows for fear of looking like a baby girl, but we beg to differ. Lean into the trendy, glamorous coquette-core trend and pair these pink hair bows with a more neutral-hued outfit to add some sophistication back into your look, says Hurtado. We especially love the long-tail pastel pink hair bows for the spring season — picnic, anyone?
Best Red Hair Bows
Does it get more festive than a red hair bow? We think not. Red hair bows look fantastic on strawberry blonde hair and cool-toned reds, says Hurtado. Style these festive, eye-catching picks (which include an oversized bow and a long-tail option) with a chunky knit sweater or party dress and heels, and get ready for the compliments to come pouring in.
Best Velvet Bows
There’s something ethereal about a velvet hair bow, don’t you think? Hurtado says they’re especially gorgeous when worn with curly hair to add a dash of softness. We love the juxtaposition of a messy updo with any of these soft velvet hair bows, but really, this texture elevates any outfit and can even take you from day to night.
Best Lace/Tulle Bows
Sweet, sultry, and oh-so-enchanting, lace hair bows just hit different. They’re not as in-your-face as other styles since they’re made with less fabric, making them a great option if you’re new to the trend. In any case, we think these picks will look equally as good paired with your wedding guest dress as they would with your laciest lingerie.
Best Embellished Bows
Some days call for sitting back, relaxing, and letting your hair bow do the talking. Cue these gorgeously eye-catching hair bows that are adorned with embellishments and simply impossible to look away from. Reserve these universally flattering bows for your next special occasion, letting them cascade down a low ponytail, high bun, or curled half up–half down style.
Best Hair Clips
Lazy? We hear ya. When you don’t feel like looping, tying, and pulling a traditional hair bow, these clips come to the rescue. Hurtado says to opt for these if you have medium to long hair to avoid that bulky look on shorter hair. You can also twist all of your hair up and secure it with the clip for an effortless, California-chic vibe.
Add these scrunchie bows to your stockpile if you’re looking for everyday versatility. From smaller, daintier hair ties suited for collarbone-length hair to big hair bows that still manage to be lightweight, these scrunchies are easy to put on and even easier to style. Tie one around your wrist for when you inevitably throw your hair up in a pony on errand day or lace one around your high bun to be the most stylish workout buff in the gym.
More hair accessories we’re fawning over: