NEW YORK - Consider a special hairstyle the icing on the cake for a girl's prom outfit.
This year's favorite look seems to be an updo, reports Kate Wood, associate editor at Promspot.com.
"Across any year, we'll find that most girls consider their looks finished when they have an updo, in the same way they don't consider themselves dressed up unless in a long gown. An updo is like a crown," she says.
Updos are part of a larger trend of more formal hair, a contrast from last year when Gwyneth Paltrow-style, long, wavy hair was in, Wood says.
Formal doesn't mean stiff and shellacked, though. Hair should always be a little soft and touchable. "You don't want to end up with French-twist helmet head," Wood says.
Do formal hairstyles also mean they'll be more formal dresses on the dance floor?
Not necessarily, according to Wood. It's fairly common for a girl to find a hairstyle she likes in a magazine and rip it out to show her stylist, and she'll tear a different page from a different magazine when she goes shopping. "Girls don't think about putting it together as a whole, but it works for them. If you do end up with modern hairstyle and a more romantic or lacy dress, it's OK. It's the way girls mix and match fashion. They'll probably think it's cooler anyway," Wood says.
She adds: "Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Osbourne, Hilary Duff. Girls see these people who take all different things and pull it together in their own way. They're striving for an eclectic look."
Celebrities certainly are influencing teen hair trends. Wearing medium or long hair pulled back with a lot of volume on top is a style that's been spotted on just about every starlet.
But promgoers need to remember that celebrities often wear time-consuming and costly extensions, so it might not be that easy to replicate their styles.
Most girls don't do their own hair on prom night, Wood says, although there's no reason that without practice - or mom's help - they couldn't do it. But to most girls, going to the salon with their friends to be pampered is an important part of the prom experience.
On the Net: www.promspot.com