Ah, the updo. Many a high-school senior, bride, graduate, and Oscar nominee has attempted the challenging, swept-up hairstyle with few home runs to speak of. Let's face it: it’s a tough look to master. Between the prerequisite tools (bobby pins, hair spray, a curling iron, a flat iron, elastics), optional accoutrements (flowers, diamonds, pearls, elastics, a pony, the list goes on), and the fact that the whole thing often relies on bending one's head beneath the hands of a complete stranger, the room for error is great.
But let's face the facts: the updo, when done right, is an absolute demonstration of sophistication. Hair that's tucked and pinned to perfection elongates the neck, and your shoulders—with nowhere to hide—are forced back. You stand up a little bit straighter. And whether you've got on Chuck Taylors (hi, Kristen Stewart) or satin stilettos (mind the stairs, J.Law!), there's no denying the power of an updo in making you feel fancy.
As luck would have it, there are many iterations of the style that won't land you in the Hall of Shame (Hair Category). Whether your taste veers strict and minimal à la Zoe Kravitz , or a bit more intricate (Princess Kate) , we thought it the perfect time to present a slew of—dare we say it?—cool updos. Whether you're heading to prom, a summer wedding, or Taco Tuesday with some buds (hey, you do you!), look no further than the above ladies who either have eyes in the backs of their heads, or really on-the-ball hairstylists.
[Ed. note: While there are many eras from which to draw inspiration for special events, please stay away from the Victorian period. Safer decades to pick from include the 1920s (because everything was perfect then… except for the economy), 1940s, 1950s, 1970s (a flower or two can always look good—but don’t go overboard), and, obviously, the 1980s. Yes, grab a pink Scrunchie, a crimping iron, pull your ponytail to the side, and you’re all set! (JOKES. Please do not do this. You will surely regret it.)]
 Zoe Kravitz,  Photographed by Tommy Ton,  Kate Middleton,  Cara Delevingne,  Zoe Saldana,  Julia Nobis,  Hair at Alice & Olivia Fall 2013,  Kirsten Dunst,  Grimes,  Beri Smither,  Beyonce,  Hair at Jason Wu Spring 2013,  Hair at Chanel Spring 2012,  Julia von Boehm,  Emily Weiss,  Elle Fanning,  Kate Moss,  Solange Knowles,  Kate Middleton,  Natasha Poly,  Vanessa Hudgens,  Amy Wesson,  Chloe Sevigny,  Daphne Groeneveld,  Sandra Rieder,  Magdalena Frackowiak,  Isabeli Fontana,  Brigitte Bardot,  Susie Lau,  Ginta Lapina,  Jessica Stam,  Beyonce,  Anja Rubik,  Natasha Poly,  Hair at Viktor & Rolf Fall 2013,  Hannah Holman.