Formal updos include the classic chignon as well as a bun, which sits higher up on the skull. Other formal updos include a braided bun or even a sleek ponytail pulled up to the scalp. More complicated styles include the French twist and bouffant. An updo can be made even more formal and dressy by adding accessories such as sparkling barrettes or flowers.
The chignon is one of the more common styles of formal updos. When styled into a chignon, the hair is twisted around itself and then gathered at the top of the neck, just below the base of the skull. Usually, a chignon rests to one side of the head and is not directly in the center of the back of the skull. The hair is usually parted to one side and gently swept back rather than being pulled over top of the scalp.
A bun is similar to a chignon. The hair in a bun is usually pulled back over the scalp into a ponytail near the top of the head. Typically, the hair is wrapped around itself, forming a large bump or pile of hair at the top of the skull. The size of the bun depends on the amount of hair a person has. Longer hair makes a larger bun. For a formal bun, the hair should be wrapped tightly so that no strands break loose.
Some formal updos are different versions of the bun. After gathering the hair into a ponytail, a person can braid and then twist it into a bun. She can also leave a few strands of hair loose and then curl them so that the curls cascade down the head. Instead of wrapping the hair in a ponytail into a bun, she can divide the ponytail into several smaller sections and then wrap those sections around themselves to make several smaller buns.
Complicated formal updos include the French twist and bouffant. To make a French twist, a low ponytail is twisted around itself and gathered up on the back of the scalp and pinned in place. The hair is back-combed or teased to add volume to the top when styling it into a bouffant. Then the rest of the hair is gathered up in a bun or twist.
Some people dress up formal updos by adding floral decorations to the base of the bun or twist. A person may slide sparkling barrettes into a bun to add a touch of shine. Other ways to dress up a hairstyle include adding a small net veil or satin ribbons.