Nothing says summer like a braided updo, except maybe a pool party or bikini. When it gets too hot to contemplate wearing your hair down, chances are your default hairstyle is usually a ponytail or braid. Humidity is to blame for the vast majority of bad hair days during the summer months–something I can personally attest to–so pulling your hair back in a braid is just easier. That doesn’t mean you have to fall into a hair rut and style your hair in the same side braid from May to September. The humble braid can be transformed into a variety of hairstyles, and you don’t need to be an expert in basket weaving to recreate them.
Here are 25 celebrities who prove that braids are anything but basic:
1. Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning may look like a Disney princess sometimes, but she can also do a fairly convincing milkmaid.
2. Solange Knowles
Beyoncé must have liked Solange‘s braided ponytail so much; she decided to give microbraids a try–at least for a few days.
3. Zoe Saldana
A braid should look as good in the back, as it does in the front, like Zoe Saldana‘s braided bun.
4. Nicole Richie
Even before Nicole Richie was dying her hair purple, I loved her hairstyles. This updo with mini braids is a favorite of mine.
5. Kelly Osbourne
Speaking of purple, Kelly Osbourne highlights her lavender locks with this intricate Game Of Thrones inspired hairstyle. I reckon Cersei would love those spiky clips.
6. Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba frames her face with not one, but two braids, and a chunky beaded necklace.
7. Kourtney Kardashian
Sorry to break it to you Kendall Jenner, but you weren’t the first of the Kardashian clan to discover braids–Kourtney Kardashian did it first.
8. Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart takes the humble braid and gives it her signature bedhead treatment. Don’t be fooled; it’s not as easy to replicate as it looks.
We didn’t need to see this picture of Rihanna pulling off pigtails (with sweats no less) to know that this girl can make anything look good. Impressed.
10. Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst dresses up a Heidi braid with a sparkly floral headband.
11. Blake Lively
We don’t need to see her face to know that the owner of that silky braid, is none other than Blake Lively. Is it any wonder she has a hair endorsement deal?
12. Whitney Port
Lauren Conrad might have been known for her braided bangs, but Whitney Port‘s tousled side braid deserves some attention too.
13. Willow Smith
Willow Smith’s braid is one part pretzel, two parts Cindy Lou Hoo and four parts totally adorable.
14. Rita Ora
It looks as though Rita Ora has mastered the fishtail plait. Want to try it yourself? Here’s how to do it.
15. Jennifer Morrison
It is tempting to say that Jennifer Morrison‘s braided bun is enchanting or make another Once Upon A Time pun, so I will just let you admire it instead.
16. Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie certainly knows how to reinvent the braid. Here she is again, this time with a braided bun.
17. Eva Longoria
Cannes 2014 might go down as the year of the braids. Blake Lively and Eva Longoria brought their best plaits to the carpet.
18. Emily Blunt
If you can take your eyes off the pink eyeshadow, look up at Emily Blunt‘s punk braided updo.
19. Bérénice Bejo
We might not yet know Bérénice Bejo for much other than The Artist–and now this side braid.
20. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron is so intimidatingly beautiful that she could pull off pretty much any hairstyle. This spiral braid is no exception.
21. Diane Kruger
The perfect accessory for a braid? Sunglasses, as proven by Diane Kruger.
22. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys managed to style her braid around her trendy ear cuffs. Bravo.
23. Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried went for a supersize braided bun. This is how you fake thick hair.
24. Jennifer Lawrence
Don’t let the boho hair accessory fool you that is not Sienna Miller. The girl with the embellished braided bun is actually Jennifer Lawrence.
25. Emma Stone
Emma Stone loose braid would be perfect for the day at the beach–or a red carpet if you go to those a lot–as proven here.
(Photos: WENN, Getty Images)