Saturday, March 15, 2014

I was out of town last week and had to be on a very tight schedule. With all the airport delays and corporate really important stuff to do, how do the women manage to look fresh and so put together?  No one wants to see that mattress hair that they leave the plane with. We only want to look at that if it is still on the mattress and by then, we probably aren’t dwelling on looking at the hair on her head. I noticed the rebirth of braids on women. These are not the Wendy’s girl braids on all those burger place signs. These braids were interesting, classic and just looked good and current. When did this happen? Where have I been?
There is nothing more important than the innocence of a cute little girl running and playing and drawing and pretending with their ordinary braids flapping in the wind. Braids represent children not those made up little Toddlers in Tiaras Show little people made up to look   like dolls or much older women. Let little girls be just little girls and braids are part of their whole persona at that age. Braids used to go with innocence.  It is the simple hairstyle of skipping schoolgirls. You think of Pippi  Longstocking, The Brady Bunch to name a few.

Well, apparently braids are not just for little girls anymore. Braids are everywhere now. On the red carpet and in fashion magazines. Today’s braids seem to be very different and can be worn by many women and never look quite the same but each individual style still looks good. John Barrett is a hair stylist who specializes in the art of braiding. He even has a braid Bar in Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan the one store where the clerks bring the merchandise to you. There a braid will cost anywhere from 50 to $125 dollars. Go up to Harlem and you will get even fancier styles for much cheaper prices. Black women know their braids.
There seems to be more and more women trading their blow dryers for braids to just get that more powerful look but yet still retain a sexy feminine look. Similar high end  braid Bars are popping up all over the country. Braids have been weaving throughout history and making its stylistic mark throughout different cultures for centuries. Lorie Tharps is a professor and author at Temple University and studied the topic extensively.  She noticed that in Europe many of the rich people had beautiful stylish   braids  because  only the wealthy could have the spare time and the help of a maid to weave their hair for them.

Ancient Egyptians would shave their head but then wear  braided wigs. In China and Japan you had only one long braid that would slide down the center of your back.  Young women in the Orient would wear two braids but only when you were married you would be allowed to take your hair out of braids.  In other culture’s sometimes it would be worn just for beauty, other times for status. Braids always gave some sort of message out about the wearer of them.

Sometimes braids were worn by men. In African cultures and Native American Cultures, you knew if the highly masculine warrior   men were wearing a particular braided style, he was going to go to war. In some Ancient Chinese cultures, in Dynasties, the men would shave their head except for one braid cascading down their back.  We see lots of men braiding their hair now especially if you spend any length of time in Jamaica.
Fast forward to 2014 and women are filling up Braid Bars to put a twist in a historic style. I have learned that braids are now stylish again but they are also timeless. Ask any beautiful woman showing off her sleek neck to a swooped up version of braids and they will tell you that it is universal, timeless, practical, beautiful and endless in possibilities so I have learned on my long flight home sitting next to a braided princess.

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