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How I Got Gwen Stefani-esque Braided Fabulousness… at Braid Bar!

I’d heard about the braid bar at Bergdorf Goodman. I imagined a braiding Mecca: An assembly line of rapt stylists—lithe fingers flying at dizzying speeds to produce varieties of gorgeously exotic stitches (fishtails, cascading waterfalls, perfect cornrows that merge to form a princess-like knot at the nape of the neck). I was slightly off, in that it’s not literally a braid bar—it’s a bit fancier than that.

Inside the incredibly chic John Barrett Salon atop the incredibly chic department store, you plop down in a swivel chair and ask for any iteration of a crazy-cool braid concoction and a stylist excitedly obliges. I flipped through the utterly captivating look book of twisty updos, milk-made plaits, braided crowns, and intricate weaves. I settled on a hundred little mini braids coiling every which way all over my head (inspiration: Medusa?). I couldn’t stop touching the perfectly-executed braids (I didn’t see how a human hand could sew something so…fine), but I ended up looking more Snoop-Dog than Greek-mythology-glam.

I was the last appointment of the day, so my amazing and mightily-patient stylist granted me another go. She did this romantic-yet-edgy inside-out braid—the style looked like something out of Gwen Stefani’s Sweet Escape video, one of my favorites—and I felt like I should’ve been wearing one of the ethereal, ankle-grazing gowns plucked from a rack on the 4th floor I saw on my way out.

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