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Put A Bow On It: The Minimalist's Guide To Wearing Ribbons

Hannah Frye
Author:
December 14, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
Holiday Glam hairbow
Image by Vradiy Art x mbg creative / Stocksy
December 14, 2023
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Welcome to our Holiday Glam package, a three-part makeup series where we dissect the buzziest looks of the season and offer expert-backed, no-fuss tutorials—so you can turn heads at any soirée. 

As we approach the end of 2023, it's only right to leave it with a bow in your hair. This obsession with ribbons has taken over the fashion industry this year, reimagining the sophistication of bows beyond their classic, cutesy touch.

Whether you're gunning for a minimalist look, an elevated accessory, or an easy way to participate in this year's buzziest holiday trends, all you need to do is put a bow on it. Here's the how-to, plus a quick backstory on the rise of the ribbon.

Why are bows everywhere this year?

While bows aren't anything new to the "balletcore" veterans, they've undeniably had a moment in the spotlight this year. Gen-Z-adored designer Sandy Liang commanded the runway at New York Fashion Week with countless models sporting hair bows, while menswear designer Tanner Fletcher showed off bow-covered suits…just to name a few of the many bow sightings. 

The cool thing is, bows are for anyone and everyone who wants to participate, not just those aiming for a dainty, ultra-feminine aesthetic. Even those disinterested in fashion or makeup can keep up with the bow trend via home decor, with candle holders and bow-covered Christmas trees, as outlined in Architectural Digest.

You'll have no trouble finding bow accessories of all kinds online and in stores, thanks to the mass obsession, but you can also put a sustainable twist on this trend by reusing ribbons from past gifts and holidays. Plus, using a bow can inspire childhood nostalgia and make any look feel just a bit more special. So why not partake?

This year has shown us that there are truly unlimited ways to use bows, in both minimalist and maximalist fashions. Below, find some easy looks to take with you this holiday season.

4 ways to style bows for holiday glam

It may seem easy to just, you know, put a bow on anything—but I find the more intentional you are with your ribbon selection and placement, the more refined you'll look as a whole. 

Ahead, an option for makeup lovers, those clad in all-black ensembles, and the bold statement makers:

1.

Bow coordination 

If you already have your makeup look planned out, consider finding a bow to match. Whether you coordinate with deep green liner, a feisty red lip, a modern smoky eye, or a subtle pink shadow, tagging on a matching bow will help the beat come together.

Get creative with the matchy-matchy look and pull in hues from your blush, nail polish, eyeshadow, or even jewelry. 

2.

Stay chic with black bows

bows
Image by Hannah Frye | Assistant Beauty & Health Editor

Those who wear all black to every event need not worry, because black bows are here to keep it chic while adding an element of play. 

When I'm going for a red lip (a rare but beloved addition), I like to keep my outfit, hair accessories included, fairly muted to let the pigment pop. 

For this look, I layered two different reds to reach my desired deep cherry hue: first, the REFY Red Lipsculpt for liner and a base, followed by the RMS Serum Lipstick in Angela, then topped off with the REFY Red Lip Gloss to add shine—you can shop my lineup in just a moment.

Even if you skip the red lip and keep it minimal, black bows are incredibly versatile and easily dressed up or down. For a more formal look, stick with materials like silk, satin, and velvet. 

3.

A statement bow

Then we have the statement bow. This version is perfect for those sporting a simple outfit who want to level up their look. 

Please feel free to play around with colors; either stick with holiday classic reds, greens, white, and blues; lean into metallic gold or silver; or opt for the plain black bow that allows the sheer size to speak for itself. 

If you want to invest, consider the Palermo Bow from designer (and bona fide ribbon expert) Sandy Liang, or shoot for this silky and functional Giant Bow Scrunchie from Room Shop.

4.

Go beyond hair

If bold hair and makeup just aren't your thing, work bows into your look in other ways. Consider a finely painted bow manicure, use a repurposed silk ribbon as a neck scarf, or tie ribbons on your favorite boots or flats to elevate your look from the bottom up. 

No matter which route you choose, adding a bow to your holiday look will surely kick the spirit up a notch. Get creative with your ribbons and find ways to make them personal—after experimenting, you just may find yourself on the bow bandwagon too. Don't worry; I don't think the ribbon renaissance will be trending past anytime soon.

REFY

REFY Lip Set

$40
Rather than hunt around for a matching liner and gloss, opt for this set. The Lip Sculpt is an easy-to-use liner that comes with a built-in setter that's perfectly complimented by a high-shine gloss. It lasts for hours, and it's compact, making it an easy holiday staple.
REFY Lip Set

Sandy Liang

Palermo Bow

$178
The bow queen herself, Sandy Liang has countless options to choose from, but this one makes a statement. If a bright red isn't for you, consider the white satin or black for a quieter touch.
Sandy Liang Palermo Bow

Free People

Quincy Mini Bow Set Of 4

$14
These mini bows are the perfect way to top off a holiday look without going overboard. Use them to clip back your bangs, decorate a ponytail, or even clip them onto your clothes for an easy and quick accessory.
Free People Quincy Mini Bow Set Of 4

RMS

Legendary Serum Lipstick

$35
The shade Angela is my go-to for adding depth to any base lip color, be it pinks or reds. The formula is super hydrating and buildable, so you can add pigment as you need.
RMS Legendary Serum Lipstick

Party time!

Bows have taken over the fashion and beauty space in 2023, making them the perfect festive and trendy addition to your holiday glam. You can match your makeup to your bows, keep it clean with an all-black look, rock a statement bow, or tie a ribbon onto just about any piece of clothing—embracing the bow trend can help you personalize and elevate your look, so get creative and have fun with the task.

And if you have the bow covered? Consider lip color your next step—here's how to find your perfect shade.

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