The chignon hairstyle is a classic, timeless “up-do”, yet it still manages to be modern. Any age can wear a chignon and feel instantly classy and coquettish; just add some red lipstick, perfume and you’re elegant and ready for any occasion.
Sometimes known as a French twist, the Chignon is a classic bun with a bit of a twist.
This hairdo is extremely popular because it can be worn numerous ways: to the side, slightly messy, and sometimes decorated with flowers or even chopsticks.
The word “chignon” comes from the French phrase “chignon du cou,” which means nape of the neck. It is still synonymous with French sophistication. Chignon (pronounced: "shin-yawn ") resembles a beautiful, smooth, low knot or bun. The most elegant women don the chignon. Perhaps this is so because, as it was said to me as a young girl, the nape of a female neck may be simultaneously both the clearest and most subtle pronouncement of femininity in a woman’s appearance.
The hair is first brushed straight and gathered at the back in the hands. The ponytail is then twisted to tighten the hair, and the twisted ponytail piled on the back of the head and secured with pins to give a very attractive bun. A messy bun can add some character to the look.
The chignon can be traced back to Ancient Greece, where Athenian women commonly wore the style with gold or ivory handcrafted hairpins. They fastened their chignons with a hair pin clasp of "golden grasshoppers," according to "The History of the Peloponnesian War". The chignon’s popularity peaked again in the 1940’s when many women wore the bun with a headscarf while working in factories to support the war effort during World War II.
This hairstyle is also identified with ballerinas. Ballet dancers often use hairnets and bobby pins to make their bun as tight and neat as possible. Most ballerinas have long hair because it adds femininity to the stereotype of a ballet dancer. There are more ballerinas today breaking that mold. Nonconformists like City Ballet dancers Ashley Bouder and Jenifer Ringer cut their hair to feel a bit more like a regular person. They wear hair pieces when performing.
For feminine women who have long hair a chignon is perfect for rainy weather or when you’re running late; instead of spending time blow-drying and straightening your hair, just pull it back into a bun and you’ve got an instant chic do.
With the flexibility of styles from elegance on one end to casual comfortability on the other, the chignon may inspire a healthy and attractive approach to daily living. Many say that a new or different hat may change not only a woman’s appearance, but also her attitude and feelings about herself. The same may be true of this simple, nape clearing “up do.” From Classic to Modern - with a twist - a Chignon can work for everyone!