Loose, wavy, in plaits or naturally messy – that's the look to go for this summer. Nina Lakhani reports

Hippie, feminine, quirky or classic – whatever their look, women with long hair will be plaiting, twisting or curling before leaving the house this summer, if the style gurus and fashion writers are to be believed.

Long associated with primary school girls – neatly tied back as a perfect accessory to school uniform – plaits are central to this summer's boho look, which has hit the catwalks and won over the likes of Sienna Miller and Kate Hudson.

Pleats, twists and waves were also in abundance in the spring fashion shows with an interesting equestrian feel to some of the plaited buns and high ponytails used by Bora Aksu and Marios Schwab. Jean-Paul Gaultier's festival-inspired hair created the perfect laid-back look with twists and texture, while Prada added romantic pleats to the classic bun, creating a chic grown-up look recently favoured by the actress Anne Hathaway.

Thin plaits worn long between tumbling curls seems to be the style to accompany this spring's Glastonbury-inspired floral dress and wellies combo which has become synonymous with the supermodel Kate Moss. And simple schoolgirl plaits can be transformed by ribbons and bows in this season's vibrant, strong block colours, demonstrating that hair and fashion belong together like rock and roll.

Celebrity hairdresser Errol Douglas said: "The loose, free, boho hair reflects the bright, breezy, funky look we see in the floral fabrics and see-through layers on the catwalk and on the high street. There's a lot of scope for girls to make the look their own: they can wear a plait at the top of their head, on the side, or half-done, and when they undo the plait they've got a whole new ripple effect which is loose and relevant. Uma Thurman is one of my clients who looks great with this more natural, much cooler look."

According to those who dictate the rules, thousands of women blessed with frizzy rather than silky hair can breathe a sigh of relief as the obsession with hair straighteners seems to be finally drawing to an end. Even Jennifer Aniston has introduced subtle waves and frontal braids to her naturally straight locks.

Mr Douglas said: "I'm fed up to the back teeth with poker-straight, lanky hair, which actually doesn't suit that many faces. It's much easier to adapt curls, waves and plaits to suit your own look, so it's great to see girls experimenting again. This look's got longevity – the designers will ensure that it last till the end of the year at least – but by next summer we'll have more architectural, sculptured, Grace Jones-inspired hair, and women will be buying the clothes to go with it."