Ponytail and fishtail braid.Let’s face it: The ponytail has a lousy rep. Though it’s actually beyond versatile, this style is so synonymous with sweaty gym visits and disastrous hair days that it’s tough to see the potential beyond basic mane taming.

Still, it’s completely possible to rock a pony without looking like you’ve just come from spin class. In fact, the style is having such a moment that we’ve been spotting some seriously chic versions all over runways from Chanel to Hugo Boss. Tuck that gym scrunchie in the bottom of your makeup bag for good, and let the pros at Bella Vita show you four fresh ways to see the ponytail light.

The Messy Semi-Braid

Braids have been getting all the glory for years now, but we think the two styles are different sides of the same coin. Start with a basic ponytail secured at the base, and braid from there. Keep the weave loose; you want the occasional flyaway to give the look that unpolished perfection. Secure again at the bottom, and spritz with a saltwater spray for a final blast of texture. What’s the best part? Sleeping in this style makes it look even better. Just clean it up in the a.m. with some strategic combing, and you’re out the door.

The Sleek Side Part

If you’ve always fantasized about sporting a pony to a black-tie affair, this version is your dream come true. Plus, it’s insanely easy. Blow-dry or straighten to maximum smoothness, and then use a comb to create a sharp side part. Brush your hair into a low pony from there, taking extra care to keep the look sleek. Secure with a basic elastic, and let the tail cascade down your back. Did someone say red carpet?

The Curled Showstopper

Ideal for both work and play, this option packs a major punch with minimal effort. Pull your hair into the pony you love best – this style works with high, low and medium versions alike – and use a 1/2-inch curling iron to create mermaid-like spirals. A smaller iron with a high pony works best for funky looks, and we’ve even seen models crimping the tail with some serious retro flair. Anything goes.

The Effortless Top Knot

While it’s not technically the same style, we like to think of buns as next-level ponytails. In fact, our favorite top knot actually starts with a simple pony. Secure your hair at the top of your scalp, and then twist the tail around the base to form a loose bun. Don’t worry about perfection; this look is all about weekend-ready ease. Use bobby pins to hold the bun together, and finish with a quick blast of hairspray.

Want even more inspiration? Make an appointment with the stylists at Bella Vita to get a new cut or color and find your very own ponytail personality.