Braids, both elaborate and casual looking, are now appearing everywhere from city streets to fashion runways. "Traditionally, women would think of braids as a kind of thoughtless hairstyle. Now they've crossed over to the fashion space," said hairstylist Ted Gibson, who debuted a braid bar this summer at the W hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Braids now come in many varieties, from fishtails to crown braids.

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