Braids on the Spring 2010 runways of Alexander Wang (left) and Oscar De La Renta (right). Photo: Getty Images

No doubt, pigtails are carefree, sporty and fun -- on a six-year-old. But how about on a 26, 36 or 56-year-old?

Many women are proving that this girly-girl style isn't just reminiscent of our playground days, wearing plaits are the beach, out at night, and even to the office.

And they're right on trend: For Spring 2010, pigtails are all over the place -- from the runways of Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang and Norma Kamali to celebrities on the red carpet.

Perhaps it's the certain sense of youthfulness that women feel when wearing this style. Or, maybe it's the self-confidence and playfulness they project. Either way, it gives grow-ups a way to look and feel younger -- without going as far as breaking out the bubble gum and knee socks.

But are pigtails age-appropriate?

They're not the ideal hairstyle for women, according to Patrick Wellington, proprietor of Wellington Hair Spa in New York City, who believes women should transition to more mature hairstyles once they are out of high school. But, he still believes they can be fun if they are styled correctly.

"I definitely think that pigtails project a sense of youth and whimsy, the sense that life should not be taken too seriously," says Wellington. "When I see older women with pigtails, they usually have a fun, youthful personality to match."

If you're going to wear them, Wellington says there are more stylish options today -- not just the classic pigtails from our childhood days that looked like they were coming out the sides of our head.

"Braided pigtails, also referred to as French braids, can be very chic and are perhaps the only exception to age-appropriate pigtails," says Wellington. "We've seen a lot of braided pigtails on the runways. Low pigtails can also be stylish on a young girl or teenager, but high pigtails should be left for children."

While long, straight hair is ideal for pigtails because it's easier to manage for braids and twists, Wellington also says that young girls and teenagers with various hair lengths and textures can find a pigtail style that's suitable for them. "Pigtails can be dressed up with hair accessories and embellishments, like beaded pins, hair clips or headbands. You can also play around with uneven parts, swoop bangs and braided buns to add more style and panache to your pigtails," he adds.

What do you think? Should women wear pigtails, or should this look be reserved for schoolgirls?

If you think women are trying to be too much like kids, take a look at these kids trying to look like grown-ups!