'90s Trend Alert: Shirts Tied Around the Waist

by Tori Telfer

This kinda makes us all feel old, but the '90s have been making their way across runways and street style in many iterations lately: Crop tops, jelly shoes, high-waisted shorts, greasy Seattle-rocker hair, beanies, and layers layers layers. And as we travel farther in time from that memorable decade, the trends get more and more literal. The latest? A button-down shirt (often plaid) tied around your waist and just...hanging there.

Celebs from Kanye and Pharrell to Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, and Miranda Kerr have been seen channeling their teen spirit with this casual style, both on the street and during parties. A shirt around the waist looks effortless and breezy, but knot it up wrong and you risk looking like a frumpy time traveler (you want a fanny pack with that?). Just like a pair of punky sneakers, this trend won't look so hot over gym clothes, but it's a fantastic way to relax a fancier outfit — if you find the perfect button down.

1. Tie it low around your hips. Think hip-hugger jeans, not high-waisted shorts. A shirt around your actual waist, especially one in flannel or denim, can add a lot of bulk.

2. Use an oversized shirt. If you can score one from a dad/brother/boyfriend/male friend, so much the better. Look for something that hangs almost to your knees.

3. Don't feel tied to plaid. Many of the celebrities and style bloggers rocking this trend are doing it with plaid, flannel, or a combination of the two. That's all very 21 Jump Street, but don't be afraid to break away from the direct '90s reference. Floral? Striped? Plain white? Keep an open mind as you raid that closet.

4. Look for soft, worn-in fabric. This is not the time to use a crisp white dress shirt stolen from your latest Wall Street fling. You want a fabric that will drape nicely around your body and float around in the wind when you walk.

5. You don't have to pair it with Doc Martens. Or ripped denim, or more flannel, or anything with a Pearl Jam logo. This look works well with bohemian styles and modern trends, too. It's the perfect way to hold snobby outfits responsible, just like grunge did to corporate America. Or something like that.