How to Tie a Button Up Shirt

How to Tie a Button Up Shirt

    If you want to get creative and playful with your shirts a simple thing you can do is learn how to tie them. By this, I mean the classic knot we can create at the bottom of our button up shirts. This has been a popular fashion quirk for decades and it never goes out of style!

    If you’ve never done this before, or haven’t attempted the process since you were a teenager I explain how to tie a button up shirt in the below guide together with some important considerations and style tips - enjoy!

    Selecting the Right Shirt

    Disclaimer - not all tops are suitable for tying! You have to look at the fabric, the style of the shirt, and the length and also think about the effect knotting has on the material.

    Fabric Considerations

    Silky fabrics that don’t crease as easily are brilliant for tying because they still look great if you decide to untie the shirt afterward. The downside is that the knot itself can be looser and not as pronounced compared to if you are wearing a shirt with a coarser fabric.

    Appropriate Shirt Styles for Knotting

    Womens button up shirts with only a partial set of buttons are not suitable for tying because you need the gap in the fabric to create a perfect knot.

    The best shirts for knotting are button up shirts that have a full length of buttons from the collar down to the hem of the shirt.

    The Effect Knotting Has on the Fabric

    I advise thinking about how constant knotting affects the fabric of your shirts. When you scrunch the material together and tie the knot, creases are made and this is unavoidable. Therefore, when you commit to wearing a knotted button up shirt, you need to follow through with it until you change your outfit otherwise if you untie the knot and wear the shirt loose, it’s going to look a mess!

    Different Knotting Style

    person tying shirt in a knot

    The key to understanding how to tie a button up shirt is to know what look you want to achieve and learn the different types of knots. There are several variations on the classic knot and it can be worn differently depending on the length of the shirt.

    Classic Knot

    Everyone should learn how to tie a button up shirt with a classic knot. This is a two-knot process so that the tails of the knot are equal in length. I advise the following process:

    1. Button your shirt up but leave the buttons open from the bottom of the shirt, to a point slightly above where you want the knot.
    2. Roll the shirt up at the back so that you have two prongs hanging loose at the front.
    3. Take both prongs and scrunch each one together into your hand.
    4. Loop the prong that has the side of the shirt that is buttoned on top over the other prong and create your first loop.
    5. Adjust this first knot to make it looser or tighter depending on how you want to wear it.
    6. Loop the opposite prong this time over the other prong and create a second knot.


    This classic knot creates even prongs and a neat knot that can be worn either loose or tight.

    Casual Knot

    If you want a more casual knot that isn’t as defined or neat, you can use the trick of tying your shirt through the button holes.

    1. Button up your shirt in the same manner and leave a few buttons undone at the bottom.
    2. Roll your shirt up at the back to give a little slack and create two clear prongs at the front.
    3. Pass the right-hand prong up and behind the shirt and through the gap between the two closest buttons then pull it so it hangs down.
    4. Repeat this process with the other prong.


    You are essentially using the button gaps as part of the knot and this method can actually reduce the amount of creases on the fabric too.

    Knots for Different Shirt Lengths

    You have to consider the shirt length when creating knots as the length dictates the position of the knot and the length of the tails.

    Longer button up shirts that hang past your waist can be tied, but the knot and tails will be longer, and they will hang lower.

    Alternatively, a shorter button up shirt that hangs around your waist will create a knot that sits above your waist so these are perfect for use with high-waist jeans for example.

    Create the Perfect Knot and Give Your Button Up Shirt Some Flare

    If you are tired of wearing your button up shirt the same way week after week, why not mix things up and try a simple knot? You can tie your button-up shirt in seconds but this simple trick completely transforms how the garment looks and allows you to experiment with a range of styles and outfit combinations.