Mastering the Top Knot

The struggle of not knowing what to do with your hair is real.  Attempting style after style is exhausting and discouraging.  That’s why we’re turning to the top knot.  The top knot will be there for you through the good hair days and the downright awful, and it never fails to look effortlessly chic. It’s time to give this hairdo a little attention. So shout-out to top knots for giving us a fresh way to survive those horrible hair days.  We’re happy to call you a trend.  

History of the Top Knot

Contrary to what you may think, top knots were not created by celebs like Ariana Grande or Jennifer Lopez.  The top knot has actually been a prominent style for centuries, dating as far back as the 1300s.  People in countries including New Zealand, Korea, and Japan all rocked some variation of the top knot, but not for the same reasons we do today.  In some countries, the top knot was only worn by those who held a high status, while in other parts of the world, only married men could “tie the knot.”  It wasn’t until the 1960’s that we started seeing the top knot we know and love today.  Audrey Hepburn was perhaps one of the first starlets to rock the look, stepping out in hers in the early 60’s.  From there, other celebs followed, like Aretha Franklin in the 70’s and Gwen Stefani in the 90’s.  The modern day version of the top knot remains a popular hairstyle because of its ease and versatility.  And, unlike the beginning of its time, it can be worn for many occasions, including running errands, a fancy dinner, or even on the red carpet.

Why We’re Obsessed

Are you in a hurry?  Is it scorching hot outside?  Do you need a cute hairstyle for your date tonight?  Don’t worry, the top knot has you covered!  Who would have thought that something so simple would become such a trend?  It’s easy, it’s versatile, it goes with any outfit, and it can be styled to fit any occasion.  The beauty of this style is that it’s better when it’s a little imperfect—each one is unique, so just like fingerprints, no two knots are the same.  Plus, they’ve been around for centuries, which means they aren’t going out of style any time soon.  If there’s one thing you can rely on when the rest of your outfit is in flux, it’s that you can never go wrong with a top knot.   

Three Ways to Style

1. All the Way Up


This classic style is great if you want a hairdo that you don’t have to worry about.  It keeps your hair out of the way so you can conquer your day without having to check up on your appearance.  With this style, you can choose the sleek and classy or carefree and messy route.  Whatever path you’re feeling, your hair will be in its place and the compliments will be flowing.  



  1. Gather all of your hair and secure in a high ponytail on top of your head.  You can use a hair tie or just your hand to keep it in place.
  2. Hold your hair in place with one hand and twist your hair with the other.
  3. Once the twist* reaches the end of your hair, start wrapping your hair in a circle around the elastic.
  4. Finish wrapping when you reach the end of your ponytail, and tie off your bun with a hair tie.  Use bobby pins if needed and style to your liking.

*for a messier top knot, don’t twist, but tease your hair before you wrap it into a bun.  For a more sleek look, do a rope braid (divide ponytail into two sections and twist them both to the left) and then wrap

2. Half Up/Half Down


Another classic, the half up/half down style gives you the best of both worlds.  It keeps the peskiest of hairs tied up on top, but lets your beautiful locks flow in the back.  This style also gives you the option to straighten or curl your hair to fit your agenda for the day.  The best perk about this style, though, is its comfort.  It lasts all day and doesn’t give you that horrible ponytail headache—great for those days that just don’t seem to end.  



  1. Gather the top section of your hair by starting around your temples.  The amount of hair is up to you-the more hair you grab, the bigger your knot will be.
  2. Secure that section of hair with a hair tie, or just hold in place with your hand.
  3. Twist your hair and start wrapping in a circle.
  4. Secure with a hair tie and add bobby pins to any stray hairs as needed.  Style the bottom part of your hair as desired (straight, wavy, curled).

3. With a Braid


Ready to get fancy?  This style takes the top knot up a notch by adding another dimension: a braid!  You can add a braid to either of the previous styles and it can go on top of your head or underneath your knot.  If you’re a talented braider, you can step it up by doing a fishtail or dutch braid.  Adding a braid is a nice and simple way to dress up the hairstyle and is perfect for events like weddings and birthdays.



  1. If you’re doing a braid underneath the top knot, start by flipping your head over and letting your hair fall forward.
  2. Divide a small section of hair at the nape of the neck into three pieces.  Start making your way up the head with a french braid (or fishtail, dutch braid, etc.), adding more and more hair until you’ve made your way about halfway up.  For our example, we did a dutch braid by crossing each section of hair under the other.
  3. Add the rest of your hair to the remaining part of the braided section and tie off into a high ponytail where the braid ends.
  4. Twist your hair and start wrapping it around itself to make the knot.  Do so until all hair is wrapped and tie off with a hair tie.  Use hairspray or bobby pins if needed.

A tried-and-true hairstyle, the top knot has really come a long way.  It can take on many forms like a messy bun on top of your head or a carefully crafted braid leading into a petite top knot.  Its versatility makes it a go-to style option no matter what your day has in store.