Bored of your basic tees? This spring, there’s a simple solution that has been decades in the making: the knot-waist detail. Equal parts polished and practical, it’s a fuss-free styling move that promises to transform your T-shirts and bring a fresh dose of cool to everyday essentials.

Over the years, the look has gone through every possible twist, tie and turn—reaching a fever pitch in the ‘90s when it perfectly captured the era’s flair for minimalist insouciance. In 1992, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer struck a pose in an ad campaign wearing leather pants and off-the-shoulder tees that also revealed a sliver of bare midriff. That same year, they both appeared on Vogue’s 100th Anniversary Special cover in crisp knotted oxfords worn in similar naval-grazing fashion. “Then, casual sportswear was all the rage,” Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour would later write. “So our ten ‘supermodels’ sported white shirts and jeans.”

Vogue 100th Anniversary Special (1992) Clockwise from top: Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Karen Mulder, Elaine Irwin, Niki Taylor, Yasmeen Ghauri, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and, center, Tatjana Patitza Photo: Patrick Demarchelier

Lest you think it’s only a nineties game, the trend continues to turn up on the supremely stylish women we look to for wardrobe inspiration today. Eva Chen, head of fashion partnerships at Instagram, paired a plain white tee with a fringed Prada skirt for the perfect causal-meets-luxe mix, while Jennifer Lopez recently sported a knotted tank with high-waist leggings at the gym.


As we all gravitate towards time-tested staples with a more relaxed aesthetic, now is the perfect time to consider classic tees with a twist. “The side tie is the ultimate versatile piece in a wardrobe, because it helps you be your own stylist,” says White + Warren Director of Product, Bari Shore. “You can tie it where you want it to hit—it’s a true effortless instant outfitter.” For those who are new to the artful knot, we’ve done the work for you with our Knotted Crewneck, which features a flattering side-tie detail that whittles your waist by cinching and gathering fabric above the hip. It’s as soft and versatile as your favorite T-shirts—and infinitely more fun.

Here, a visual timeline of the loved-through-the-decades fashion favorite, the knotted shirt.
Dirty Dancing (1987), Photo: Everett Collection
Kirsten Dunst (2012), Photo: Bauer-Griffin Online
Olivia Palermo (2013), Photo: Getty Images
Gigi Hadid (2015), Photo: INFphoto.com
Rihanna (2015), Photo: NCP/Star Max/GC Images
Chrissy Teigen (2016), Photo: AKM-GSI
A Star Is Born (2018), Photos: Peter Lindbergh/Warner Bros.
Eva Chen (2018), Photo: Getty Images
Jennifer Lopez (2020), Photo: Mega
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