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How to Wear a Tie-Waist Shirt

Tie-waist tops are unfairly typecast. 

Almost every time I see one on a mannequin, it's styled with cropped pants, a cardigan or an A-line skirt Betty Draper would push Sally under a bus for. No matter who makes the blouses, their labels might as well read "For Retrophiles Only." It's silly, since with a little strategic styling, those tops can shift into sartorial territories miles beyond the corner where pin-up girls and mid-century housewives hang out.

To prove it, we've rounded up five different outfits, only one of which is Mad Men-friendly. The rest would look more at home on ladies ranging from Ke$ha to Kate Moss. Either way, each is an easy way to try out the tie-waist look while keeping your proportions flattering—so ultimately, tying the hem in a simple knot might actually be the blouse's biggest challenge.

To The Office

For a corporate look with a bit of charm, mix prints—like this pin-stripe top and wide stripe skirt combo. Just make sure the prints are in the same family, and keep accessories simple. (And button the shirt all the way up, if you want to look even more serious.)

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