The top knot re-invented: 5 new looks
How to wear the new top knot— an upgrade to the classic messy bun— at any occasion.
This season has seen the return of our favourite offbeat looks—grunge, punk and
retro ’60s beauty—only sleeker than they were the first time around. And the same has happened to the top knot: the classic messy bun that has come to signify the ultimate off-duty hairstyle. And while not much has changed to the bun itself, it’s looking pretty chic these days.
“The variety of ways to wear it has shifted,” says Marc Anthony, celebrity hair stylist. “It can have a sort of whimsical bohemian vibe to it but it can also have a polished almost Audrey Hepburn look as well.” And pretty much anyone can wear this hairstyle easily: “As long as your hair can be tucked into a high pony—no matter how small—you can rock this look.” We asked Anthony for his top DIY hairstyle tips to achieve the updated top knot, five different ways.
Re-invent the classic messy bun
Perfect for: A summer date
Forget what you know about the thrown-together updo most commonly seen during homeroom and yoga class. “Top knots were, in the past, associated with last-minute dashing out to shop or ’80 school girls,” says Anthony. “By giving them a bit of polish—even the messy knots—we have moved them into the present.” Which is why it’s no longer an expression of disinterest or lack of time to head out on a first date, hair pulled in a messy bun.
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To create a messy top knot, lightly back brush the hair before twisting it up into a ponytail. Spray a light coating of hairspray and then gently move the brush from the end of the pony to the base. “This is to add some messy texture and hold as well,” Anthony explains. “I use the Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Volume Shine Hairspray for this since it is a
workable hairspray that keeps the hair flexible enough to brush and manoeuvre.”
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A sleek update on the top knot hairstyle on the next page…
Re-invent the polished look
Perfect for: A formal wedding
The trick to upgrading this look for a classy affair is to polish off the top knot with a sleek finish. Try tying up dry hair in a high pony and running a few drops of argan hair oil overtop before twisting to get that elegant, pulled-together knot. Or you can tie into a high pony instead, “and then use a large barrel iron on large sections—this will help ‘bend’ the hair,” says Anthony. “When you brush it out with a bit of oil and twist it up, it will be a bit fuller and still have brilliant polish.”
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Re-invent the accessorized bun
Perfect for: An afternoon at the art gallery
We’re taking our accessorizing cues from the Summer 2013 runways at Ashish and Vivienne Westwood (as well as the beloved favourite, Cher Horowitz) and upgrading the top knot this season with a retro scrunchie. “I loved this look,” says Anthony, about the scrunchie comeback. “The trick is to make the top knot completely first, and then add the scrunchie so that it becomes only an accessory—using it to keep hair in place will only make the hair near-impossible to settle in properly.” Don a scrunchie over the messy bun and pull out random pieces to add dimension, then add a texturizing spray for extra volume.
Play around with your look by mixing in different hair accessories—depending on the theme of the occasion. “If you want something a bit more whimsical, I love flowers or barrettes,” he says.
SUMMER HAIRSTYLES: 5 festival-worthy looks
How to try the braided knot and half bun on the next page…
Re-invent the braided knot
Perfect for: A music festival
The last thing you want to do in the blistering heat while rocking out to The Lumineers is fuss with your hair. Create a breezy, low-maintenance festival look by tying hair into a high ponytail, then sectioning into two messy braids. Spritz with your favourite beach spray to get that gritty texture into hair. (As with most top knots, the bun holds best on second-day hair—add in dry shampoo to texturize freshly washed locks.)
Once hair is braided, pull each one loose, to widen the braid as well as add texture to it. “Then wrap them up in a messy top knot for a very modern interpretation,” says Anthony.
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For a subtle braid twisted throughout the bun, create the ponytail, leaving out a small section. “Add some hairspray and braid the section loosely, and tie it off at the end with an elastic,” says Anthony. “Now toss it into the un-braided section of hair and style into a top knot. The braid will peek through here and there.”
Re-invent the half bun
Perfect for: A night out with the girls
Instead of pulling hair into a full-on top knot, create the messy bun with just the top half of hair, and flat iron the remaining bottom half for an edgy yet still sleek finish. “It changes the way an outfit looks completely, giving it a fresher younger look,” says Anthony about this half-up, half-down hairstyle. “I like to part the hair from ear to ear over the top of the crown and work that section into a knot,” he says. Make sure hair is blown-out and straightened before knotting it up.
To create a softer finish once hair is twisted into a bun, move the knot towards the back of the crown. “This works great when you want to make an entrance that is both in fashion and anti-fashion,” says Anthony. That’s all we needed to hear.