The Best Handkerchief Tops for Easy Style All Summer Long

An ode to the early aughts classic.

Handkerchief Top Hailey Bieber


Many of us remember the days when Beyoncé and Britney Spears would perform in handkerchief tops, and amidst a Gen Z-driven resurgence of 2000s style, the look is back and better than ever in 2021. Styled in endless ways, it has fast become the tie-back, printed version of the LBD. By showing off your shoulders and finishing in a pointed V, this piece can pull together a look no matter your aesthetic. From colors to prints, handkerchief tops are instantly covetable, and you’ll definitely want to be wearing this look all summer long.

Celebrity looks from the early aughts featuring handkerchief tops create the ultimate style inspiration for the trend's current return. "One of my all-time favorite red carpet moments was Jennifer Aniston at the 1999 SAG Awards," recalled Los Angeles-based stylist and creative director Jacqueline Zenere. "Her two-piece black set is the gold standard of handkerchief style. I always keep scarves in my kit (LeScarf is my go-to), and I use them as a last-minute belt, either cummerbund-style or in belt loops. I’ve wrapped [scarves] around wrists, added them to bag handles, and even tied them around the neck. I’m so happy to see the resurgence of head scarves, either Queen Elizabeth style, exemplified by Balenciaga; or flashing back to Sarah Jessica Parker, courtesy of Patricia Field—the handkerchief top is the most stylish and versatile piece in your wardrobe."

Handkerchief Tops '90s Inspiration Jennifer Aniston Sarah Jessica Parker

Design by Cristina Cianci

One of the best things about the handkerchief top trend is that you can also get your DIY on and create your own one-of-a-kind version using any silk scarf in your wardrobe, giving a whole new meaning to recycled fashion. Whether you fold yours into a rectangle and secure it at the back or tie two scarves together for the ultimate crossover style, the options are endless. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best handkerchief tops to get you through the summer months.

Area Crystal-Embellished Handkerchief Top
Area Crystal-Embellished Handkerchief Top $525.00

From the cream shade to the bedazzled neckline to the pretty tied back, this just may be the going-out handkerchief top of your dreams.

ASOS Design Tie Back Bandana Satin Scarf Top
ASOS Design Tie Back Bandana Satin Scarf Top $26.00

An affordable find in the perfect early-aughts neutral, this top is sure to turn heads no matter how you style it.

1. State Handkerchief Top
1. State Handkerchief Top $49.00

You can't go wrong with classic black, and this handkerchief top shines whether you pair it with denim for errands or with a miniskirt for a night out.

Superdown Cora Asymmetrical Top
Superdown Cora Asymmetrical Top $60.00

If you prefer a more unique take on the handkerchief top trend, try an asymmetrical hem in a TikTok-approved shade of green.

Dion Lee Woodgrain Leaf Back Top
Dion Lee Woodgrain Leaf Back Top $290.00

Embrace nature in the concrete jungle with a wood print.

Free People Raya Bandana Top
Free People Raya Bandana Top $48.00

Bring joyful nostalgia to your next picnic or shopping outing with this fun, summery print.

Cotton On Ruby Bandana Tie Top
Cotton On Ruby Bandana Tie Top $25.00 $10.00

We can't help but call this floral handkerchief top a groundbreaking staple—just look at how the easy, barely-there silhouette elevates a summer ensemble.

4th + Reckless Adelaide Tie-Back Bandana Top
4th + Reckless Adelaide Tie-Back Bandana Top $35.00

Look as bright as the sky with a handkerchief top in a cheery shade of blue.

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