The TikTok Hack That Gives Your Basic Long Sleeves A Whole New Life

Making your wardrobe sustainable is a wise choice for both your wallet and the planet. But if "waste not, want not" is your fashion motto, you may find yourself feeling stumped by those older clothing pieces that you simply don't wear anymore. As we head into the summer, one of the biggest culprits of the repurposing challenge are those old long sleeve shirts. A long sleeve shirt is an essential clothing item, but when a shirt is stretched out or no longer suits your style, it can quickly get thrown into the closet floor graveyard. If this sounds familiar, don't throw out that long sleeve shirt yet — there's a clever way to reinvent that tired staple piece and make your wardrobe feel brand new.


You don't need to know how to sew to breathe new life into a long sleeve shirt, either. With this easy hack courtesy of TikTok, you can refresh your long sleeve shirt without picking up a needle.

Turn a long sleeve into an open back top

This trending TikTok hack can completely transform your old long sleeve shirt. As seen in a video by TikTok user @julialitworaa, the styling trick is quick, easy, and offers fabulous results.

Start by holding the long sleeve shirt flat against your torso. Fold the neckline down so the top of the shirt is in a straight line. Next, tilt the shirt slightly so one sleeve is higher than the other. Drape the higher sleeve over your shoulder. Then, take the remaining sleeve and wrap it behind your waist so that the sleeves can reach each other, and tie the sleeves in a knot against your back. If the top is too loose, you can take one of the sleeves hanging out from the knot and tie it to the corner of the tilted shirt hem that falls at your waist for extra tightness.


The finished look will be a cute one-shoulder top, reminiscent of a scarf top. The angled bottom hem of the tilted shirt will form a stylish triangle point, while the back will be fairly exposed, similar to a tie-back or halter top. The results are flirty and carefree, perfect for a hot summer day or special date night.

Does the long sleeve TikTok hack really work?

It looks good in a video, but does this TikTok hack actually work in real life? Turning your long sleeve to an open-back top is certainly possible, but it's not a guaranteed success for everyone. The proper shirt for this trick needs to be stretchy. A small shirt with no stretch won't reach all the way around your back, while an oversized shirt with no stretch might reach, but it likely won't be tight enough to stay in place across your chest.


The other caveat to this hack has to do with comfort and personal taste. If you tie a long sleeve shirt around your back and wear it as a top, you'll have minimal coverage and support. This can be tricky if you have a larger chest or prefer shirts that cover a little more skin. You could still make it work by adjusting how you tie the shirt back and experimenting with layers, but it won't be as quick and easy a styling method as you see in videos on TikTok.

Overall, the long-sleeve to open-back top method is a useful trick if you want to add longevity to your cheaper, fast fashion clothing. Just make sure you're starting out with the right style of long sleeve shirt and be prepared to make some adjustments to get the look you want.