Monday Musings: How I Tie My Button-Down Shirts and Getting In Shape

I hope this long weekend has you doing something fun for yourself. I’ve been reading, shopping, and pummeling my body. Just kidding, but I have embarked on a program to get fitter, which has me running for the Tylenol bottle on a regular basis. I’ll be turning 67 in a few weeks and feel like it’s time to up my game.

I had some exercise classes scheduled for the weekend, so I hit the Athleta store on Friday and bought a new pair of these Brooklyn Ankle pants. They’re great for working out, traveling, and everyday life.

Lagree Pilates

Saturday, I took my first Lagree Pilates class. I’ve taken other Pilates classes, but not for many years, and they were very different. Here’s how the Lagree technique differs from other forms of Pilates-

“The Lagree Method utilizes tried and proven bodybuilding training techniques not inherent to Pilates. The union of these bodybuilding techniques and low-impact qualities directly translates to rapid results. While Pilates is based on breathing, concentration, control, centering, flow postural alignment, and precision, Lagree Fitness is fundamentally based on the following, effective form, range of motion, tempo, duration, sequence, transition, tension, and plane of motion.” In other words, it’s tougher.

I had a fabulous instructor, and as usual for me, I overdid it. By Sunday, I was really feeling it. I took a yoga class that morning to help stretch things out, and my butt was so sore it was hard to sit on the mat! I’m planning to sign up for some personal training so I can learn how to add free weights to my routine without hurting myself. Ha! That horse left the barn. But seriously, we lose muscle quickly as we age, and I need to step up my game to retain and build what I can. Plus, it’s great for my bones.

Currently reading

After Pilates, all I could do was read, so I blew through and finished The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo.


It’s harder than usual to keep my eye on the page when the view is so pretty, but this book managed to hold my attention. There’s a fun twist at the end that caught me by surprise.

This week I’m reading The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday. It’s a bit of a cult classic, a Wall Street Journal bestseller. It draws inspiration from stoicism which focuses on the things we can control (our thoughts, emotions, and actions), while accepting the things we can’t, such as the actions of others or the natural course of events going on in the world around us. It’s the first in a series by this guy and has lots of positive reviews.

How I Tie My Button-Down Shirts at my waist

You often see me with my button-down shirts tied at my waist. I do it for many reasons. Some shirts seem too long or bulky to tuck in. Sometimes I just prefer a less structured look that feels more casual.

Several readers asked me to demonstrate how I do it, so I made a reel here, showing my exact steps.

It helps if the shirt is on the wider and longer side because it gives you more room to move around.

Upcoming Mega Sales

The Nordstrom Anniversary sale preview comes out today, and I will be scouting my favorites. Amazon Prime Days are also right around the corner. Are you looking for anything specific at the mega sales? What are you planning to buy during Amazon Prime Days? I’m working on my content and want to be sure to include a round-up of your favorites.

Have you updated or boosted your fitness routine lately? I’d love to know what you’re doing to stay in shape.


  1. Loved your shirt video also. Have always liked the look on you. Maybe I will try it with a few of my shirts. Speaking of exercising ….. I am still recovering from a two stage surgery in October to completely reconstruct my spine. My spine, still a mystery to my neurosurgeon, went totally straight. I could barely walk or stand for longer than 10 minutes. Now miraculously I am almost 100%. Going to physical therapy twice a week and exercising very hard to regain my strength. I am 73 and found out you just don’t bounce back like you used to. I commend you and all the ladies out there on their efforts to stay healthy and fit. I hope to become a “member” of that club very soon!!! Also to let you know I purchased the two Purito products you recommended on your site, the essence and the cream. So fat I am very happy with both. Thanks Jennifer

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your spine! It sounds like you’re on the right path to recovery. Thank goodness for great doctors.

  2. Very cool video! Thank you for walking us through your method for tying shirts. A white button is such a classic. Now I know how to tie it properly. Being 5ft3 and loving a button up shirt I’m grateful for the lesson. Your view is beautiful. I’d have a hard time concentrating too. Currently I’m taking an Essential Movement class for people over 50 and a yoga class. I can relate to the soreness. But it’s all good!

    1. I’m glad you liked it

  3. I have a canine exercise partner who must be walked if I want any peace! I recommend it. Need to get back to doing weights. Shopping for a blender on Prime Day.

    1. I know! I miss my sweet Lucy so much.

  4. I live in Sun City Roseville and love my exercise classes. 3X a week strength training 2X a week water aerobics. Having work out buddies helps to keep me coming to classes. Telling myself I will exercise at home never works for me!!.

    1. It is hard to motivate ourselves to do it at home. I agree.

  5. Jennifer – you are so lovely and have so many wonderful fashion and health tips. I am really enjoying your emails. Nothing is extreme and most folks can wear anything you are showcasing. I am 5’3″ , 75 a bit overweight but working out at the gym regularly. Only problem is a bad back and torn miniscus so can’t walk long distances. Trying to eat very clean for fuel but it is very difficult living with a husband that likes dessert! We love to travel, but walking around airports or standing up for long periods tires me out. Last trip to Venice, they forgot to pick us up – we didn’t speak the language to find our travel person. Any suggestions for travelling for an old gal so we don’t get stuck again. Your clothing suggestions are spot on. I just love you.

    1. You’re so kind, Judith thank you. A friend of mine swears by tours because she loves that someone else handles all the details. You might check into those.

  6. Due to an old back injury and its symptoms I basically do exercises which have been recommended by my physio therapist plus during the height of the C*vid Lockdown added a small/compact Rowing Machine to my exercise regime that has helped immensely. With that being said; also hopefully soon our air quality will improve (smoke from the forest fires in Quebec) so I can try some ‘exercises for back pain’ in our outdoor pool as not a pill-popper and swim like a rock …. Lol! i.e.: There is lots of excellent videos on YouTube for such and bonus, many use flotation devices. As to Amazon Prime deals currently don’t have anything on my wish list and sadly Nordstrom doesn’t ship to Canada. In closing, appreciated your video re tying a shirt. -Brenda-

    1. I swim like a rock too!! I’m stealing your expression, Brenda. Stay well.

  7. Thanks for all of your awesome fashion advice! I’ve been following you for the past two months. I’m headed to Japan in October and want to fit in with the women there (fashion wise). I have a lot of shopping to do because I’m a jeans/hoodie gal at heart but don’t want to stand out so much while visiting Tokyo! 😊 I can’t wait to see what the Nordstrom sales offer.

    1. I found the fashion in Tokyo amazing. Ladies dressed nicely. Not many jeans if at all. You’ll love it. I would go back in a second!!

  8. Thanks for the video on how you tie your shirts. Very helpful. My question is about the Athleta pants. I looked up the sizing chart but was unable to figure out what size might work for me: 5’3”, 133, waist 34, hip 38. I buy regular size ankle pants to get pants I don’t have to alter and petite size for true ankle pants.
    I am 71 now after a lifetime weight training in the gym, hiking, climbing, runner, etc. and finding that all exercise is still important. Older joints, and old injuries that seeded osteoarthritis mean that my body needs specialized attention to its joints. After a long search in which I failed to find trainers who could relate to that need, I found a yoga and strength teacher online who is knowledgeable about exercise for people in my situation. I combine her classes with walking. At this stage, I have accepted that I cannot recover the athletic body I once had but that I can remain active for all my remaining years by applying the word ‘gentle’ to exercise. It was not a change that came easily to this physically competitive woman!

    1. I need to heed your wise choice. I’m always expecting my body can do more just because it used to be able to. I’m one inch taller than you and ten pounds heavier. You could probably wear a 6 in those pants. My 10’s are a bit too loose on me.

  9. Good morning, Jennifer. I’ll be looking for winter sweaters at the Nordstrom sale and would love to see what you might find. Thank you in advance.

    1. Me too! I’ll be sharing some of the best I find.

  10. I, too, am looking for a new exercise regimen. I was in an accident during COVID which led to a hip replacement during the ensuing hospital stay and now a knee replacement on the same leg is scheduled. I love classes and Pilates and seems my gym (where my workout buddies are and I “love” them) cannot offer much pool aerobics. if anyone has suggestions of possibilities I would love to have suggestions! Thank you!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your accident, Terry. You’ve had a really hard time of it. I hope your knee surgery goes smoothly.

  11. Great looks but I have a question for you. The Brooklyn pants look tight at the ankle in the Athleta link but not on you. This reminds me of the lantern pants in the fall that looked very roomy on you unlike the description. Would you say the Brooklyn pants seem like a ,jogger/athletic pant or are they dressy enough for general wear? I’m seeking a very versatile pair of pants for a carry-on only vacation. Thanks

    1. I went up a size in these because I have been over indulging so perhaps that’s why the ankle look wider. These are a tapered shape with a slim ankle. They are dressy enought to travel in with the right footwear. I would certainly wear them to travel.

      1. suzanstew says:

        We traveled to France last year on a river cruise. Several of the women were wearing Brooklyn ankle pants. They seemed to be prefect for travel.

      2. They’re a wonderful fabric for travel.

  12. Have you ever tried the HOKA sneakers? I wear AA width just wondering how they run

    1. I just got my first pair! They’re so comfy!!

  13. Thank you for all the fashion advice. I really need it! I have found my 71 year old body shape is changing, and not in a good way, so exercise and a clean diet is my friend. For exercise I walk 4-5 miles 3 times a week. I also do Pilates for an hour 2x a week, and water aerobics 3-5 times a week. I have a lap pool at home so I swim or do my aerobics in the late afternoon so I don’t get too much sun on my skin. Trying to eat healthy and cut down on my daily wine. Just doing my best. I appreciate you sharing your challenges with exercise. We have to go about this slowly to prevent injuries. Good luck!

    1. Your routine sounds fabulous, Chris. I’m so inspired to read this. Thank you for sharing it. I may try water aerobics. I think my hip and knee joints will appreciate it.

  14. Love white shirts . If only I could keep it clean. Lol
    I belong to a gym ,and use the elliptical, bike , or treadmill. I might try Pilates . It’s all good , as long as we keep moving .

    1. I agree…moving is the most important thing we can do as we age.

  15. I really love Qigong and recommend Jeff Chand’s YouTube videos — interestingly, he’s in Victoria. Maybe you could interview him! Here’s his site, I have learned an incredible amount from him and am grateful for his videos:

    1. Thank you Bette. I’ll look into this bit sounds wonderful.

  16. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for your video. I’m very short-waisted and large busted so tying shirts always looked awful on me.But I tried your technique and it looked wonderful!

    1. Yay!! I’m so glad it worked for you. I think it looks best with drapier fabrics than crisp ones.

  17. Thanks for shirt tying tutorial….seems so simple yet the tips on rolling turning/tucking the buttons in are great to know. I see t-shirts done as well and was wondering if you could look into that and do one. Thank you.

  18. Hi Jennifer,Thank You for the video on tying a shirt. I will try your method as I haven’t been successful in the past. I started walking 4-5 days a week and doing some stretching along with it. I had a bad fall last week running errands. I had on my Birkenstock sandals and I think that might have been part of the problem. ☹️. I scraped up my face pretty bad so I am hoping to get back to walking this week. 😊

    1. Oh no, Denise! I’m so sorry to hear that. More and more, I need shoes that buckle or tie on for stability. Feel better soon.

  19. I’ve been wanting to take Pilates but just never get on with it. I didn’t know there were different methods. I must check out the studios and see who has the Lagree Method.
    I walk every morning, faithfully and do exercises at home. There are so many good videos making exercising at home easy. I started during Covid and have kept it up. Some afternoons I go to a different place to walk – at the marina, along the ocean, in the woods….Those are a bit more of a leisurely walk, just enjoying nature. It’s good for the soul.

    1. Those walks in nature are SO good for the soul. I wish I did more of them. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder, Joanna.

  20. Heather Chow says:

    Hi Jennifer!
    Too funny, but that’s exactly how I tie my shirts after a bit of experemtation.
    I’ve lost 70 pounds and kept it off for 3 years. I did it with o er a month of research into intermittent fasting and.decided to.give it a go! Worked for me and I threw in walking, my Ab Rocket , cut out snacking, sugar, flour.

    1. Congratulations! That’s fantastic Heather.

  21. Good morning, Jennifer.
    Thank you so much for the shirt-tying video. I’ve tried many times and never quite achieved your look–now I’ll try again!
    Question on the sizing of the Athleta pants-did you size up? We are traveling soon and those seem like great travel pants.
    Happy 4th!

    1. I did size up to a 10, but think the 8 would have been fine. The’ll be fantastic for travel.

  22. Good for you for attending to your health. It’s encouraging to watch women of our age commit to exercise. My mom was one of the few women who exercised at the local Y in our small town during the 60’s and 70’s. It may be one of the reasons she lived until 96, with a pretty healthy life until the last 2 years. It’s far more common to see women in their 60’s and beyond at the gym now. Perhaps you will be writing “What to Wear in Your Nineties” someday.
    I also loved the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. The key takeaways for me are that few lives are what they seem from the outside, and rich and famous does not guarantee happiness. I’m a latecomer to Lessons In Chemisty, which takes up
    my reading time.
    Just hours until the Anniversary preview opens. It reminds me of waiting for the toy catalogs before the holidays!

  23. Charlotte Bauguss says:

    I do 3 water aerobics classes/week–2 are focused on strength and balance and 1 is interval training at a higher intensity. Done in warm pool. As you noted muscle tone is lost very easily as we age. I am 82 and find I have to do it regularly or lose it!

  24. Oh thank you for the reel showing how to tie a shirt! I think it will take me some practice but this was very clear and it always looks just right on you.

  25. Thank you for the instructions on how to tie up a long shirt. That simple technique always looks great on you; I’m going to start trying it.
    After hurting my back multiple times in yoga class I switched to Tai Chi and joined a gym. I know our bodies need exercise but I’d rather do almost anything else!

    1. I’ve always been curious to try Tai Chi.

  26. Thanks for the “how to tie….”. Mine always look messy in back; now I see what you do (rolling up).
    I’m still walking 2-3 miles daily along with my Tai chi and. Yoga classes. I’m losing weight (not trying ) since celiac disease kicked in. No regular pizza or pasta or pastry or cookies or sconrs nor good breads anymore for me. Gluten free alternatives are not very tasty. So I eat more fruit and salad and fish or meats. Not by choice! But I’m still alive so for that I’m grateful!

    1. Celiac is a really tough challenge. I’m sorry you’re dealing with it, Paulette.

    2. Paulette, have you tried Simple Kneads sourdough gf breads? They are delicious (if you toast them) and they ship all over.

      1. Thanks for the tip. I try to eat as little gluten as I can

  27. Francesca B says:

    Hello Jennifer,
    This is so perfect thank you as l really want to nail “tying the shirt look” so thank you for that. Fitness is in my thoughts too as l have been on vacation eating everything l shouldn’t:
    amazing croissants for breakfast and ice cream at night ludicrous choices for a woman heading fast to 60 but so much fun. I have been following a fitness and food program for months and so l will get back to that when l am home tomorrow. I also like using weights and yoga and putting in 10,000 steps and intermittent fasting has really helped. But this vacation with my hubby has been bliss just what we needed.

    1. Vacations should be enjoyed! I know I’m eating things I shouldn’t but life seems too precious not to occasionally treat ourselves.

  28. Thanks for showing how to tie the shirt. Now, pls tell us abt the gauze shirt. Where did u get it, is it as cool as linen, etc.
    I teach Silver Sneakers, an exercise program free with many insurances. It targets all body parts & flexibility, posture, etc. I love it! I also go to Pilates twice a week.

  29. I know what you mean about overdoing it at the gym. I’ve had to learn to pace myself especially with arthritis. I received the Nordstrom anniversary sale magazine. Can’t wait to check out the sale. I like how you tie your shirts. I have a few that come already tied or knotted, I like that. Happy 4th 🇱🇷

  30. Pat Patterson says:

    Good morning Jennifer, you look terrific in your shirt video, you must be having the most wonderful, relaxed vacation. Have a great week and continued vacation🇺🇸😎

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