When you’re traveling or running to dinner, there’s nothing sexier than twisting your hair into a top knot. It gives you the ease and nonchalance of a classic French starlet. Lucky for us, my hair-genius friend Caroline shares the steps below, and the fabulous Jamie Beck took photos…

Steps and “after” photos below

“When I need a quick hairstyle, the messy top knot is my go-to. But sometimes, it’s not as quick and easy as I want it to be. Too floppy. Too tight. Too high. Re-doing the bun four or five times sort of defeats the purpose of a quick hairstyle, doesn’t it? So I came up with this foolproof quick knot that’s easy to nail the first time, and you’re out the door in under three minutes! Here we go…” — Caroline

1-2. Start putting your hair into a high ponytail, but don’t pull the hair all the way through the rubber band. You want to end up with a little loop on top with some hair left over at the bottom. (By the way, I love doing a top knot on hair that isn’t combed through, so I use my fingers to get my hair into place; that way, keeps some of the imperfect lumps and bumps. If you prefer a more polished look, you can comb your hair into a sleeker ponytail.) Tip: If your hair isn’t quite long enough to get a top knot, you can also wear the knot lower down on your head.

3. Take the section of hair that’s free from the rubber band and twist it.

4. Take the twist and wrap it around the base of the little loop of hair you created. If you have long hair, you may need to wrap it more than once. If you are wrapping it a few times, do it loosely…you don’t want it too tight and rigid.

5-6. Use bobby pins to pin the bun in place. I like to secure my bun with four pins: one in the front, one in the back and one on either side. You may have to use more if you have thicker hair. I’ve also found that “U” shaped pins work better to hold thicker hair. These specific pins are great because they have a rubberized texture that helps grip hair.

Optional: Sometimes I like to use a big barrette to add something extra. Tortoise shell is really big these days, and I love this clip. Easy and foolproof!

Thoughts? Would you wear your hair in a top knot? So beautiful.

P.S. More hair tutorials, including three twisted buns and a messy side ponytail.

(Photos by Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo. In the how-to photos, Caroline is wearing an Ace & Jig dress. Her red lipstick is Ruby Woo by MAC. In the lifestyle photos, Caroline is wearing a black maxi dress. (Another pretty one here.) Her belt is from J.Crew, and her necklace is from her own line, Brvtvs.)