Because we love lightweight tops with sleeves…

Lightweight tops with sleeves. More at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve been taking stock of my warm-weather wardrobe and evaluating what might need a refresh. One category that always seems to be near the top of my wish list is lightweight tops with sleeves. Not basic tees, but print tops and blouses that can provide a focal point for an outfit when it’s too warm to layer.

Yes, some of you may live where it’s already hot and humid and will shudder at the idea of wearing anything with sleeves. But for those of us who either “run cold” or live where it’s milder (or just prefer a little arm coverage), I’ve rounded up some this season’s fresh styles.

Lightweight Tops With Sleeves

It’s been my experience that sleeveless tops are relatively easy to find, but styles with a little more arm coverage (especially in breathable, lightweight fabrics) are a bit more elusive. For this roundup, I’ve looked for wear-now-wear-later styles in mostly natural fibers (cotton, linen). And yes, they’re all washable!

Knits

If you’re shopping for basic, solid tees, the world is pretty much your oyster. Everlane has some good ones. If you like a more substantial fabric, Lands’ End Supima cotton is a good alternative.

Chico's touch of cool ballet neck tee in Iris.

For a more refined look, try a tee with a slim elbow sleeve. This one is a cotton/modal blend, available in several colors (and some prints), sizes 00 (0/2) to 4 (20-22). And here’s a similar style with a v-neck.

J.Jill pima cotton knit v-neck top in navy/white stripe.

Here’s a classic navy and white stripe in a pima cotton knit v-neck. This one’s offered in Misses, Petite, Plus, and Tall sizes.

Chico's linen split neck tunic.

If you love the breathability of linen but hate the wrinkles, try a linen knit! This split neck tunic comes in several colors, (and stripes) sizes 00 (0/2) to 4 (20-22).

Ann Taylor linen tee in berry print.

Fruit prints are a fun alternative to florals. This linen tee with a berry print is offered in Misses sizes XXS (00) to XXL (18) and in Petites.

Madewell Parkview ringer henley tee.

I love the interesting color combo on this 100% organic cotton henley tee. Sizes XX-Small to XX-Large.

Woven Tops

Nic + Zoe "perk up" top with coffee cup print.

With a retro coffee cup print, you know this top has my name all over it! 😍 Fabric is rayon, offered in Misses & Petite sizes. Plus HERE.

Rails dip-dye lightweight cotton shirt. More lightweight tops with sleeves at une femme d'un certain age.

Sure, you can opt for a plain white shirt, but this subtle dip-dye is an interesting touch. 100% cotton, sizes XX-Small to XX-Large.

Chico's ombre stripe no-iron linen shirt.

I love the little bit of floral print peeking out from the placket of this striped no-iron linen shirt! Sizes 00 (0/2) to 4 (20-22).

J.Crew cotton voile floral print top.

Summer romance: the soft floral print on this cotton voile top is just so pretty! Sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Amour Vert Valentina eyelet detail top.

Here’s a breezy white top with eyelet detail, sustainably produced from 100% “upcycled” cotton.

Everlane silky cotton shirt green stripe.

A relaxed button front shirt can be a versatile player in a summer wardrobe. Wear it loose or knotted with relaxed trousers, as a swimsuit cover-up, or open over a tank. Blue stripes are nice, but how about this pear green? The fabric is “silky cotton,” which is very lightweight and soft.

Anthropologie Maeve lobster print button front top with puffed sleeves.

And finishing up with something fun and whimsical…this lobster print blouse is 100% cotton and available in Misses and Petite sizes.

Warm Weather Ahead: More Lightweight Tops…

Stay in touch.

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14 Comments

  1. Elisa
    May 5, 2021 / 7:50 am

    Thank you Susan. You have put together a wonderful collection of summery tops with sleeves. I love the diversity of styles, and the coffee cups and lobsters will be coming to me. Your posts always are very helpful!

  2. Rita
    May 5, 2021 / 8:39 am

    I prefer full length sleeves that I can roll or push up, or let down to full length if I go into a building with air conditioning that feels too cold.

  3. Rita Prangle
    May 5, 2021 / 8:39 am

    I prefer full length sleeves that I can roll or push up, or let down to full length if I go into a building with air conditioning that feels too cold.

  4. Eve
    May 5, 2021 / 9:15 am

    It gets cold in grocery stores and restaurants here on the MS Gulf Coast. They believe in AC in the Summer. Lots of it so you really need a sleeve. Linen in our hot and humid climate can look dreary..but rayon is fine and light weight cotton. I try to keep to the type of sleeves that flow and are loose at bottom. I love the coffee cup and the square neck white, but the Ochre and ecru checks has my eye the most. I love the colors.

  5. May 5, 2021 / 9:26 am

    Good round-up. I am always looking for such blouses/tops as well. Luckily I have quite a lot now. Love the pear green striped shirt but I bet it looks a lot better on her beautiful dark skin than on my pale skin. The lobster blouse is totally my style but the collar isn’t.
    Greetje

  6. Pat
    May 5, 2021 / 1:01 pm

    Thanks for the sleeves , they are hard to find and still stay cool.. I live in the south ….hot and muggy so really need something beside t’s to up my game some .

    • Lee Ann
      May 6, 2021 / 10:10 am

      Pat, I hear ya! I’m in the south, too. It’s SO hard to find nice tops with sleeves that breathe! Too often, the tops I find are synthetics which are horrible for hot, humid days. I love the “idea” of sleeveless, but my 60-year old arms just need a little coverage.

  7. MaryInMaryland
    May 5, 2021 / 5:38 pm

    I find v-necks much more flattering than crewneck, boatneck or similar. There are three v-neck tops featured, but two have horizontal stripes and one has puff sleeves (cannot wait for those to disappear as the milkmaid look is not my fashion goal), so sadly nothing that tempts. And I want to be tempted, as my tabletop dressing game needs help with so many hours of on-camera meetings.

    • Robyn
      May 6, 2021 / 3:02 am

      Susan has done a wonderful job with variety. As I am learning we all have a style personality. What shines on one dulls on another. Like you the fashion trends for a while haven’t been the best for me but on others they look beautiful. I just ordered some plain old black and white t-shirts from Landsend and hope they’ll do. I usually don’t buy from them but their tees are nice.

  8. Judy B
    May 5, 2021 / 5:49 pm

    Good selection of tops with sleeves, especially long or three-quarter sleeves. Actually, I find those kinds of tops cooler because they provide a shield from the hot sun. I’m really tempted by the ochre and ecru checked Sezane blouse.

  9. RoseAG
    May 6, 2021 / 5:13 am

    I’ve been seeing those Madewell “ringer” t shirts for a couple of months now and at first I didn’t care for them, but they’ve grown on me. The band at the neck isn’t exactly my ‘nude’ but it seems like it would give the illusion of a slightly more scooped neckline, without the skin/sun exposure.
    A way to get some neckline interest in warm weather without the weight of a scarf or itch of a necklace.

  10. Susan
    May 6, 2021 / 7:29 am

    Thank you for this recap of summer shirts with sleeves. Nice to know of many options.
    I stopped into the Nic and Zoe store near my home this week, and can testify that coffee cup shirt is a winner close up. The material is quite soft and light, and the coffee cup print fun and a bit subtle. The neck line can be open to a V for those who prefer that style.

  11. May 9, 2021 / 5:11 am

    “Sportlich elegante” is a German phrase my grandmother’s generation (from Germany) used. You nailed it! It’s a style that works well for today’s world. Personally, for me this used to be my Casual Friday way of dressing. Now it’s the norm.

    I’ve loved your newly curated wardrobe and topics and suggestions you share with us. I’ve learned a lot and been inspired. Thanks for keeping it real!

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