On My Style Radar: Lightweight Tops With Sleeves

Lightweight tops with sleeves for women. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The weather’s warming up and once again I’m on the lookout for lightweight tops with sleeves. With summer collections now in, and selection still good, it seemed like an opportune time for an update.

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!


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.

J.Jill Pima Cotton scoop neck tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

But if you’re looking for something a little more refined, here’s a scoop neck tee with a bit of shape and flattering elbow sleeves. This one’s available in Misses, Petite and Plus sizes, in several soft, pretty colors.

J.Jill striped v-neck cotton tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Striped tees with a v-neck aren’t always easy to find. This 100% Pima cotton top is available in Misses, Petites, Plus and Tall sizes, and in lots of solid colors too.

Lands' End supima cotton polo shirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A cotton knit polo shirt offers the comfort of a tee, but with a little more structure. This one is offered in Misses, Petites, Tall and Plus sizes in over a dozen colors.

Chico's cotton blend slub tee. Details and more lightweight tops with sleeves at une femme d'un certain age.

This cotton-modal blend tee has tab sleeves and a flattering rounded hem. Several colors available in Misses (02-22) & Petite sizes.

Talbot's gradient polka dot tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Stripes are always classic, but so are polka dots. This black and white (hello, Winters!) polka dot tee is available in Misses, Petite, Plus, and Plus Petite sizes.

Woven Tops

J.Jill striped linen easy shirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A slightly oversized shirt like this one looks great worn on its own, or as a lightweight topper over a tank or tee. In Misses, Petite, Plus & Tall sizes.

Everlane silky cotton lantern shirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Cotton, but make it soft. This “silky cotton” fabric has a worn-in feel, and is drapey without being limp. The collarless style and gathered sleeves give it a more feminine vibe. Sizes 00-16, and more colors.

Foxcroft Plus striped linen shirt in easy care fabric. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I think the colors in this striped “easy care” linen top are so pretty! Also in a blue stripe in Plus sizes.

Chico's lemon print linen shirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Citrus prints are always so fun and summery! This no-iron linen shirt is available in sizes 0-22.

Alex Mill tonal stripe cotton popover shirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This light cotton popover has a subtle tonal stripe.

Chico's tie-dye tie-front top. Details and more lightweight tops with sleeves at une femme d'un certain age.

This is just the thing to wear for your next Zoom cocktail party! Sizes 0-22.

Warm Weather Ahead: More Lightweight Tops…

Stay in touch.

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  1. Mary
    March 26, 2020 / 5:17 am

    Sound like you have some sources for cute sleeveless tops. Can you suggest some? Thanks.

  2. Becky
    March 26, 2020 / 6:13 am

    Susan, I just wanted to comment on how much I look forward to reading your posts now more than ever. I appreciate all you do to share a lighthearted diversion during this new normal of “Staying Home” . THANK YOU !

  3. Linda P
    March 26, 2020 / 7:13 am

    Susan. I enjoy your posts! Keep them coming!

  4. PatB
    March 26, 2020 / 8:32 am

    Thanks for this upbeat, practical post. Very helpful while we all try to keep well and be positive.

  5. Shawn
    March 26, 2020 / 8:54 am

    Wow! I feel like I’ve hit the motherlode of cute tops! Thanks!!

  6. Rita
    March 26, 2020 / 8:57 am

    I generally prefer long sleeves. That way, I can wear as is when the AC is too cold, but then I can roll up to bracelet, 3/4, or even elbow length. I see the longer shirts tend to have straight hems, that is a good thing. Because, a long knit top with a rounded hem will start to flip up. I have a couple of those near my sewing machine that I intend to straighten, once I finish making some masks!

    • Rita
      March 26, 2020 / 9:00 am

      I do love the EF handkerchief linen tops!

      • Susan Blakey
        March 26, 2020 / 9:31 am

        Me too!

  7. Jan Whichard
    March 26, 2020 / 10:24 am

    Your blog in my e mailbox is like a petite present I get to unwrap each morning. Thank you.

    I was thinking and then decided that when this situation is behind us, people will need items they had planned on buying but now can’t. So…I’m going through every room in my house and identifying what I can donate of good quality. Clothes, shoes, kitchenware, furniture items, office supplies, etc.

    Also, I note people up here in the Sacramento area who have citrus trees are picking the fruit this year And giving it away instead of letting it rot on the tree. Also any unwanted canned and sealed food stuffs can go over to the food bank.

    Never had this kind of time on my hands. My law practice is at a standstill. I’m virtual with my grandkids who live nearby. Very odd.

  8. Gayle
    March 26, 2020 / 12:06 pm

    I really appreciate your selection of tops with sleeves. I want to cover up my uppers arms. I’m too old for tanks, camis and short sleeves.

    But another issue is that I am short, particularly short waisted. Lots of tops are too long on me. And most don’t come in petite. So, how do you shorten a knit, like a t-shirt? I have a sewing machine, but hemming with that doesn’t seem to work very well.

    • Lyn
      March 27, 2020 / 9:15 am

      I sew as well and have struggled with “wavy” looking hem seams. Try a water soluable stabilizer like Solvy. Cut it in long strips about 1″ wide and pin it along the intended hem line. Use a slightly longer stitch length on knits — try 4.0.
      Or, even easier — Lands End and LL Bean have a lot of petite tops. Lands’ End often has exact garment measurements online. For Bean, I usually call them for garment measurements before I buy. Their idea of “regular fit” and my idea are often different — I’d rather get the measurements and decide for myself.

      • Gayle Murphy
        March 27, 2020 / 10:10 am

        Thank you. And I think you are right. Just buy petite tops that are shorter in the body and be done with it.

        All the best, particularly in these so difficult times.

        Gayle Murphy

  9. JMod
    March 26, 2020 / 5:14 pm

    Thank you. I ordered the polka dot shirt. Love your posts.

  10. March 27, 2020 / 12:30 pm

    Thanks! I love these suggestions!

  11. May 7, 2020 / 6:48 am

    I do think a top should always have something extra. Be it the pattern, the cut, the fabric (lace?) or a funky detail. Just a solid colour T-shirt never makes it to my wardrobe. Perhaps an unusual colour or a basic for underneath something.

    • Susan Blakey
      May 7, 2020 / 7:49 am

      I agree!

  12. Ariss
    May 7, 2020 / 9:52 am

    Thanks for this post! I prefer long sleeves during summer and these tops can be hard to find.

  13. Joie Scott
    May 8, 2020 / 1:36 pm

    Thank you for all of these ideas and links!! I made the switch a few years ago to (mostly) sleeved tops and find I am actually cooler in these than almost any thick t-shirt.

    I have purchased several of these lightweight tunics and love them – wash and wear beautifully.

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