Style Hunt: Lightweight Tops With Sleeves

Lightweight tops with sleeves! A summer outfit with a floral print top, white jeans, fedora, slingback sandals and rattan bag. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

With my own (early) Summer travel wardrobe in mind, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for some lightweight tops with sleeves. I find that unless it’s sweltering, a 3/4 sleeve top in a breathable fabric can be comfortable in warm conditions, as well as providing some protection from the sun.

Above: Hat | Earrings | Bracelet | Sandals | Top (Plus) | Jeans | Bag

Specifically, I’m looking for tops that:

  • are casual, but more polished than a tee
  • have enough visual interest to make an outfit look finished when it’s too warm for another layer
  • have sleeves that can be pushed or rolled up
  • could also be worn underneath a jacket or sweater if needed
  • aren’t too stiff and corporate
Blue and white stripe gauzy cotton popover shirt from Frame. Details at une femme d'un certain age

Blue and white stripes are a perennial. You can roll up the sleeves on this gauzy cotton top.

Caslon striped long sleeve top. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a budget-friendly option, with roll-tab sleeves. (Other colors available too.)

Lightweight tops with sleeves! A plus size cotton blend shirt in colorful stripes. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This plus-size option in a cotton blend has fun, colorful stripes.

J.Crew Liberty Print floral top with ruffled neck. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Floral prints are big this season, and I’ve seen a lot of pretty options. The Liberty print floral on this cotton top is just soooo good!

Vince poppy print pleated blouse. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I usually try to steer clear of polyester, but this top is lightweight, breezy, and looks SO much better in person than it does online. (I thought it was silk until I read the care tag.) It can also be worn open as a light jacket, and won’t wrinkle, so has travel wardrobe potential.

J.Crew white eyelet wrap top. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Covered but cool: the eyelet panels on the sleeves of this cotton wrap top provide both ventilation and visual interest.

Caslon cotton jersey wrap top in royal blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a nice compromise between the comfort of a tee, and something a bit more structured. (Several colors available, and some in Plus too.)

Rails polka dot chambray shirt. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Polka dots are a fun touch, and elevate this chambray shirt. The fabric on this one is a Tencel blend, which gives it softness and drape, while still being cool and breathable.

What’s your sleeve length preference?

More Lightweight Tops With Sleeves

Stay in touch.

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22 Comments

  1. Eleni
    May 30, 2019 / 5:06 am

    Lovely choices, much appreciate the heads up for summer tops. A thank you for doing all the research.

  2. Ainsivalavie
    May 30, 2019 / 5:06 am

    I have a couple of NYDJ tops that I bought on sale at Nordstrom and are cool but covered as well as a Joie silk blouse which is lovely although a bit clingy in humid weather. ( if you have watched Wine Country on Netflix one of the characters is wearing the same blouse in navy with cherries:)
    My issues with some of these lighter summer tops is the low cut. I need to wear a camisole for modesty as I am busty and the extra layer gets warm! I have found these little lace ‘foolers’ that snap on to my bra and cover the cleavage. I bought them at a bra boutique but I expect they could be found on Amazon too.

    • Rhonda
      May 30, 2019 / 12:23 pm

      That’s a great idea! I’m very petite so tops are often too low cut for me, especially at work. I am going to look for those lace pieces.

  3. May 30, 2019 / 5:20 am

    I am always on the look-out for such tops as well. My reason is the wrinkles on my arms. So bad, I really want to hide them and still be cool and comfortable.
    Greetje

  4. May 30, 2019 / 5:41 am

    Good idea, Sue. I’ve been shopping for something similar, but it’s tricky getting the neckline and proportion right. So many are too low cut, like Ainsivalavie says above. Or too boxy and fluffy for me. I tried on three or four at Nordstrom last week with no luck, and then saw some lovely ones at Anthropologie. But by then I couldn’t be bothered trying anything else on. It seems these days I only have so many off-on-off-on sessions in me before I get cranky and need to go home. Hopefully I’ll get back to Anthropologie before they sell out. If not I’ll have to make do with what’s in my closet.

  5. Jill
    May 30, 2019 / 5:53 am

    Thanks for doing the legwork to find these tops. I ordered two this morning.

  6. Linda
    May 30, 2019 / 7:47 am

    I am glad you included a less expensive gauzy blouse at Nordstrom. I I would not want to invest almost $300 for a causal top.

    • May 30, 2019 / 4:12 pm

      I really liked the modestly-priced one- Caslon? I preferred its deeper and more present stripes to the other’s, far too pale and pastel for me. But above all that beautiful green. It has a feminine shape but a utilitarian, craft-worker’s style. I’ve worked in visual arts and other “hands-on” occupations; it speaks to me.

  7. Carla
    May 30, 2019 / 8:20 am

    Thanks for all the ideas on tops. In addition to the arm issue many travel destinations frown on bare arms. I was thinking of purchasing a couple of NYDJ three quarter sleeve tops for an upcoming trip. My concern is that they are polyester , the prints are so nice and lightweight. Does anyone have experience or advice on these tops, do they hold heat and get stinky?
    Love the liberty top.

    • Elizabeth
      May 30, 2019 / 10:10 am

      Carla, I would stay away from polyester if you are hoping to remain cool. It’s not a natural fiber and doesn’t breathe. Certainly it has the advantage of not wrinkling, but that comes at a huge price (scary chemicals and polluting the environment, just to name two). I would suggest some linen knit tops from J Jill or Talbots. I’ve also seen some at TJ Maxx.

      • Carla
        May 30, 2019 / 5:47 pm

        Thanks

  8. Margie
    May 30, 2019 / 8:34 am

    Chico’s had a blue/white-striped button front tunic that I purchased last year….love it. I believe they are stocking it again this year…it’s light/floaty…get many compliments.

  9. Lisa B
    May 30, 2019 / 9:05 am

    Love that Vince blouse but the sleeves are always too long. Did you try it on? If so, how was the sleeve length? I ordered the Vince oversized space dyed dress/tunic. Hasn’t arrived yet but know already it will have to be tailored. Was so hoping they’d start a line of petites as I just love their clothing. I ordered one of those pleated dresses they’ve been featuring and it was so long it pooled on the floor. Not a good look for someone 5’2″.
    Thanks for the long sleeve suggestions. Ordered the Anthro Lena blouse. Stay tuned!

    • Susan B
      May 30, 2019 / 9:26 am

      Hi Lisa, actually the sleeves weren’t too long on that one, they hit just at my wrist. But yes, Vince clothing does seem to run long usually.

  10. Shawn
    May 30, 2019 / 9:53 am

    Love all these options! I’m planning a trip where it will be sweltering. What does one wear in those conditions?

    • Susan B
      May 30, 2019 / 11:47 am

      Linen! 🙂

  11. Rondi
    May 30, 2019 / 1:03 pm

    Some very pretty tops! I will, however, still wear sleeveless if it suits the situation. I have one tip for those asking about staying cool in hot weather. Wear a cotton bra. Wear cotton clothing and cotton undies including your bra. Polyester just doesn’t breathe.

  12. Alanna
    May 30, 2019 / 3:17 pm

    Love the tan accessories with the navy and white outfit. You have such great styling ideas.

  13. Barb
    May 30, 2019 / 3:22 pm

    Thanks for all the good tips! Equipment brand also has great blouses and you can find them on sale! They meet all your criteria, long sleeves, feminine, and timeless.

  14. Janey
    May 30, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    Some great options, thanks. I am always looking for long or even short sleeved summer tops that are less clingy than a t shirt, but not baggy. I often roll long sleeved tops up to elbow length, but for some reason I just do not like 3/4 length sleeves.

  15. Geri
    May 31, 2019 / 11:19 am

    Love these options, thanks always for including plus sizes in your lovely recommendations!

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