12 Cute Summer Tops


I LOVE a cute summer top. While I’ve had almost zero luck in the Basic White Tank department (still searching, 3-4 years later), I’ve found myself purchasing one or two really amazing summer tops instead, then wearing the heck out of them. I primarily wear these summer tops with denim cut-offs and/or tailored black shorts (but they obviously look cute with jeans, too).

There’s no easier way to pull together a cute outfit on a hot summer day than to simply start with a statement-making (yet comfortable) summer top. So. As I started my usual hunt for the best tops for this summer, I found…a lot. I don’t quite know what’s going on with brands this year, but it’s a cute summer top bonanza.

The Best Summer Tops (To Wear With Cut-Offs, Black Shorts, Or Jeans)

the best summer statement tops to wear with denim shorts

I narrowed my favorites down to the 12 best summer tops (I tried for a top 10 list and failed). For each of these tops, I wanted to make sure that I could wear them with jeans, denim cut-offs, and/or black shorts. The black shorts I’m wearing this summer are either my tailored Alice + Olivia shorts (size 6) or my Athleta shorts (they honestly look more like ‘real’ shorts than athletic shorts). I’m still wearing an old pair of Levi cut-offs (size up) but am seriously considering these cool Madewell shorts for a sophisticated twist.

12 Cute Tops For Summer

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12

1. J.Crew Lace-Trim Cropped Top

J.Crew lace trimmed cropped summer top with button-front and tie-waist


This vintage-inspired J.Crew top looks like something from Doên (that brand I’m obsessed with), but for a fraction of the cost. It’s made from 100% regenagri-certified cotton (you can learn more about the regenerative process here…and Forbes actually has a good article on why it *may* be a smart way forward), and is available in sizes XXS – 3X. Reviewers say it runs big. Normally I’m a white-summer-top kind of girl (and this one DOES come in white)…there’s something about the black that’s calling my name. I’m excited to pick this one up.

2. Sezane Lara Blouse

Sezane Lara v-neck summer top with tie-straps


Oh help. Sezane – a French brand that was founded on sustainable commitments from the beginning – has managed to make my perfect summer top. It’s flirty, interesting, and a little girl-next-door. It’s also available in a textured coral-red that is absolutely jaw dropping, too, but it’s this not-quite-ditsy floral that is making my heart beat fast. It’s made from 100% silk (with a viscose lining) and is OKEO-TEX certified. Available in sizes 2-14 (and reviewers say it runs big).

3. Staud Dover Strapless Top

Staud Dover strapless pleated summer top

strapless top

THIS is the top that literally stopped me in my online tracks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more quietly stunning top, like…ever. It vibes Cool-Girl, like something one would casually throw on with jeans for an art gallery opening and make everyone else feel fussy and overdressed. The shape is stunning, and the neutral, understated color is genius.

4. DÔEN Henri Voile Eyelet Top

DOEN Henri voile eyelet summer blouse

eyelet top

Ahhh I have this in blue print!! It’s freaking phenomenal. Not only does it look Bridget Bardot sexy tucked into high-rise jeans, but it actually looks cute untucked, too, with baggier jeans (or shorts). Buttoned up higher, it can even go to the office. Highly recommend.

5. Pilcro Short-Sleeve Pocket Tee

Anthropologie Pilcro short-sleeve striped tee


Know when you get sick of your “boring” tees and just want something…fun? This one. Still a tee, still easy, but a little something extra.

6. Kule Terry Polo

Kule terry short-sleeve polo


I want this so much it hurts (I also want her bright orange manicure, too). But I love the irreverent material (terrycloth, like those Boden hooded towels for kids), and the crisp, white collar. It makes the whole thing a little more gamine. I’d buy this oversized, and probably wouldn’t tuck it in.

7. Rails Blythe Cotton Lace Crop Top

Rails Blyth cotton lace tie-front crop top

lace top (also at Nordstrom)

Swingy little white tops are the unsung heros of my summer outfits. I especially love that this one could be worn with a regular bra – look at those thick straps!! – but has a sexy-but-safe peekaboo situation. That said, I’d probably wear it with a colorful bra (or even black) since the bra will show a bit in the front (this bra, or this one or even something like this one would work).

8. Reformation Addy Top

Reformation Addy halter top

top (also at Nordstrom)

100% cotton, sustainably made, also in black. The kind of understated (but cool), everyday top I sometimes end up owning in 2 colors.

9. Marie Oliver Giselle Striped Cropped Top

Marie Oliver Giselle striped cotton one-shoulder top

striped top

I’m deeply curious about this stunning top. I do NOT want it to fit like a brami…and after looking at it from all angles, I think it will fit more like a top than a bra. It looks like it would work really well with high-rise shorts – either denim cut-offs or – for a really chic twist – black, tailored shorts (that navy, white and black combo is just so good). This top screams CHIC VACATION, BABE and yes.

10. Frame Striped Cotton T-Shirt

Frame striped cotton t-shirt

tee (also at Nordstrom)

Frame is annoying because their tees always have some sort of perfect freaking detail that takes me on internet-wide deep hunt for something similar…only to end up back here. This tee is a good example – it’s the breath of fresh air of striped tees. Is it because of the ocean-inspired color? The perfect cut? The white banded neck? Is it the combo of all three? I DON’T KNOW. But someone over at Frame is a damn clever genius.

11. Free People Flowers Of Love Top

Free People floral embroidered summer top


This looks like a top that I could’ve found in an old trunk in my grandmother’s attic. Or…quite frankly…something my mother may have dressed ME in when I was three. In either case, I can totally make this work again. NOTE: it’s very sheer. I am undeterred.

12. Cami NYC Chels Lace-Trimmed Cami

Cami NYC lace-trim v-neck cami


Oh gosh – the detail on this baby is STUNNING. It’s a cotton/viscose blend, and another really understated statement piece. I can’t stop thinking about it. Obviously it’ll look great with denim cut-offs, but I think it could bring some amazing texture to an all white outfit, too.

More Cute Tops Over $100

More Cute Tops Under $100

A few of you were asking for some affordable options. And per usual, most of these tops are 100% cotton, linen, or natural fibers.

Now…which one(s) should I get? GAHHHHHH.




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