You know what I don’t like?
Because outside of the world of graphic tees (or oversized tees in general), most of the remaining tops with sleeves inevitably give me a sort-of-a-blouse type vibe. And a blouse? Well. A blouse has to be downright extraordinary for me to be interested.
Boxy Button-Ups & This Crochet T-Shirt Are The Summer Tops I Didn’t Know I Needed
In an attempt to collect a few summer staple tops outside of tanks or long sleeves, and tops that are not my beloved oversized tees, I spent the past few months digging through every retailer I could think of. My hope was to find lightweight, easy tops that I could wear with pants and shorts alike when I want something a little more chic than my same ol’ T-shirts.
I found five really good ones.
A little silk, a little denim, and even a little bit of summertime cashmere, these tops are perfect for outfits that feel really intentional but require very little fuss to style up.
Silk fabric instantly elevates a summer top, but silk tops can often fall in a more “elegant” category that doesn’t work for me. Therefore, I was immediately drawn to the modern cut of Everlane’s boxy short sleeve top — it’s one of the coolest silk tops I’ve ever seen.
Silk is certainly a more high-maintenance fabric to take care of, so if you’re looking for an easy machine-washable option, check out Quince’s Washable Silk Tee or Short Sleeve Blouse (or even this affordable alternative top that could easily be rocked with everyday outfits). Confession: I still wash my “dry clean” clothing in the machine, in a laundry mesh bag on the delicate cycle.
Everlane’s The Clean Silk Short Sleeve Shirt fits true to size. I’m wearing a size 8. The top is made from the lightest, buttery silk and hangs beautifully — and those sleeves are everything.
Lightweight, flowy, and available in both striped and solid colors, Free People’s Float Away Shirt is one of the best tops to grab when I need something easy to pair with denim shorts or linen pants. It’s also versatile — you can add heels and jewelry for dinner out, or leave it open over a bathing suit for a beach day.
The top is oversized, I’m wearing a medium and find it loose and breezy, with slightly exaggerated shoulders.
I used to think cashmere was just for the colder months, but that was before I understood cashmere. I’m so deep into my love affair with the material because not only can I wear it for multiple 12+ hour-long travel days and not be stinky (without washing…true story), but the magic fabric keeps my temperature regulated as well.
When I spotted this short sleeve cashmere top from Naked Cashmere I practically jumped into my computer screen to grab it. The shape is perfect: a little boxy in the shoulders, longer in the body, and sleeves that hit at a length that is impeccably cool. While those who live in super hot and humid regions might not love the idea of a sweater-like top on their body in the summer, next to the ocean I can wear this style almost year round.
Naked Cashmere’s Rue Top is oversized, I’m wearing a medium and it fits just like it does on the model.
Denim isn’t what I first think of when I’m looking for lightweight summer tops, but I loved the idea of a short sleeve denim shirt for something a bit more structured (a nice addition to my wardrobe of mostly loose, relaxed clothing).
With denim also being a hot trend this season, you can find a lot of different tops right now ranging from stiff, thick denim to softer blends. The Kayla Shirt from Citizens of Humanity is 100% cotton and shockingly light (their website describes this shirt as “breathable, lightweight Japanese denim shirting”). The top is structured enough for it to stay tucked in and for the sleeves to stay rolled, yet it’s still really soft and easy to wear in the summer sun.
Pssst…check out this super similar version from Levi’s for an under $100 option!
I would consider the top true to size, I’m wearing a medium and it’s loose without being oversized (AKA – it’s perfection).
Honestly, thank god crochet everything is back in style, because there’s nothing like a chic open-knit to easily elevate a T-shirt or tank top (here’s a similar, flutter-sleeve crochet top from Gap). It’s one of the easiest styles to look for if you’re not interested in button-ups, and thanks to that loose weave, you’ll stay breezy on warm summer days.
I originally bought this crochet tee from Gap with my denim maxi skirt in mind, but since owning it for a few months, I’ve tossed it on with everything (including athletic shorts). There’s something surprisingly very comfortable — and almost stretchy — in the fabric of this top that makes it fun to reach for just as I would a graphic tee.
Gap’s Crochet T-shirt is true to size, I’m wearing a medium (size up if you want it a little more reminiscent of an oversized tee).
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