At my core, I’m a girl who’s drawn to the comfy basics. Give me a pair of stretchy bike shorts and an oversized band tee and I am good to go.
But lately I’ve been wanting a summertime outfit that feels a bit more put together, yet is just as comfortable as my usual combo. I’m not actually talking about an entire wardrobe makeover, those bike shorts and tees are a forever staple to be honest, but having a few more options for an easy look has been my goal as we head towards summer.
Enter: cotton gauze tops. The crinkle-y, cotton-y goodness is soft like an old favorite tee, easy to wear, and thanks to that natural texture, the worry of wrinkles is far from the mind. To my surprise? I’m actually reaching for these far more than my t-shirts, and I never thought I’d see that day.
3 Cotton Gauze Tops I Love As Much As My Band Tees For Summer
I first tried one of these specific cotton tops when I ordered the cotton gauze shirt from Basin And Range. I had been mostly searching for linen at that point, and while linen tops certainly have a permanent spot in my warm weather wardrobe, there was something so familiar and easy about the cotton gauze top.
They were strangely, magically reminiscent of my favorite old tees.
The first cotton gauze top I tried was nearly perfect, but it fell significantly longer in the back than it did in the front, and those typically aren’t my go-to designs. I wanted that same soft fabric, but with a classic structure as easy as a t-shirt. I found myself immediately hunting down more options and soon fell in love with We The Free Summer Daydream Buttondown.
The Summer Daydream Buttondown is lightweight, and uniquely features raw hemlines and side pockets. It also comes at a price point that falls right in the middle of all the other cotton-y, gauzy tops I was seeing online.
Not to mention, the button-down comes in a variety of colors that are as pretty as a field of wildflowers (with new colors added often).
Even with the long sleeves, it’s a fairly breezy top that doesn’t at all feel restricting on my body. It feels natural to wear the button-down while playing with my kid outside just as much as it does styling it up for brunch.
Wearing the Summer Daydream Buttondown open over a crop top or bathing suit is an added bonus. It’s a versatility that my ol’ band tees do not provide. Yes, please!
The best part? Cotton gauze only gets better with every washing. The tops become softer, even a little more drapey, just as my favorite t-shirts do with time.
Fit Notes: Slightly oversized in the best of ways, I’m wearing my true size medium.
In my quest to find the perfect cotton gauze top, I found two more options that were just as dreamy, each slightly different than the rest. The crinkle gauze button shirt from Gap has uniquely designed sleeves that add a tinge of flare, and since the top is short sleeved, it can be worn on even the hottest of days.
I specifically ordered this crinkle gauze top two sizes larger than my normal, as I wanted the shirt to be extra oversized to wear open over crop tops. Yet even oversized, this top is incredibly perfect when worn alone.
The Crinkle Gauze Button-Front Shirt even tucks perfectly into denim thanks to the lightweight texture.
I love how the sleeves hang longer and looser in the oversized version, as opposed to sitting higher up like on the model. Regardless of the size, I highly recommend this top for any summer wardrobe. I’ve only owned mine a short time and have already worn the top more times than I can count!
Fit Notes: I’m wearing an XL for an oversized fit (psst — ordering up gives you some booty coverage, too, if that’s your preference).
While I find all cotton gauze tops to be extremely comfortable (even Target’s budget-friendly cotton top), there is no questioning that the Double Cloth Buttondown from Free People is the softest one I have found. The long sleeve shirt absolutely gives my beloved oversized tees a run for their money…and maybe could even replace them all together.
It’s that good.
The Double Cloth Buttondown is just what it sounds like, the material is a bit more plush than the other two gauze tops above. While the button-down does prove to be a bit cozier in its softness, the top is still very easy to wear.
With the extra long length, the shirt is incredibly perfect for leggings, but I find it works beautifully half tucked into denim, too. In the same way that I would typically reach for an old favorite tee for extra comfort (or because I simply “can’t even” that day), I find myself reaching for the Double Cloth Buttondown. It feels like I’ve owned and loved this shirt forever.
Exaggerated side slits keep this top feeling summery, as it allows your shorts to peek through when left untucked. It also proves to be a delightful, chic addition to throw on over a matching workout set for that perfect athleisure look I’m always after.
The Double Cloth Buttondown goes the distance in my wardrobe, and is every bit worth the investment!
Fit Notes: The top has a natural oversized fit, but I stayed with my true size medium and it’s perfect for my broad shoulders. If you’re petite or simply don’t have as broad of an upper body, consider sizing down.
Would I have ever guessed that I would actually find a summer top I would be reaching for MORE than my favorite t-shirts? Nope. But it’s the cotton gauze life for me this summer!
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