Sunny summer tops

Definitively spring/summer with subtle details, and not too short on the arm: tops for those of us not thrilled to wear cap sleeve or sleeveless. "Don't show off your Bingo Wings!" as my friend Clarissa says.

Blouses that sing

Henley cotton pleated shirt with flounces, €55, Eric Bompard, available in cork beige (shown), navy, white. I'd take every colour!

Dusty pink Bouquet Tunic, $78 from Sundance. Fresh, feminine and just enough cover.

Below, Simonas embellished blouse by Malene Birger, $230 from Net-a-porter.

Don't hate me because the some sizes are already s/o, just look for something similar: beading, pleating, 3/4 sleeve and a colour that pops against any neutral.

Diane van Furstenberg Key Print Blouse is also from Net-a-Porter but available elsewhere too. A wink to Hermès, at about a tenth the price, $200. The "key" to wearing this witty piece is the simplest bottom: linen jean, simple pencil skirt, or even denim.

Armed to the tees

Elbow-Sleeved Print Tee, Orvis, $39.

I don't usually wear the Orvis' kindly- birdwatcher esthetic, but this anemone print in black and white appeals. It's hard to find a pleasingly-printed tee and elbow-length sleeves.

Pima Cotton 3/4 sleeve boatneck from LL Bean, $24.95. Many of us know and love the 3/4 boatneck, a style that forgives without looking boxy. Bean offer an array of summery colours.

A fitted, 3/4
sleeve top that has several features to set it apart: a subtle shimmer fabric (50% cotton and 50% nylon), with doubled
abric on the front to give enough coverage. Fits sizes Small to Medium, $56 from Michael Stars.

L.A.M.B. Baby Elephant 3/4 sleeve top, $75, wittily presents pachyderms and Eastern motifs. Hand-washable, slightly sheer. Fresh under a jacket, cool with jeans. From Nordstrom.

Velvet's Aster Twist top has a romantic gathered neckline with a center pleat. The deep V is summery and flattering This appealing intersection of blouse and tee is the kind of tee you can wear out to dinner. Shown in coral; $76 from Garnet Hill.


Some great tops you've found there Duchesse. I can never understand why designers make so many sleeveless dresses and clothes, when so few women love their upper arms!
Unknown said…
Bingo wings! LOL! yep I'm getting them. Wonder if it'll give me any luck at Bingo?.....

Beautiful shirts. I like it when someone does the shopping for me.
Frugal Scholar said…
And it's not just the sleeves! I own that Velvet top (UAL, my favorite store, buys Velvet overstock by the pound and sells very cheap--hot tip). I have to wear it with a jacket or cardigan because my fat (no better word, I'm afraid) protrudes at the waist. Velvet uses VERY thin cotton.

I find it funny that, as you note, DVF offers a witty take on Hermes, because she is very aggressive in suing Forever 21 for knockoffs of her stuff. (Of course, they made an exact copy, only in a cheap fabric).

Tunics supposedly skim over the troublesome middle-aged flab at the midsection--but most do not.

I'd love it if you stylistas for 50plus could find tops that work--and please NO CHICO'S or EILEEN FISHER.

I'll end by saying that I'm still on the thin side--and I have this problem.
Susan B said…
Great selections, Duchesse! I really like that Garnet Hill top, and even the pachyderms! (Normally I shy away from the L.A.M.B/Juicy aesthetic, but that one's cute.)
Duchesse said…
Frugal: I thought I had done that! The key to tunics is the cut at the armhole and bust. Has to fit closely enough to not look like a box. And has to hit at high hip, so doesn't look like maternity top.

Pseu: L.A.M.B. is usually too young for me but every once in awhile they do a great item. Otherwise, my closet is suffed with Suva ( on which I have already posted; I'm wearing the Espresso 3/4 sleeve top today.
materfamilias said…
Summer tops are such a fun thing to shop for and wear (when the sleeves work!) -- all those pretty colours and charming prints. I love that elephant print, love it!
Northmoon said…
I love the elephant top too, but I worry when you say "slightly sheer". It's not so great when a sheer fabric grips my middle on my fat days!

Several other nice examples of sleeved tops to hide my "bingo wings" - thank you!
studioJudith said…
Let's hear it for the 3/4 length boatneck! I'm constantly on the lookout for these .... .. . at least my collar bones are still good.

Thanks for the directions -

mette said…
The Michael Stars is definitely my favorite. We have very similar ones, only they are 100% cotton and of fine quality, turning up every spring in delicious colors and shapes (about 70 euros each). I buy several at the same time and have noticed that they keep their shape perfectly. Actually I wear them during the winter months too.
lagatta à montréal said…
I didn't know the site Garnet Hill; Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton collection interesting, and particularly like this Ballet-Neck Top:

Soft certified organic cotton/Lycra® tops are a flattering addition to every wardrobe. The classic ballet-neck tee celebrates feminine style with a low, rounded neckline and slim elbow-length sleeves. I like the ballet neck better than boat necks (on myself) and like the slightly longer sleeves. Just wonder how "slim" the sleeves really are...

So Eileen Fisher are problematic? Or is that only their tunics?
Duchesse said…
lagatta: A ballet neck is a beautiful, graceful cut! EF is either too pastel or never seems to have the colours I want. We buy all our bed and bath linens from GH.

northmoon: A fine camisole under s top that sheerer than wanted does the trick. I like the bra-camis too.

J. de SantaFe: The boatneck 3/4 sleeve is also a staple of Talbot's, online- and sometimes on sale!

metscan: Think it's really smart stock up on those tees and have beautiful colours to wear in the winter when one is craving them!

Imogen: I heard Bingo Wings are called "sugar gliders" in Australia.
I've never hear the called Sugar Gliders - but I can understand the reference. Most people I know call them "tuck shop arms" a tuck shop is a school canteen - I think maybe the reference comes from the women who work in school canteens may have more fullsome upper arms!

I will ask my associates to see what they think the derivation is from!
Duchesse said…
Imogen: "Other names for this phenomenon may include: ‘auntie arms’, ‘tuck shop arms’, ‘dinner lady arms’, ‘nanna wobble’, ‘nan flaps’, ‘bat wings’ and, predominantly in Australia, ’sugar gliders’, in tribute to an Australian mammal that propels itself through the air with the aid of batlike folds of skin."
diverchic said…
I can only wear things with collars because of my humpy back so summer clothes are a problem
Duchesse said…
diverchic: I have ideas, but you have to go with me to Body Blitz to find out what they are!
lady jicky said…
I agree with Imogen - why do they make all those sleeveless dresses and tops for older women!
lagatta à montréal said…
diverchic, I'd tend to think any top you like, but always some kind of "jackety" layer - which can be a very light cotton shirt, to a lightweight jacket. This has to be studied carefully though, so as not to look sloppy.

Duchesse, I agree about the Eileen Fisher colours. I'd only buy that top in the black, which is a pity as I'd much rather have a deeper, greyer version of the blue and greenish pastel. I don't wear pastels, but don't want to live in black, even with a pretty scarf or bright necklace round my neck. I just liked the shape, but I want it in Jane Birkin's grey.

(Notes on Ste-Madeleine d'Outremont bazaar take) no actual garments, but a Lanvin Paris silk scarf in "kind red" and violet tones, new condition, and a silver rose brooche that seller thought dated from 1940s.
Tiffany said…
I'm with Imogen - another Australian who's never heard the expression 'sugar gliders'. Wonder where they found it!
Duchesse said…
lagatta: Your bazaar finds sound wonderful and have renewed my resolve to attend a few!
Tamara said…
Absolutely wonderful summer tops collection. My favorite is Elbow-Sleeved Print Tee and I would browse Orvis for the same.

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