Tops: Best Styles and Selection From All Your Favorite Fashion Stores

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Tops: Best Styles and Selection From All Your Favorite Fashion Stores

About Tops

Few items allow you to reflect your personality as easily as the top. Whether you are dainty, romantic, sophisticated, bold or easy-going, there is a top for you. It may feature floral patterns, delicate embroidery or a silk tie or be crafted from soft cotton and feature a band logo, but it signifies your personality and taste. A silk blouse is perfect with trousers for the office or over fitted jeans on the weekend for a polished appearance. Your favorite rock group on a T-Shirt is perfect for layering under a blazer or wearing solo to show your support while picking up groceries or working out. A tank top with minimal detailing works well solo on a hot day and can be layered with a kimono for temperature changes and create a more “dressed” look while keeping it comfy.
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Few items allow you to reflect your personality as easily as the top. Whether you are dainty, romantic, sophisticated, bold or easy-going, there is a top for you. It may feature floral patterns, delicate embroidery or a silk tie or be crafted from soft cotton and feature a band logo, but it signifies your personality and taste. A silk blouse is perfect with trousers for the office or over fitted jeans on the weekend for a polished appearance. Your favorite rock group on a T-Shirt is perfect for layering under a blazer or wearing solo to show your support while picking up groceries or working out. A tank top with minimal detailing works well solo on a hot day and can be layered with a kimono for temperature changes and create a more “dressed” look while keeping it comfy.

History

When humans first developed textiles is debatable among the historic community and legitimately varies depending on geographic location. However, tops were one of the first items produced almost everywhere.

For many centuries, plain tunics of various lengths were the garment of choice. Shorter tunics paired with some variation of pants or skirts while others were gathered at the waist via sewing or adjusted through the use of fasteners or pins.

By the Middle Ages, tops started to vary more across the world as pants became the favored garment of men. Billowing sleeves, embroidered tunics and fitted jackets provided choices and embellishments grew as a way to customize a garment and distinguish class.

For women, the 1800s development of the shirtwaist was the first leaning toward the modern blouse. The shirtwaist was a top that could be paired over a variety of skirts. This meant women could mix and max outfits and wear a preferred garment all year with adjustments to other elements of the ensemble.

When more women started to wear pants in the 1960s and 1970s, tops further evolved to create stunning new silhouettes for the workplace and a variety of casual looks for all ages. The padded shoulders of the 1980s transitioned to the slim button ups of the 1990s. The new millenium and the rise of the gig economy brought with it a greater devotion to individualized style and a more casual workplace for most employees where a nice top is all you need to dress up any look

Tops Style

No matter the occasion, there are several styles of tops to choose from before delving into color or cut. We’ve curated some of the best top styles for you for a day at the office or a night on the town. Use our styling tips to plan a full ensemble and select pieces that will make you feel confident for years to come.

Blouse

While the word blouse sometimes refers to any top, it more specifically describes women’s dress shirt of any style in modern times. For a formal setting, opt for silk blouses with a sewn-in tie, ruffles or other embellishments. Tuck the blouse in a wide-leg trouser with heels for a sophisticated ensemble or wear it out over a straight-leg chino and flats to dress for a mid-range event. 

T-Shirt

The classic T-shirt is cotton or a cotton-blend fabric, but it is increasingly available in alternative options, such as bamboo and hemp. You can choose a solid color crew, a striped v-neck, a graphic T-shirt or a single pocket masterpiece to pair with almost any pant if styled properly. Tuck your favorite T-shirt into a linen trouser, add a jean jacket and neutral booties, and you’ll be 100 percent comfy.

Tank

Tank tops are a sleeveless shirt featuring a single strap ranging from spaghetti strap width to a few inches across. Where a fitted tank solo with jeans or shorts for a summer outing to show off your figure or layer a loose tank under a jacket for an adjustable ensemble in spring or fall.

Tee

The “tee” is an abbreviated way of saying T-shirt. However, in common usage it often refers to a more fitted crew style T-shirt. It is also used regularly when referring to graphic tees, or shirts printed with band logos, brand names superheroes and catchy phrases.

Crop Top

A crop top is any shirt with a hem high enough to show a bit of tummy. Some crops may require you to life your arms to flash the navel, but many are cut at or above the belly button. In classic 1990s fashion, short sleeve crop tops pair best with skinny jeans, leather pants and other bold ensembles. Crops with long-sleeves and more embellishments can be paired with trousers and a stiletto for a more high-fashion twist.

Tunic

Tunics are a loose-fitting top with a generally straight shape through the torso as they fall to the hips or below. While plain in cut, many tunics feature tie embellishments and embroidery to add pizzazz to the classic look. Pair a tunic with a fitted skirt or pant to balance the flowing material or go big with a peasant skirt to nail a rustic vibe.

Cami

Cami is short for camisole and refers to a tank-style shirt with the craftsmanship of a blouse. Camis are used as layering pieces for low-cut garments and can be worn as a top under a jacket or blazer.

Bodysuit

Bodysuits have seen a resurgence in recent years as tighter jeans and pants made creating a slim silhouette with a tucked in shirt more difficult. The garments generally feature a tank-style upper body and snap close or feature a slit at the crotch. Many bodysuits are shapewear or feature some elements of the supportive garments while creating a clean line disappearing into the pant. You can wear a bodysuit as your only top with a pair of jeans or layer over it with a kimono or jacket.

Wraps

Wraps are a top nodding to the ever-popular dress of the same name. Wrap tops are either true wraps and require tying blouse close or faux wraps. Faux wraps feature the cross over styling of a true wrap but are sewn shut. Pair the tops with a miniskirt and your favorite heel for an edgy look or a pair of tapered pants and loafers for a more demure look.

Button Down

The classic button-down top features a collar and a curved hem and often includes a pair of front pockets. More modern offerings add princess seams to complement the female figure and nixed the front pocket in favor of cleaner lines. Tucked or untucked, the button-down is an office dress favorite when layered under a blazer as part of a suit or worn solo over a pair of tapered trousers.

Polo

When you need to nail a preppy vibe, grab a polo shirt and pair it with khakis. Polo shirts are a short-sleeve garment featuring a collar. They usually have a few functional buttons at the neckline to allow for easy dressing and undressing. The knitted cotton shirt was originated by polo players but has become the favored look of golfers and country club enthusiasts the world over.

Shell

The term shell isn’t as widely used as it was in previous generations, but it refers to a sleeveless blouse more substantial than a camisole. It doesn’t have a collar and is usually used for layering with other garments. Sometimes the word shell is also used to refer to a basic crewneck blouse.

Kimono

The kimono is a traditional Japenese garment but largely refers to a full-length robe in modern fashion. Kimonos are extremely popular as a contemporary layering piece because they are often crafted of lightweight materials such as silk or bamboo. Many kimonos feature dainty or bold prints, making them perfect for adding color to an otherwise simple weekend outfit of jeans and a t-shirt.

Halter

Halter tops are a sleeveless shirt but differ from tanks by virtue of tying behind the neck. The unique closure allows the shirt to provide a unique neckline in many instances. Some halters criss-cross or feature pleating at the shoulders to add depth to a sleeveless look. Others tie in the back to minimize fabric coverage over the decolletage. Halters can be a plunging neckline blouse paired over a pencil skirt with booties or a casual beach top worn with shorts.

Vest

A vest top is different things to different people. In Britain, a vest is an undershirt for layering. In America, a vest is over dress shirts as part of a suit or layered more casually when crafted of denim or knitted materials. When wearing an American vest, err on the side of tailored lines by wearing a straight-leg jean or tapered trouser to offset the added bulk of the vest.

Poncho

A poncho is a relatively simple garment. In tradition, it’s made from a single piece of fabric with a center hole for the head to pass through but many modern takes also feature arm openings. Ponchos are typically dressed up through the addition of embellishments along the sleeve line and collar. Bold patterns, embroidery and unique knits dress the garment up or down, meaning there is a poncho to pair with nearly every pant or skirt.

Details on Tops

Embroidered

Embroidery can be added to many tops to turn an order shirt into a blouse. For the classic button-down, floral embroidery can add a more feminine flair. On a tunic, the addition of embroidered geometric shapes can lend a touch of class without adding layers.

Ruffle

Ruffles dress up a variety of blouses. From appearing at the top of puffed sleeves on a dainty shirt to adding a bit of flounce to a sexy crop top, ruffles create added depth and can accentuate your figure in all of the right ways. If you want to seem more busty, look for a fitted blouse with ruffles at the chest. When you want to square off your shirt, look for a ruffle at the top of the shoulders.

Peplum

Peplum tops fit slim at the shoulders and chest before flaring out at the waist line. The design helps conceal the stomach and add a dressy feel to an ordinary blouse.

Ruched

A ruched top can be very complementary as it accentuates the curves of the body. Gathering, pleating and flutes are ways to ruche fabric, but gathering is the type most commonly referred to as ruching. It is often used on sundresses to help fit the bodice or to create a more figure-hugging tank or crop top.

Sleeve Length

Short

Short-sleeve tops are a necessity in many parts of the world during the summer months. A short-sleeve blouse typically features additional embellishments, such as pleating embroidery or ties to stay dressy. They are easily layered under a blazer or jacket for the office and can be worn solo for the commute or more casual workplaces.

Long

Long-sleeve tops aren’t limited to button downs. Many T-shirts are offered with long sleeves and are easily used as layering pieces or undershirts. For dressier occasions, a long-sleeve shirt can use billowing sleeves to add heft over a pair of leggings or fit snugly to create a slimming silhouette with a pencil skirt.

3/4

A 3/4 sleeve shirt ends between the elbow and wrist and is an excellent compromise between long and short-sleeves for areas with a moderate temperature. If you work in an office with temperature extremes, the 3/4 sleeve allows you to cover up a bit more when the AC is on while rolling up easily when you step out into the sun.

Sleeveless

In the workplace, sleeveless shirts are often worn as layering pieces under a blazer or jacket but can stand alone as a blouse. Camisoles and shells are the most popular options in the office due to additional detailing while tank tops earn high marks on the weekend.

Neckline

Off-the-Shoulder

Off-the-shoulder tops do not have a collar and rely on the arms to hold the shirt up. A more modest variation is the boatneck which stops just before falling off the shoulders.

Collar

The most popular collars are the classic collar on a button-up shirt or polo. However, other trends come and go. The classic Peter Pan features curved edges while a sailor tapers to a V-shape on the inside and out. A shawl collar is popular with wraps while the jabot collar offers a bit of flounce over the chest. A notched collar is prominent in faux suiting while the mandarin is common tunics. Many women’s blouses also feature a Chelsea collar with a tapered, slightly plugning design.

V-Neck

The V-Neck is a popular T-shirt option that also appears on many knit blouses. It offers a bit more room at the neck than a crew without showing an abundance of skin, making it perfect for a conservative workplace where some shape is desired.

Spaghetti Strap  

Spaghetti straps are popular on tank tops and camisoles when you don’t want need a lot of coverage but want the security of a strap. They are perfect for a day at the beach when you want an even tan or for layering without adding bulk.

Plunge

Plunging necklines go out further to the side than a classic V-neck and also plunge deeper into the cleavage. Many tops plunge only to the bra line to allow for the use of a more traditional bra. If you want to go edgier, however, you can opt for a deeper plunge and use tape or adhesive bra cups to secure the breasts.

Cold Shoulder

The cold shoulder top has sleeves but features a cutout detail at the shoulder. Opt for cold-shoulder tops in a solid color to emphasize the pop of skin. With a bold print, your flesh tone will be lost in the mix.

Strapless

Strapless tops are great for layering when you are trying to avoid additional lines at the shoulder. They are ocassionally paired underneath some plunging shirts to cover the breasts without adding bulk to the shoulder area. They can also be worn alone with a legging or straight-leg pant for a casual ensemble on a hot day.

Scoop

Scoop neck shirts feature a curved neckline that dips lower than a crew, some more drastically than others. A scoop neck is an attractive neckline when your shirt features elbow-length sleeves or additional detailing to add balance.

Crew

Most T-shirts feature a crew neck as do many tops designed for layering at the office. A crew sits just below the neck, making it perfect for chilly days and not too hot for summer weather. Crews can be layered under blazers and jackets or worn solo without losing their appeal.

Sleeve Type

Bell

A bell sleeve is wider at the wrist than the elbow and may taper out from the shoulder line. Popular in the Middle Ages, the shape saw a resurgence in 1970s shirts and has maintained some level of popularity since the disco era. A bell sleeve makes a statement on its own, so balance the look with a fitted pant or skirt.

Cap

A cap sleeve will show off toned arms to their best advantage and avoids constricting the bicep area by falling just below the shoulder. Look for a cap sleeve shirt with some pintucking, eyelet details or embroidery to score high marks if you are pursuing a dainty look.

Balloon

Unlike a bell sleeve, balloon sleeves are billowing from the shoulder down. Consider balancing the shirt the same way as a bell — with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt or go big with a wide-leg trouser.

Kimono

Traditional kimonos feature a wide square sleeve. Many contemporary options eschew the traditional and opt for a fitted sleeve that contrasts with the flowing body of the robe.

Color

Black

Use a black blouse as an anchoring piece in a colorful outfit, such as underneath a pastel or jewel-toned suit. Black also makes thread pop, making it popular for tunics and embroidered peplum tops.

White

White is an essentially layering color for tanks and camisoles. Many tunics, polos and ruffled blouses also feature the crispy color.

Beige

Beige is a great option for a camisole worn beneath a plunging shirt or v-neck. It blends in with lighter fabrics while offering a subtle contrast to darker shades. In certain shades or contrast patterns, beige is also a perfect neutral option for a silk blouse.

Light Blue

Light blue shades run from robin’s egg to powder blue and are perfect for the classic button-down shirt or more demure options, such as a cap-sleeve top. Ideal for more feminine styling, look for embroidery or bell sleeves tops in this shade to create a unique ensemble.

Light Grey

When you wear darker suits, light grey is perfect for layering pieces, such as shells. It offers a contrasting color without the harsh clash of white on black and looks professional on silk fabrics and cotton alike.

Dark Blue

Dark blue is another shade perfect for office layering. From a jewel tone blue to traditional navy, blue helps promote calm feelings and is perfect for dress tops for a variety of skin tones. It also plays nicely with light or dark pants alike, making it easy to wear your favorite blue blouse year round.

Light Pink

Best as a layering color, light pink is as equally good for a base layer tank or shell as it for an outer layer like a kimono or poncho. For a weekend look, score a dusty light pink graphic tee and pair it with crispy jeans and canvas sneakers. 

Pattern

Solid

Solid color shirts are a staple over jeans, but also work over trousers at the office. A single tone is also best for statement top cuts, such as a bell or balloon sleeve or a plunging neckline blouse.

Print

A bold print can help add depth to a sleeveless shirt whether it’s paired underneath a jacket or worn alone. Prints are also a way to dress up crewneck knit shirts for a weekend look as comfy as a T-shirt when paired over jeans.

Graphic

Graphic prints range from collages and quotes to images of celebrities and band logos. Traditionally paired with a pair of jeans, hipster casual has popularized the graphic tee as a base layer under a blazer in the workplace.

Floral

Floral prints are among the most popular for the office due to the unique colors many of the tops bring. When you don’t feel like sporting a solid jewel tone shirt or going with full pastels, a floral top with a solid background lets you tip your toes in the waters of new colors.

Leopard

Animal prints tops, such as the ever-popular leopard print, never go out of style. They add instant glam to any look and are accessorized in any number of ways. From a silk camisole peeking out underneath a jacket to a black blouse with leopard-print trim, there are fun ways to incorporate the print without taking it over the top.

Metallic

Metallic accents are best on tops, though sequined tanks and balloon sleeve tops take rose gold, silver and gold to a new level. When wearing bold colors on top, opt for black pants to let your shirt shine.

Material

Cotton

Cotton offers superior breathability in hot weather and holds up in the washing machine for repeat wears. Knit cotton is the favored material for many pattern shirts and is comfortable while dressing up the plain graphic tee.

Silk

Silk is perfect for suiting and layering in warm weather due to its cooling feel. It does require delicate cycle washes and to hang dry in most instances to maintain your investment.

Lace

Lace is a simple embellishment that ups the elegance of any top almost instantly. It often stands alone as a collar enhancement but can be paired with ruffles or bell sleeves to create a uniquely feminine masterpiece. Look for lace on floral patterns and as a trim on dainty camisoles. 

Denim

Denim tops are hit or miss. A denim button up can make a weekend casual outfit, but too much can make you look like a bad dream from the 1970s. Opt for lighter washes with a thinner weight to keep the look from being too serious and don’t match the shades of your shirt and pants for a contemporary take.

Suits on Sale

When you have the tops for a day at the beach but still need the swimwear, we have you covered. Swimsuit tops are available with many of the same cuts as traditional shirts, including scoop neck, plunging, halter and spaghetti-strap. 

Now is the perfect time to grab a suit on sale for an upcoming vacation or an afternoon by the pool.

Brands

We carry all of your favorite top brands, whether you are looking for the best casual T-shirts or the dressiest clothes for work. Need an edgy blouse for a night on the town? We have that too.

Luxury Tops

An investment in a luxury brand top pays off over time through increased durability and long-term fashion credibility.

Affordable Tops

The best affordable top brands run the style gamut from sporty to classic to boho chic and feature a shirt for every price range.

Top Brands You Should Know

Don’t miss out on discovering your new favorite mid-range top provider:

Trends

Flowing tops are a big deal to the continued popularity of leggings and skinny jeans. Billowing knits and tunics are popular over jeans on the weekend while bell sleeves and peplum tops balance tapered trousers during the workweek.

Pop Culture/Celebs

Flowing tops with bell sleeves, ruffles and other highly structured elements remain popular with trousers on the red carpet. However, plunging necklines are the preferred top style when celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Selena Gomez and Kylie Jenner dress up in separates

What's Next?

Tops are always evolving and as the manufacturing process continues to modernize, access to premium embellishments, such as detailed embroidery or unique linings at the cuff and collar, is increasing.

A new appreciation for dainty details is also building with floral kimonos and a greater distancing from the traditional suiting of prior generations. Expect more feminine work tops in edgier cuts in the coming seasons and the rise of even more peplum creations. On the casual front, graphic tees aren’t going anywhere. 

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