Tops to Wear When You Don’t Want to Go Sleeveless (Annual Post)
The weather will be heating up soon if it hasn’t already where you are. For most of our lives, warm spring days and definitely summer has meant sleeveless and tank tops. But as we travel along our timeline, we don’t always feel comfortable baring our arms.
Sleeveless or not?
No one should tell us it’s not okay to be sleeveless if that’s what we choose. But, if you’d rather not bare your arms and you want to keep cool, there are options.
Following are some ideas for tops to wear when you don’t want to go sleeveless.
Short sleeve tops are a staple in spring and summer, and a great option when you prefer to keep your upper arms covered.
I prefer a t-shirt sleeve that’s little longer these days. I’ve cleared my closet of my shorter sleeve t-shirts. I discovered this mid-length t-shirt sleeve at Gap – it covers just enough but still has the classic t-shirt look.
An elbow sleeve tee features a sleeve length that hits just above the elbow. The trick for not falling into the trap of looking frumpy when wearing this style (heaven forbid!) is to make sure the sleeve fits close to the arm rather than being loose.
To contradict myself, the red and white striped tee pictured below does have a loose fitting sleeve, but the t-shirt offers other style attributes that give it a fresh look, like a boxy silhouette, dropped shoulder seam, and curved hem in front and back (this top is linked below).
Classic White Blouse
The classic white shirt or blouse is a go-to for looking and feeling cool while keeping arms covered. The white color doesn’t absorb heat the way darker colors do, and you always have the option of rolling the sleeves up to give arms a bit of air. It’s also fun to layer a lightweight, dark color camisole underneath for a little surprise accent.
I love the look of a sheer, long-sleeved blouse or shirt. I have several and wear them in both cool and warm weather. This style will keep your arms covered while helping you stay cool. If the sheerness seems a little too transparent, you can always wear a camisole in a neutral or contrasting color. A cami in a contrasting color adds a little surprise feature as it will be visible under your shirt.
Rolling the sleeves up gives a long-sleeved blouse another style option as well as giving your skin some breathing room. Some shirt styles come with a button tab to hold up the sleeve when rolled, like the black and white blouse below.
The classic summer look of linen is a great, keep-cool option. There are a lot of style options in loose fitting linen tops that can keep at least the top part of your arms covered. You have to accept that it’s going to be wrinkled because that’s just linen. And there’s something classy about the rumpled appearance of linen.
If you don’t want to go sleeveless but still like a bare arm, the cap sleeve style gives just a tad more coverage than a tank top. I don’t have a photo to share because, to be honest, I don’t love that where the edge of the cap sleeve ends. It draws attention exactly to the area where the skin is less than firm. To me, even a tank top is more flattering than a cap sleeve. So I don’t wear that style anymore.
And Then There Are Times for Sleeveless
There are going to be times that the right thing is to go sleeveless. Tropical vacations fall into that category. And sometimes when you’re wearing a topper over a sleeveless top (like the striped topper below) it may get too warm to leave the topper on, so you’ll be sleeveless although you may not have planned it. Here are a few tips to shed the best light on your sleeveless look:
- Accessorize – Accessories, like a hat, statement earrings, even a lightweight scarf casually draped, draw the eye so the focus isn’t on the bare arms. Accessories give the eye a place to rest and make their own bold statements.
- Pattern and texture – Wearing a top or dress with a print, like the leopard print below, or in an interesting fabric is another way to draw the eye to someplace other than your bare arms.
Wear What You Like
And sometimes we might just say, who cares? I’m going to wear what I like.
When you do go sleeveless, make sure you wear the right bra to keep straps out of view – it might be that a racerback or a strapless is the best solution.
And when we choose the sleeveless option, wear it proud! At least 80% of looking great is feeling amazing and projecting it. So go all in!