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A Review Of Summer Tops

How to choose the best look for you

summer topsThere are several things for which I will always remember my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. H.:

  1. She was a math wiz.
  2. She taught us fractions.
  3. She spit when she spoke.
  4. She frequently wore sleeveless tops and because she would wave her arms around like a conductor when she taught, the flab under her arms would bounce.

Frankly, it was enough to make me skip my lunch. And just go straight to the dessert.:-)

“When we’re grown ups,” my friends and I would say on days when the bouncing flesh would distract us from our lessons, “We’re NEVER going to let our arms look like THAT!”

Alas, nature had other plans.

While toned arms are easy to maintain with regular trips to the gym, frequent participation in sports, or daily lifting of small children, they can quickly turn to flap in the absence of those things.

Fortunately, as my mother was fond of saying, “Costuming hides a multitude of sins.”

Indeed it does.

Whether you have great arms, so-so arms, or arms that you prefer to keep under wraps, there are warm weather tops that will suit your needs. Show off what’s great, hide what’s not, and look chic as the temperatures rise.

Because unlike Mrs. H., well-dressed women know that wearing clothes to keep cool is one thing; wearing clothes to keep cool, look good, and not offend others is something else entirely.

Here are some choices to consider:

Spaghetti Strap

Spaghetti straps look best on women with small or toned arms, and small or medium-sized breasts. If gravity (or having babies) has left your bustline sagging, wear a strapless underwire bra with this type of top.

Tank Top

When worn alone, tanks look best on women with toned arms, small shoulders, and small or medium sized busts. Large arms, shoulders, or busts look bigger in a tank top. If you fall into the latter category and like the look of a tank, consider wearing it as a base under a shirt, sweater, or jacket.

Sleeveless Top

Like the tank, sleeveless tops look best on thin and/or toned arms and with small to medium sized breasts. They should fit closely to the body, but not be so tight as to strain across the chest.

Cap Sleeves

Cap sleeves offer a semi-sleeve where the top extends just past the end of the roundness of the shoulder. Like the other tops we’ve looked at thus far, the cap sleeve top looks best on bodies with small or toned arms and small or medium sized breasts.

Short Sleeve T-Shirt

The classic short sleeve t-shirt is very forgiving and looks good on just about everybody – provided it fits closely to the body, doesn’t flare, or isn’t oversized. It should skim the body without straining or binding. The armhole should be high and the shoulder should be natural.

Polo Shirts

Another classic that looks good and is back in style, the polo can be worn well by many body types — EXCEPT those with short necks (the collar tends to dominate the neck area). Make sure it fits correctly and does not strain or bag.

Camp Shirts

The classic camp shirt offers a dressier summer-time look than the classic tee and with the vertical buttons and modest arm coverage, looks good on a variety of body shapes. Pair them with skirts, pants, or shorts, tuck them in, pull them out, or wear them open as a jacket. Just don’t wear them baggy or sloppy.

Half and Three-Quarter Length Sleeves

Want to look chic AND hide heavy arms? Opt for a shirt with a half or three-quarter length sleeve. Not only is this length more stylish than a short sleeve, it can be worn all year long. Sleeves should be worn snug but not tight for a long, graceful look. Loose versions will overpower the arm and make it look short and heavy.

Tops With Diaphanous Sleeves and Wrist Details

Want to stay cool yet direct attention away from your arms and put it elsewhere? This style of top will do the trick, and can be worn any time of year. Look for something with a pretty bodice, sheer, diaphanous sleeves, and beautiful wrist details. Keep attention on your hands with a beautiful manicure or a bling-bling ring, watch, or bracelet.

If your goal this summer is to stay cool yet cover appropriately, try some of the tops listed here. You don’t have to have a perfect body to look like you’re in good shape. All you need are clothes that fit well, cover what you don’t want seen, and draw attention to your assets.

After all, you want to be regarded as someone with superior style and good taste – and not be remembered for showing body parts better left unseen. Thanks for the lesson, Mrs. H. It’s stayed with me longer than algebra.

About Diana Pemberton-Sikes

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of Wardrobe Magic, an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at Fashion For Real Women. Need some tips and tricks? Pick up a copy of Wardrobe Magic. Visit her site for more information.


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