The Over-40 Summer Goddess Part II: On Top

I wrote about my no-shorts-for me decision last post. Thanks for all your lively feedback. Now I’m going to tackle the up-top issue.

Fall and winter are so easy for me, tops-wise. I love a three-quarter length sleeve top in a soft knit. It covers any wobbly bits and always looks graceful. You can layer it up or go solo, or add a scarf, and your top half is all spoken for.

Summer’s a challenge. I don’t love a spaghetti-strap or skimpy tank top as my solo piece, too much exposure for my comfort zone. Many short sleeved tees are boxy and look rather mannish. Lots of summery looks I wore 25 years ago are too girly for me now (Modcloth, you’re breaking my heart).

So here are some of the tops I’ll be wearing with my full, swooshy skirts, Bermuda shorts, and over my airy sundresses:

  • Slouchy, sheer tees. These are for grown-ups, made of refined cotton blends. They’re not really sheer, just light and airy. They might fall off a shoulder. A  tank or camisole looks great underneath.
ASOS, $25
  • Floral sleeveless tops. I got hooked on these a couple of years ago, when Gap offered some very pretty prints. Washable polyester and blends, nice flowy shapes and no sleeves. I find sleeveless is a better look for me than a boxy short sleeve; it gives my arms a nice long look. Oh yeah, and naturally air-conditioned!
Vince Camuto at Nordstroms, $79
  • Sheer linen shirts over tanks. I like these only in white, ivory, and pale blue, over-sized and slightly wrinkled (good thing I like them that way). Roll up the sleeves and pop the collar.
Like this one, only sheerer. Democracy, $58.
  • Grown-up graphic tees. I have a craving this summer for the bands of my youth. I love my Let It Be tee. I know every article about What Not To Wear over 50 includes graphic tees. “Too cutesy. Trying too hard.” Well then, guilty. ☺
Sorry, sold out at Old Navy. We old birds snapped them up.

How do you like to dress your upper half for the hot days?

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  1. I think if the graphic on the tee is something relevant to you, go for it. I'm still kicking myself for not hanging onto my "More Songs About Buildings And Food" tee….

  2. I live in Texas where it is very hot in the summertime. Even though I am 61, I am not averse to wearing sleeveless tops all summer long. My usual choice is a sleeveless dress that is casual and not ultra close to the body. I use scarves and necklaces to accessorize. I don't worry about wobbly bits. It I keep smiling, people notice that (and my hair) before they see that I'm not 25 and trim.

  3. I'm 46 and I love graphic T's! I think they're for anyone, younger or older. I had to laugh at a recent fashion article that said women in their 40's should never wear college sweatshirts. Why the heck not? It's not like they're a high fashion item for 20 year olds. I wear them when I want to be comfy, not for making a fashion statement.

  4. Oh, and my not too fond of piece is the cotton tee-shirt. Doesn't work as solo. I need definition and lines to create a flattering waistline on my short, non-existent cure of a waist. And I have the middle age pouch that I got in my 20s after an emergency c-section. And I'm talking not just fat but scar tissue. TMI? Anyhoo, I've made my piece with my belly and that means tee-shirts, ack!

  5. With your build, I think you would look cute and not over exposed going with a layered t-shirt look. Many tops are thin not just for the weather but for the layering style. How about experimenting with spaghetti strap or sleeveless tee over a tee? Spaghetti strap tanks come fitted and look good under sheer tops. Some tees have that lovely lycra in a lighter weight which is flattering for those of us who have a few bits we wish were tighter.

  6. Just discovered your blog on canopi…is it too soon to say I love you? Fantastic blog & smashing grand for us over 40's. Happy to follow on GFC & Bloglovin too~*

    I adore graphic t's…or non graphic t's for that matter. And I am a sun dress addict {paired with a light weight or crochet cardigan to cover up my chicken arms…sigh}. Totally gonna try to firm up the upper arms this summer though. Honest.

  7. I seem to fall for blouses lately and As I have covered my basics department I look for unusual tops and thrift stores are the place to go.

  8. Yep, these are all good for me too, although white summer shirt = spilling something, for me. The thinnest cotton or jersey tops are the ones I always pull out in Summer.

  9. I take all the loosest coolest tops I can find for summer. Just so long as they keep the boobins covered, and aren't made of polyester, I'm happy. I need cotton or linen. I'll settle for modal too. I wear a lot of tanks. I've gotten obsessed with the Simply vera tanks. They have nice prints, and are cut to hide bra straps, but are thin and cool.

  10. Ah, now you've hit my problem area, Patti – chicken wings! I would love to have toned upper arms that I could happily expose to the world so my answer to skimpy summer tops is the addition of a light cardigan. I do like your Beatles lyric tee – never to old for a good logo!

  11. Love the tee! I've become a big fan of linen jersey tops. Eileen Fisher makes some nice ones, but they're pricey. J.Crew has begun offering a few styles too (and J.Crew has frequent % off promotions). Except in the very hottest weather, I get chilled if my shoulders are exposed, weird, I know.

  12. Way to go! Wear those graphic tees if you want! I love the Beatles one, too.

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