How To Choose A Top That Suits You

How do you choose the best style of top to suit you?

Simply purchasing a new top gives you satisfaction or even a ‘pick me up’ to a whole outfit and your day.

Ever get that urge to treat yourself to a new top? It’s one of those purchases that you sometimes just fancy doing, trying out something ‘a little different’ to cheer yourself up, or break up the monotony which can set in when you wear the same things over and over again. Simply purchasing a new top gives you satisfaction or even a ‘pick me up’ to a whole outfit and your day.

At one of my recent style workshops I had asked the group to bring along what they planned to wear to their Christmas event - whether it was a girls’ get together, an office party or drinks reception. When I asked them how they felt about what they had picked only one girl was actually positive about it. The others had struggled to find something from their wardrobes but had grabbed what they wore last year, three girls from the group had gone shopping as they felt they had nothing suitable in their wardrobes, and one was almost in tears as she told me she had spent hours going from shop to shop and found nothing that she felt good in…so bought an item in desperation at the very last minute. Something I know others have experienced too.

So, my top style advice to you this week to focus on what to look for in a top, be it in your own wardrobe or if you are in the mood for something new, follow these guidelines and hopefully there will be a lasting feel good factor about how you look and no more unworn purchases stashed away somewhere.



Yes, it might be the loveliest shade of whatever colour or colour combination that appeals to you but that’s just the first tick in the box. It needs to meet more than just this one criteria to be worth the purchase. Of course, fitting you is the next box that needs to be ticked which I covered in an earlier blog 'Does This Fit Me'


There are two things I’d like you to consider on fabric. One is what it is made from which will affect how it will look on you, and the second is caring for it afterwards. I see many very beautiful tops hanging in ladies’ wardrobes that are rarely worn because they are either too awkward/time consuming to iron on a regular basis, or need to be dry cleaned and therefore get worn less as it’s a hassle and expense to clean them. This is something to look out for especially at this time of year with all the satin and embellished garments available. Check the care label to make sure you can look after it after you have worn it.

A soft stretchy flimsy jersey fabric or one with too much Lycra in it can be unforgiving and will show all manner of things below that you may prefer not to! This is when to pull on your second skin little camisole that enhances everything that you wear on top of it and magically can transform a top into looking so much more stylish and easy to wear.



This is the next key area you want to pay attention to because it defines your face and bust area. I regularly see my clients in necklines that do them very little justice. I’m going to cover this whole subject area as it applies to dresses as well in next week’s musings but below are two simple images of what works better in terms of the actual neckline. If the neckline is a little harsh or unflattering then it can be enhanced with an accessory, but better still if you get it right from the outset so pay attention to where the neckline sits on you. Is it too high? Too low? Look for something which works best on you.


Layered Tops

Tops that have built in layers into the design are a great way of adding interest to your outfit, drawing attention to positive parts, without the hassle of finding things to layer underneath. Ideal for almost all body shapes, my guide here is just to be careful that they are not too long for your height otherwise they can swamp you, making your legs appear much shorter than they really are which then creates the illusion of being broader than you are too. Ideally, the top should be no longer than 2 inches below the widest part of your hip.

With all the chiffon and lightweight layers available I advise that you make sure that you tame the volume of the top down with either a long pendant necklace, one of this season’s super skinny scarves or a funky little cross body bag. 

Magyar or Batwing Sleeves

For those of us who are not familiar with pattern cutting terminology, it’s those big baggy wide sleeves that are joined onto the side of so many tops this season. Some have a dropped shoulder seam, some are true Magyar sleeves.  Whatever way you describe them, if you are a fan of this styling be mindful that this style sleeve can make you appear round shouldered and is not as straightforward to wear as you might think. If your shoulder line is not strong – think coat hanger lines, best leave this trend to those who are and select a style that has a traditional shoulder seam. You can still wear a big baggy sleeve, but make sure it starts from the shoulder point.



Wide Plus Wide

When it comes to pairing your top with a bottom half, my advice is think about the proportions. So, if you are going baggy and wide with your top half, pair with slim or skinny trousers or a narrow pencil skirt.

If you are wearing something that follows your body shape on the top half, you can pair with this seasons’ wide legged trousers or a longer skirt with lots of volume. If you simply love oversized top and bottom as a look then of course, you will wear it with style and wearing heels will help slim your overall silhouette.