Fashion Tops Advice

"How to Build a Solid and Stylish Closet with Tops that Look Good on You"

Blue wrap fashion top from Macy's
Courtesy of via Macy's

We tend to go crazy with those cheap and cute fashion tops right?

Yes, they can completely change the look and feel of your outfit, but stuffing in heaps of tops in your shopping cart without strategic planning can be a costly affair for your wallet and not least, a clutter for your closet.

Want to look for the latest top styles and shop instead?

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In this guide you'll find the best shopping strategies to selecting the best tops for your personal style - and also fashion advice on getting the most out of your tops.

Get tips on:
Now let's take a closer look at the important shopping guidelines:

What Fashion Tops to Invest In?

There's a myriad of various top styles out there. It can be overwhelming but oh-so-exciting! The problem here is that most of us tend to overdo it by buying too many tops without really thinking. Yup, they're cheap, cute and everywhere. But still..

.. If you want to get the most out of what you buy, it's super-important to choose the styles that complement your personal style and secure the ones that will stand the test of fashion trends. Not only will this help you save time & money, but it'll prevent you from experiencing the classic I-don't-have-anything-to-wear-closet-syndrom!

Let me give you some tips on how to build a workable wardrobe with fashion tops that you really want and love to wear:

How to Build a Solid Closet with Tops

If you're on a low budget and want to get the most out of your clothes, you first need to secure simple, timeless tops in neutrals that cover your major daily activities and needs.

What's so great about these pieces is that they can easily be accessorized into multiple outfits, and are sooo much flexible in creating various looks. Some classic top styles can even be worn from day to night, going from casual to dressy outfit - and are (if accessorized and put together right) appropriate for most occasions.

Here are the 3 types of fashion tops that you should get first before any other trendy ones:

1. Casual, Basic tops

Basic tees in solids with no or minimal details. These are the backbone of your closet, girls.

Basic v-neck long sleeve top from Urban Outfitters
Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

You need them for effortless layering with your skirts, jeans, pants, cardigans, and yes even dresses. There's absolutely no reason to feel guilty in splurging on these basic tops.

Basics include:
  • Camisoles
  • Tank tops
  • Short sleeve tees
  • Long sleeve tees

Basic casual tops are great for everyday daily wear and if you accessorize and match them right then they can be worn on dressier occasions.

Their blank canvas is perfect for for showing off your pretty accessories such a statement necklace or a trendy scarf. I mean, you can never go wrong with this:

Basic tee stylish outfits

Because basics make your outfits (even if you don't realize it) and they get worn daily, buy as many as you can. For example 3x black camisoles (add one with lace neckline if you like!), 3x black v-neck tees, etc. And please do buy several of the same tee style - it'll ward off laundry days!

After securing the super-ultra necessary basic tops, build on your collection with versatile casual tops with cute details such as Henley neckline, empire waist, puff sleeve, flutter sleeves, etc.

Show off your personal style with fashion tops
Courtesy of John Lewis, Net-a-Porter, My-Wardrobe, Quiksilver

And then work on adding fashion tops that make great fashion statements and really show off your personal taste.

2. Dressy Tops:

After checking off the basics, it's time to work on adding prettier tops that are great for dressier and semi-formal occasions, which include:

Black dressy blouse from ASOS
Courtesy of ASOS

  • Office
  • Dinner out in town
  • Your aunt's birthday bash
  • Dates
  • Meeting your in-laws
  • Anyone you want to give a appropriate and sophisticated impression to. Or when you want to look extra pretty!

Dressy tops also include:
  • Dress shirts
  • Blouses
  • Any top that looks cute and dressy

Again, your choice of dressy tops depends on your major daily activities, lifestyle and personal style, and of course what looks good on you. But I highly recommend you to secure them in solid neutrals (black, dark navy blue, white/cream, etc.) to get the most out of them.

Super-Proof Your Closet:

If you really want to build a super-chic closet and stay covered all-year-around, then these are your essentials:

Essential shirts for women - white dress shirt and blousy white tunic shirt
Courtesy of Stylebop, Debenhams

1. White dress shirt

2. White or off-white blouse

The dress shirt is versatile and polishes almost any outfit. It's also an essential covering those inevitable job interviews!

The white blousy tunic is a great spring and summer closet staple for chic fashionistas, but are great for transitioning from Summer to Fall. It's casual and pretty!

If you like the polished and chic look, buy various styles and versions of the dress shirt and blouse, like this pink pussy bow blouse shirt:

Powder pink pussy bow blouse shirt
Courtesy of TopShops

3. Party Tops

They're dressier and "festive" than dressy tops, worn on occasions such as:
  • Clubbing
  • Parties

Tight-fitted clubwear is an example of party tops. They show more skin as well.

Basic party one shoulder top body form ASOS
Courtesy of ASOS

Examples are:
  • Plunging neckline - show off your décolletage
  • Cut outs - flaunt your waist
  • Open back - accentuate your toned back
  • One-shoulder - showcase your strong and fit shoulders
  • Bustier/sweetheart neckline - enhance your bust

A strategy is to buy them in styles that accentuate your best assets. That'll help you shine on the dance floor!

Trendy vs. Basic Tops

I rarely purchase tops that are complicated in details, such as trendy prints and embellishments. They often limit your mixing & matching - simply, because they're a bit harder to multiply in outfits and also because they're not "neutral" enough to be worn on various occasions.

Trendy versus basic top
Courtesy of,

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy trendy tops, it's just that it's always best to buy the right amount of clothes that you need and go hand in hand with your major your daily activities.

So yes, if you for example work as a party/event/club planner then doubling the amount of trendy tops is necessary!

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Best Fashion Tops for Your Body Shape

Horizontal Body Shape

Your focus is to show off your well-defined waist. Because of your wide hips and bust/shoulder line, boxy tops tend tops tend to make you look, well, boxy! So look for tops that drape and wrap below your bust.

Your best tops:
    Best fashion tops for Hourglass Body Shape
    Courtesy of
  • Nipped at the waist
  • Belted tops
  • Wrap tops creates a smooth silhouette on your hourglass body
  • Low'ish necklines to bring attention to your waist
  • Tops with bust enhancing necklines such as scoop, sweetheart and bustier
  • Tops that extend just below the hipbone or past the thighs

A good bra helps boost your proportional silhouette!

Learn more on how to dress your Hourglass body shape

Your goal is to draw the eye away from your wide hips by adding interest and creating curves on top.

Your best tops:
    Best fashion tops for Pear Body Shape
    Courtesy of Gap
  • Wide or rounded necklines (eg. Boatneck, scoopneck, etc.)
  • Light colored tops
  • Tops with shoulder, chest, neckline and sleeve details
  • Bust-enhancing necklines (sweetheart and bustier) to really lift up your chest and add volume
  • Printed and embellished tops
  • Bright colored tops
  • Tops that hit a few inches above your hipline draw the eye upwards

A great supportive bra can really boost your upper body and make your wide hips less prominent.

Learn more on how to dress your Pear body shape

Inverted Triangle
Look for fashion tops that flatter your wide shoulders and draw less attention to them.

Your best tops:

    Best fashion tops for Inverted Triangle Body Shape
    Courtesy of Net-a-Porter
  • Tops with soft and drapey fabric. Thick and rigid fabric only add bulk.
  • Soft sleeved (so avoid straight lines)
  • Wide strapped
  • Tops with no or minimal interest (eg. Collar less shirts)
  • Tops with vertical details that draw the eye up and down
  • Tops that flare from the waist and down – it helps fake hips

Learn more on how to dress your Inverted Triangle body shape

Your goal is to slim down your mid-section and draw the eye upwards.

Your best tops:
    Best fashion tops for Apple Body Shape
    Courtesy of TheOutnet
  • Skim over your midsection (empire waist)
  • Low'ish necklines that slim your upper body and draw the eye up and down
  • Tops with shoulder, neckline and sleeve details
  • Structured shoulders to keep the eye on your upper body
  • Long tops that float away from your waist

A good support bra also helps in keeping your girls high and lifted, showing more of your torso and making your apple tummy look longer and slimmer.

Learn more on how to dress your Apple body shape

Your focus is to break up your silhouette to create curves from waist up and waist down.

Your best tops:
    Best fashion tops for Rectangle Body Shape
    Courtesy of Miss Selfridge
  • Tops flaring from the waist and down
  • Tops with various prints, textures and details from the bust and up. Just keep the details of the waist, or add a black belt to nip your waist
  • Tops in bright and light colors
  • Nipped tops

And of course, a good bra that lifts up and boosts the volume around your chest!

Learn more on how to dress your Rectangle body shape

Vertical Body Shape

Short waist
Long legs are appreciated because they make you look taller than you are.

However if you're not happy about your short waist, here are some top styles recommendations and styling tips to help elongate it:

    Best fashion tops and styling tips for a short waist
  • Tops with interest above the bust – it draw the eye up and down
  • Medium to long tops
  • Untucking your top
  • Dark colored top and light colored bottom

Learn more on how to style your short waist

Long waist
A long waist looks very elegant but your short legs might get too much attention.

If you're self-conscious about your long waist or short legs, here are my top styles and styling recommendations that will help shorten your waist and make your legs longer:

    Best fashion tops and styling tips for a long waist
  • Print tops or tops that have interest, especially horizontal details
  • Tucking your top
  • Light colored top and dark bottom
  • Tops that end at hipbone or above hipbone

Learn more on how to style your long waist

Long tops visually shorten your lower body and can make you look stumpy. So if you are curvy (Pear or Hourglass) or short, or carry most of the weight around your hips and thighs, then I suggest working on elongating your legs because this can make you look taller and trimmer.

Kim Kardashian wearing a skirt and heels to elongate her legs
Kim Kardashian/Courtesy of Splash News

But a pair of heels will always fix this problem! :-)

Learn more on how to style your balanced vertical body shape

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Classic "Problem Areas"

Muffin Top

I think this is one of the figure "flaws" most of us have (yes, that includes me)! Your goal is to look for top styles that conceal your midsection and fabrics that don't cling to your muffin top - which helps skim past this area.

These muffin top complementing tips work for a body figure with:
  • High hips
  • Weight carried around the midsection
  • Love handles. No matter how much you diet or exercise, they’re still there

Tops to look for:
    Best fashion tops for full tummys and muffin top
    Courtesy of Calypsostbarth
  • Shapewear camisole worn under sweaters and shirts & blouses. They work just like body shaper but target your upper body
  • Structured cardigans (incl. jackets and coats) that can be layered over your tops. This draws attention away from your midriff
  • Prints and textures with a dark color base – because it camouflages the bumps
  • Woven tops – compared to clingy jerseys, they skim the contour of your love handles
  • Tops with interest around necklines and shoulder area to draw attention away from your midriff

Full Bust

If you're well-endowed, then focus on making your full bust less obvious by:
  • Revealing more skin around the chest
  • Scale your jewelry to the size of your bust
  • Keeping the details on top simple

So look for tops with:
    Best fashion tops for a full bust breasts
    Courtesy of TheOutnet
  • Low necklines that stop at the top of your cleavage. V-neck is ideal as the vertical shape draws the eye up and down
  • Fitted and come in at your waist (eg. Wrap and nipped tops)
  • Sleeves that end above or below your mid-bust point
  • Shoulder details because they add height and draw attention away from your bust
  • Wide collars. They draw the eye outwards and away from your chest
  • Knit fabric: they "give in" and make the fit of the top look perfect on you

Small Bust

If you're a small B cup or smaller, your goal is to visually enhance your bust by:
  • Adding volume at the bodice
  • Trim your waist as it makes your bust bigger

So scout for tops that feature:
    Best fashion tops for small bust breasts
    Courtesy of Old Navy
  • Gathering, pleats, knots, twists and/or ruching at the bodice
  • Bust-enhancing neckline such as sweetheart and bustier
  • Draping at the neckline
  • A trim waist (eg. Nipped, wrap)
  • Neckline details such as ruffles and lace. Just make sure the ruffles aren't too big or fluffy as this will defeat the whole point and make your chest look smaller

And a good push-up bra will help boost your girls!

Flabby Arms

If your arms look big and make your shoulder line look wide, focus on concealing them by wearing:
  • Sleeves!
  • Details and colors that camouflage

It's mostly about selecting the right sleeve cut.

So be on the look out for tops with:
    Best fashion tops for full and flabby arms
    Courtesy of Jane
  • Sleeves that skim past the biggest part of your arms. Sleeves that end at the thickest part make them look bigger and only draw attention to them
  • Three-quarter sleeves because they make your arms look longer and leaner
  • Sleeves that flare outwards (eg. Bell sleeve)
  • Dark colors such as black and navy blue around the sleeve area
  • Drapey fabric, because rigid fabrics add bulk
  • Slightly loose sleeves. They make your arms look smaller in comparison to tight and snug sleeves which make the flab bulge out.
  • Detailed shoulders add balance to your flabby arms. Eg. Slightly padded, embellishment that draw the eye away from your arms

That also include dolman and kimono sleeves!

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Time to Shop for the Latest Fashion Tops

Now that you've gone through my fashion tips and shopping advice on womens tops, it's time to shop!

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