Some women love it when the mercury drops, because it gives them a chance to wear those heavy-duty sweaters that only come out of the closet during the coldest months of the year.
I make my clothing decisions based on both modesty, and on my personal fashion sense. Personally, I feel prettier when my clothes offer a sleek, feminine line. And guess what? Despite the red-carpet images sold to us by Madison Avenue and Hollywood – shivering celebrities in barely-there evening gowns come to mind – we women can dress fashionably in winter… and stay warm!
Women’s Tunic Top – Short Front Long Back
Let’s go from the bottom up. Modest dressers can stay toasty by relying on three-quarter and long-sleeved shell tops. These items – which, during the summer months, help bridge the gap between an outfit’s too-low necklines or too-short sleeves, and our desired coverage level – do double-duty in winter. Not only do they keep us cozy and warm, they can also add a fashionable dash of color.
When choosing what to go on top of that first layer, I like to reach for something with a graceful, interesting shape – like an unbalanced hemline or mullet cut tunic. Both these tops look great over a boot-length skirt.
Loose Knit Cardigan with Pockets
Topping it Off
There are lots of fashion-conscious options for top layers (not to be confused with outerwear; see below) in winter. From open-front cardigans to belted sweaters, they give me a modestly feminine shape, while keeping me warm.
Of course, winter weather requires a winter coat. But if you’re like me, while you don’t want to freeze, you don’t want to look like the Michelin Man, either. High-tech fabrics like Thinsulate keep the bulk down, so making belted outerwear a pretty option. So ladies, remember: whatever the forecast, think fashion!
Quick—how many types of sleeve lengths can you name? If you can only come up with “short” and “long,” it’s time to update your slee-vocuabulary. Worn as layering shirts, shell tops or on their own, you can play around with different sleeve lengths to expand your wardrobe options.
Walk into many stores today, especially stores that specialize in modest clothing, and it’s like the Baskin Robbins of sleeve lengths. So many choices!
Let’s take a look, starting with the shortest and working our way down the arm.
- Sleeveless. This is your classic spaghetti strap shirt. Not overly modest, but it can work beautifully as a layering shirt, like underneath a V-neck sweater. Spice up your sleeveless shirt collection with the addition of a Bolero SleeveOn® mini shrug. The bolero is a comfortable, light accessory to cover those arms and shoulders without sacrificing style. A long tank top is also a perfect addition to your sleeveless wardrobe and looks great under a shrug or cardigan.
- Cap sleeve. Ahhh, cap sleeve shirts bring me back to my youth. Those cute little shirts with fluttery sleeves that j-u-u-u-st cover the shoulder! But cap sleeves don’t jive with a more modest wardrobe. For modest fashionistias, try wearing your cap sleeve shirt as a shell top under a jacket. Or, whip out your oh-so-fashionable-and-functional bolero to cover up your arms while letting your shirt sparkle.
- Short. The classic length, usually ending right below your shoulder. But no reason to write them off because you like something covering your arm. A classic short-sleeve shirt can have infinite uses: It can play shell top to a jacket, or layering shirt over a long sleeve shirt (play around with different colors and shades if you’re feeling bold.) With a short sleeve shirt, the bolero can function as an over-the-shirt jacket, or an under-the-shirt layering shirt. In the summer, when you want as few layers as possible, Sleevies® come to your rescue. A pair of Sleevies® under your short sleeve shirt creates a modest sleeve length.
- Right above the elbow. Eureka! My personal favorite, especially for summer. It covers the arm between the shoulder and elbow, but stops right above the elbow. A modest look that lets you stay cool.
- ¾ length. Different stores and different manufacturers have differing ideas about what makes a shirt “3/4 length,” so you definitely want to try it before you buy it. A shirt of this length could end anywhere from right below the elbow to right above the wrist. Go for the below the elbow length if you want the right fit. Modest and so super-easy, 3/4 length shirts are a must-have for your shirt wardrobe.
- Long. The other classic length, which comes down to your wrist. (Tall shoppers beware: Make sure the sleeve covers your wrist. I have had one too many occurrences of buying a long sleeve shirt without trying it on and seeing that it ends just above my wrist, a fashion no-no.) A fitted long sleeve top coordinates with any skirt and is an easy, modest fashion choice.
What are your favorite sleeve lengths? Do you prefer the ease of a simple long or 3/4-length sleeve, or do you love to layer?
A while ago I wrote about how I love wearing my clothing layered to stay warm and stylish in the winter. But now, as I’m slowly changing over my closet from winter to summer clothing, I’m beginning to remember that much of my summer clothing has short sleeves or a low-cut top, styles that are designed to balance well with the summer heat, but that leave me feeling rather exposed. In summers past I used to pair a trusty black (or white) cardigan with nearly every shirt…but I’ve realized over time that I’m covering up my colorful wardrobe and that none of my summer clothing is getting the attention it deserves.
Before and After Sleevies
Fortunately, I’ve found multiple solutions that I think will enhance my summer wardrobe in ways that I never thought possible. The layering clothes that I’m most excited about are Sleevies®. At first glance, Sleevies remind me of legwarmers for my arms, but without the bulkiness or bunchy style of those ’80s staples. Instead, Sleevies are made from cotton and Lycra, so they cover your arm without sliding down or making you too hot. With Sleevies, I’ve been able to resurrect several short-sleeved shirts from my wardrobe, and I’ve even purchased a few more because I know that I can wear them without covering them up or overheating with a full long-sleeved shirt underneath.
Another great item I’ve found which enables me to wear my clothing layered in the summer is a cropped ¾ sleeve layering tee, which as its name suggests, makes it look like I’m wearing a full shirt underneath an outfit, when really, I’m only wearing the top of a shirt. There are 3 major benefits of this type of layering clothing. Firstly, I can cover my arms and my chest modestly and stylishly without having to add a full extra shirt on a hot summer day. Secondly, (and I hope you don’t mind me being a bit personal), is that wearing a cropped shirt often allows me to get two uses out of my top shirt before needing to wash it. Finally, wearing a cropped shirt prevents the bulk that often results when I wear 2 full shirts, so that I can look stylish without looking like I’ve gained 5 pounds.
I know that these fantastic finds will make it possible for me to enjoy the look of layered clothing all summer and to purchase clothing that I would otherwise never consider because of its lack of modesty. I truly love being able to shop in ‘regular’ stores while knowing that I can gently adjust my clothing to become more modest, without compromising on style. In fact, if you ask me, wearing my clothing layered just gives me even more of an opportunity to express myself!
There’s no question that winter is upon us. And what I’m really trying to say is that it’s COLD. There are certain things that I love about cold weather, like snuggling under a down blanket, sipping a hot chocolate and sledding down a steep hill. But what I dislike most about the winter is being cold. And I am cold a lot. What’s a fashion-conscious girl to do when she only wants to wear big, fleecy sweaters, but doesn’t want to look like a winterized swamp thing? Wear layering tops!
It almost sounds implausible, but wearing several layering tops is a great way to stay cozy and chic. By their very nature, layering shirts are relatively thin shirts designed to be worn in tandem, most often as long-sleeved or ¾ length sleeved shirts under short-sleeved shirts or tank-tops under long-sleeved shirts. Not only do they keep women covered up in all the right places, but they are eternally stylish and popular among people of most ages. Layering tops are thin enough to be fashionable (without being overly-tight), and, when worn together, create fantastic warmth throughout the winter.
As it happens, I enjoy layering tops not only because they are cozy, but because they can create an endless array of looks. I mix pink layering shirts under gray sweaters, grey layering shirts under black sweaters and black tank tops under just about everything. I also own several white layering tops which I use to add a splash of light to a dark outfit or to protect my skin against a scratchy winter sweater.
I love layering tops so much that I ended up buying a bunch for my children, who also use them under jumpers, sweaters or T shirts. I can even purchase sleeveless dresses for my daughters as I know that they can wear layering shirts underneath to be both modest and warm. Although my children are warm-blooded (like their father) instead of constantly cold (like me), they enjoy the ability to wear layering tops instead of sweaters, which they (rightfully) note are less bulky and much prettier than huge sweaters.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that women no longer need to hide under giant fleece sweaters in order to stay warm- why not try some layering tops to look great and feel warm?