Buying Clothing – tops

Tops come in a variety of configurations. Many more than for men. For men there are about 4, tank, polo, t-shirt and button down. There are some less common ones more aimed at sports like jerseys.

For women there are that many kind of tops with thin straps. Some tops are meant to be worn by themselves, and some under a blazer or a sweater.


I don’t care if you’re twenty or sixty, if the top is tight it doesn’t fit. A little tiny bit snug around the girls might be ok, but above or below that is right out of the question. Most women carry some weight in their midsection, even young relatively thin women unless they are regularly working out and have the right genetics.

Try the top on. It should fall over the midsection and not cling to it. Same thing with your flanks. You want it to create a smooth line starting at your waist or just at the bottom of your chest and moving downward. If you see your pooch then move on.

Remember – it isn’t the size, whether numeric (10, 12, 14, 16…) or the generic S, M, L, XL, but whether the article of clothing fits. Tamp down your ego or you’ll end up walking into work looking like a blueberry!


We start with wide shoulders. Style that widen  the shoulders are good for natal women because they’re creating a better overall shape. They tend to not be so good for us because they are taking what is generally bigger than would be normal and emphasizing it.

So unless your shoulders are like your sister’s avoid cap sleeves and maybe even some tailored sleeves if they make your shoulders look too big.

There are lots of different styles of each kind of top. A peasant blouse is great on the weekend but might not be the best office wear. On the other hand you might be going somewhere on the weekend where a sharp outfit is appropriate and work in a  place where that blouse with  jeans is fine.


We tend to be tall. A good deal taller than most girls. Some of us much taller. You have to figure this in. One easy way to deal with this is to buy tunic tops. Tunics are already another six to eight inches longer.

If you want to be able to tuck the shirt in, which can be appropriate for a button down if you have the right flat tummy for it, make sure there’s enough length.

Regardless of any of this, you have to be able to bend over and not expose your back and panty band.


I’ve found the term blouse to be a little inexact. I usually associate it with button downs that are more “flowy”, but others simply use it as a synonym for shirt. So I’m  going to just avoid it.

The term top is the generic term for anything covering a woman’s upper body. T-shirt, polo, henley, pull over, tank, etc. are categories just like they are for men. There are wide varieties in all these in women’s wear as compared to men’s wear.

One substantial difference with women’s clothing is layering. For example, I may well take a tank top and wear it under a blazer or a sweater even in December.



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