I'm not asking for much, just the perfect top in unfashionable colors.
May 18, 2011 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Lead me to your secret treasure trove of tops that won't make me look like a tattooed easter egg!

My online shopping skills are failing me.

I (female) am looking for solid jersey tops:

- three-quarter sleeves
- soft, lighter weight cotton or modal/rayon (or some natural fiber blend, no polyester) with spandex for stretch. Layering is fine.
- no useless boob pockets
- long length in a fitted cut
- scoop or v-neck is fine (no boatneck)
- hopefully under $30, but I would splurge on particularly beautiful colors
- online ordering only

The kicker is the color. I am fair with gauged ears and tattoos. The normal bright spring/summer color choices aren't flattering on me, and they don't fit with the rest of my wardrobe or aesthetic. Three-quarter sleeves will mostly cover the tattoos at work in warm seasons when long sleeves make me fussy. I'd be all over colors like this, or most of these. I don't want to wear just black.

These are about right aside from not being a spandex blend, but I wouldn't buy any of those color choices. These are better color choices and the material content seems right, but they aren't three-quarter sleeves. I could cut the sleeves, but that kind of wrecks the point of buying them for work.

Where can I find basic three-quarter sleeve tops in a selection of awesome rich, subtle colors? I'm starting to ponder buying white ones and dyeing my own, and that sounds like work.
posted by griselda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Zappos has some good looking 3/4 sleeve tees by Three Dots. Start there and follow their recommendations links- there seem to be a lot.
posted by media_itoku at 7:08 PM on May 18, 2011

J.C. Penny's store brand is St. John's Bay. The 3/4, cotton v-necks are on sale.
posted by JujuB at 7:08 PM on May 18, 2011

L.L.Bean has a big color palette for this kind of top. A lot of springy stuff - but one or two colors that might suit you.

Eddie Bauer
has a dark eggplant that's kinda pretty too.

Good luck!
posted by pantarei70 at 7:16 PM on May 18, 2011

Have you tried Old Navy yet? I just took a quick look and found these and these (the latter colors probably not being great, but they have 3/4 sleeve tops all the time and usually in a million colors, so check back each week). Many more with buttons, etc. Also lots of tanks you could wear with one of their 8 zillion cardigans. I buy *all* my clothes there now because they are so cheap and have free shipping/returns on plus sizes, which I assume you are not, but they have lots of good regular-sized-women's options.
posted by pupstocks at 7:37 PM on May 18, 2011

I'm also pale, with stretched earlobe piercings and a bunch of tattoos, and I also work in a biz-caz environment (I'm male, though). I used to mostly stick with dark grays and blacks and navies and olives and stuff. It gets hot here, though, and so, more recently, I've branched out into pale, muted colors like off-whites and pastels. I'm not making any promises, but these colors might make you look more grown-up and/or less imposing.

pantarei's preppyish suggestions are on the right track, I think--Lands' End, J Crew and Boden seem like they might have something like what you have in mind.

(Incidentally, if you find shirts that are ideal except for the sleeve length, maybe you could alter them yourself, or maybe you know a seamstress or tailor or somebody.)
posted by box at 7:38 PM on May 18, 2011

Seconding Eddie Bauer. I'm on a neverending quest for the perfect work-appropriate 3/4-sleeve tee, and the style pantarei70 links is as close as I've found. They've got the right amount of stretch, and the weight is neither tissuey nor beefy. As far as I know they do rotate colors with the seasons, and mark down old colors.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:52 PM on May 18, 2011

Actually, if that was a serious statement at the end of your question, you really should dye your own. If you can find white ones that you like, do it! It's really easy. (I say this as a person who does not regularly dye things but has dyed things a few times and every time I dye things I wonder why I don't dye things all the time. Anyway.)

Plain old boring Rit powder is really easy (and cheap). They have a handy color mixing chart on their website, but unless you're trying to get something an exact shade, it's not really necessary. I just have a standard blue, yellow, and red that I mix together.

Here's a set of onesies that I made for a friend's new baby. Everything was either PINK!!! or already had crap printed on them. These started as just plain white cotton, and after about an hour messing around in the sink, resulted in gorgeous colors.
posted by phunniemee at 7:53 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

You've considered American Apparel, right?

This is probably my all time favorite t-shirt.
posted by Sara C. at 8:14 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you were willing to skip the spandex, I'd say the Jones New York V-neck 3/4 sleeve cotton knit tops would be perfect. I love mine. The Jungle Green would work along with your preferred colour palette.

I just picked up a bunch on sale dirt cheap. They're the same tops, but they were the fall and winter left-overs, so the colours were more in keeping with what you like: terra cotta, saddle, etc. If you have a Jones store nearby, you might still find some at deeply reduced prices. I actually ended up with both v-necks and round necks.

Actually it's a pretty stretchy cotton. Before I looked at the label I would have guessed that the fabric had some spandex in it.

(Yes, I know I've recommended Jones before, but that's because it's a staple brand in my working and casual wardrobe.)
posted by sardonyx at 8:16 PM on May 18, 2011

There's also a slightly different version in grey.
posted by sardonyx at 8:30 PM on May 18, 2011

Echoing phunimee to say, consider dyeing your own. However, instead of Rit, I would recommend Procion dyes from Dharma Trading. The colors are deep and gorgeous and are very colorfast. Yes, its a bit scary and fiddly the first time, but if you can read and run an eggtimer, it's no big deal. Dharma has instructions and dyeable white shirts for dyeing. I don't work for Dharma, just a happy customer. There are also dyeing tutorials on YouTube.

If you really don't want to dye, take a look at places that sell shirts for screenprinting. I just bought a bunch of tees for Mr. jane from here - you can mix and match colors, styles and sizes to get discounts - no minimum order. This style has a handful of the colors you are looking for.
posted by sarajane at 10:16 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Zappo's has some Three Dot 3/4 length sleeve tees. I like the quality of Three Dot, but the colors likely won't suit you, except for possibly the navy or brown. 6pm.com (I am totally unfamiliar with them) also has some Three Dot 3/4 sleeves, in a couple colors that might appeal to you.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:56 AM on May 19, 2011

I just bought two shirts from Alloy that may be what you're looking for. They're very soft, good colors, excellent length, pretty cheap, and I love them. Like to the point where I wear one at least once a week type of love. Two things that may be deal-breakers for you: The sleeves fit better if you push them up past the elbow than if you keep them down, and the lighter colors come off pretty sheer and may not cover tattoos if that's what you need. I bought a shirt in the wisteria and taupe colors; I have the sheer problem with the wisteria but not the taupe.

On preview, a third potential deal-breaker: the material is a poly/rayon blend, not the cotton/rayon/spandex blend you're hoping for.
posted by lilac girl at 5:55 PM on May 19, 2011

« Older Sick to death of OCSD (obsessive compulsive safety...   |   How do I tell my sister she rambles on and on and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.