Simplify my work tops, dressy jeans edition
April 5, 2017 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I can now wear dressy jeans to work. Do these kind of tops exist? - Reasonably warm in cold offices - Appropriate for non-winter seasons (e.g., not a turtleneck sweater) - Machine washable, non-iron - Work for small chested, standard sizes - Don't need to tuck them in - Don't need multiple layers to look nice (e.g., collared blouse plus sweater) Favorites?

If it helps, my holy grail for dresses is solid colors in Talbot/Lands End ponte, Boden ottomon fabric.

Tried but doesn't cut it: I have bought a lot mainly Loft blouses in the past, which are washable but not warm, and am getting tired of cardigans.

I tend to ballet flats. I have plenty of necklaces, and a black and ivory jeans belt.
posted by typecloud to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Land's End ponte tops? I can't speak to the cuts, but the dresses are warm and hold up to machine washing better than you'd expect.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:01 AM on April 5, 2017

Aaand you have tried the dresses - but try the tops!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:15 AM on April 5, 2017

A search term that might work for you is long-sleeved tunic tops.
posted by lalex at 11:23 AM on April 5, 2017

Are oxford shirts warm enough?
posted by raccoon409 at 11:32 AM on April 5, 2017

I love stretch silk blouses. Silk is warm in winter and cool in summer, very soft and smooth, machine washable (hang dry and iron or steam it after), and looks great. You can find varying levels of shininess. eBay and used clothing shops often have them and you can get them tailored easily.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:38 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Chicos has a lot of this kind of tunic/top. Most are washable.
posted by pangolin party at 11:53 AM on April 5, 2017

I am a huge fan of the Lands' End twinsets for exactly this purpose. They are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, and the short-sleeved pullovers are comfortable alone in summer or with a cardigan in spring/fall/mild winter. They are easy care and, in my experience, fit well into a business casual wardrobe because you can also wear them under a blazer if you want to get more dressy.
posted by oblique red at 11:57 AM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pricey, but Ureshii. They have great longevity (in my experience--i thrown them in the washing machine but not the dryer) and the ones that are double layered are pretty warm in too cold offices but not too hot outside. Lots of options, don't need to be tucked in, don't need to be layered. Nice range of solid colors, but a rotating cast of prints, if that's your style.
posted by crush at 12:31 PM on April 5, 2017

Toad & Co carries a style I love, in long sleeve or 3/4 sleeve.
posted by dorey_oh at 12:34 PM on April 5, 2017

Thanks so far for answers. Designer specific and material specific stuff is helpful. (I'm basically looking for something from the top/knit section that is dressy enough for business casual while not being too matronly and not a cardigan. Higher end is OK.)
posted by typecloud at 2:02 PM on April 5, 2017

If you like Land's End, I'd also check out LL Bean and Eddie Bauer.
posted by epj at 2:06 PM on April 5, 2017

Oh look, Wintersilks is having a knit top sale. I am very loyal to them and their lightweight, but warm, tops and layering pieces. I have some that are 30(!) years old.
posted by annaramma at 3:03 PM on April 5, 2017

Bring the denim! Try Modcloth even if you're not a vintage/mod womyn. Their stock of blouses is crazy deep and even if you don't find _the_ right item, you might find a perfect style to seek out. Cue has amazing more minimal pieces with stronger lines. Benetton is also worth a look again. Surprisingly good selection of interesting broadcloth oxfords and blended weave blouses in prints that aren't too feminine for officing but aren't too man shirt, either. (Benetton shirts run a bit long. I send most clients to the tailor and have the shirts taken up. Until last year when we all started wearing shirt tails again, I just squared the shirt tails off. Untucked shirts DIY style. Works for any oxford that you like but feels a little too boyfriend to be wearing untucked.)

Also because layering....Cardies can get meh-feeling after you wear them a lot. Throwing a big broach or a collection on pins on them isn't exactly hot this year, but it does bring new life to them. Layering gives you an excuse to buy the cute summery things now, so try a casual blazer (look for something that's fitted and a bit cropped -- a cotton/poly print if you rock that, a thin wale corduroy that's not too heavy, structured cloth in canvas, khaki, and white. Because high-end is okay, keep an eye out for a thinner leather jacket too. Go classic: no moto, no extra zippers, just simple. You can wear it as a blazer and a cardi. Snap it up when you find the perfect one.

Enjoy your new dress code! Sorry I wrote this messy and fast.
posted by Kalatraz at 3:13 PM on April 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I recently discovered Australian brand Alpha60; it fills exactly this niche for me.
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 4:10 PM on April 5, 2017

I like the J Crew/J Crew Factory 3/4 sleeve sweaters for this purpose. They have tons of them every year in different colors and patterns, and they come in both cotton w/stretch and wool. I've only tried the cotton ones, which are warm enough for me in most weather, and am a fan (wearing a white one with a broken black stripe right now).
posted by snaw at 5:34 PM on April 5, 2017

Soft Surroundings: This, this, this, this, and lots more.
posted by Joleta at 9:14 PM on April 5, 2017

I find silk blouses freezing cold in office AC--unless I layer something under or over them. So a cardigan over a silk blouse or a Uniqlo heattech thermal tee underneath. Silk is dry-clean or hand wash at best, though.

I like to wear J.Crew's printed buttondowns and popovers to work during the summer months. The print (plaid or Liberty floral) adds some interest and the long sleeves keep me warm when sitting still but cool when I go outside in the sun. Usually the fabrication is cotton voile or cotton-silk blend during the summer. I don't know whether they're dressy enough to wear untucked in your office, as mine is very casual.

Oh yeah, seconding the J.Crew 3/4 sleeve Tippi sweaters too. I'm not a big fan of their redesigned fit this year, but try it on and see what you think. I wear the wool Tippis year-round in northern California, but I run cold and it doesn't get that hot outside.
posted by serelliya at 11:16 PM on April 5, 2017

So many response were helpful. The 3/4 sleeve sweaters and oxford/broadcloth/popovers look like the route to investigate for me (I run fairly cold) to fit the polished but warm without getting too complicated. I may try to find a casual blazer as well.
posted by typecloud at 6:51 AM on April 6, 2017

Tippis are indeed the go-to, but the wool ones won't be machine-washable. (I feel like there's your real conflict: machine-washable + warm enough to wear without a cardigan + not matronly is a tough combo, as most warm and non-matronly fabrics except cotton will not be machine-washable.)

Ann Taylor and Banana Republic often have rayon tops that might fit your bill. Lately they've been running more polyester (bleah!) and they never have enough short-sleeve versions, but I would definitely check out their knits section.
posted by praemunire at 8:08 AM on April 6, 2017

Yes, definitely. Fabric suggestions above have been helpful, and I also acknowledge that it may be a pick two of three scenario.
posted by typecloud at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2017

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