The fashion industry is ever-evolving, and so are its garments. It’s hard to keep up with trends on what looks good or not.
Attires are becoming more and more complex and diverse, and eventually, it becomes difficult to understand exactly how many garments exist out there. There are so many choices available that someone can get really confused.
What is a top, by the way?
We often overlook clothing tops, but they are an important part of your wardrobe if you know how to wear them and have the right style for your body type and age.
A top is an item of clothing that covers at least the chest, but which usually covers most of the upper human body between the neck and the waistline. (Wikipedia)
It comes in different materials, such as cotton, polyester, nylon or wool. You can find various types of tops out there in the market. Different designers will have different points of view on how many types exist and on their definitions.
We have documented 26 of the most common top styles for you. To the eye of some readers, some of these tops may be similar or exactly the same, while, to others, we probably should have included more.
These tops own the name to their sleeves, as they resemble the wings of bats. They fit tight at the wrists and hang loosely under the arms. They are comfortable on the waist and hips, and they look great whether you’re wearing shorts, jeans, or capris. The sleeves are often full-length or three-quarters.
Photo by Godisable Jacob
A blouse gathers at the waist or hips so that it hangs over the body. This term was used to refer to a shirt with a feminine appearance. While a shirt, by definition, must have buttons, a blouse can be with or without.
You can find them in dozens of materials, with sleeves of all lengths, and in hundreds of colours and designs. These blouses quite often have collars, which make them more ideal for the formal occasion than other tops.
Their versatility makes them ideal for any occasion and people of all ages like to wear them. Whether you want it plain or frilly, solid-coloured or printed, you can find the button-up blouse to match any of your outfits.
A shirt technically has a fully buttoned opening and can be with or without a collar, while a blouse will never feature a full vertical button-up opening.
Named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army major general who led the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. A cardigan is a type of sweater with an open front.
Most modern cardigans don’t have buttons or zippers as we wear them open.
Cropped Mini Tops
Cropped mini tops are a go-to option for youngsters as they show a lot of the waistline area. Some of these tops are also off-the-shoulder tops, making them further revealing.
Perfect to wear with miniskirts and shorts. You can wear them to the beach, your next night out or any event out in the sun. Cropped mini tops also come in a variety of prints, sleeve lengths, and colours, so if you are looking for something particular, you are likely to find it.
Photo by Beatriz Braga
This type of garment come short of covering the midriff, exposing some skin and making it the perfect top for summer. Crop tops can go with everything from skinny jeans to skirts. Given their simple look, they often come in solid colours and with very comfortable materials. They often are sleeveless or short-sleeved, although there are some pretty long-sleeved versions out there.
Crop tops with plain designs are a great option whenever in a hurry and with no time to decide what to wear, especially when of neutral colour. They are comfortable, fashionable and flexible enough to wear anywhere and with any other clothing item.
Photo by form PxHere
Frock tops are traditional and have that western look that makes them very popular. They have a set of pleats at the bottom of the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt itself, and they have a comfortable cotton-polyester fabric. Ideal for summer, they can have fancy lace collars and bright, colourful designs.
They are a good option during winter to cover the neck from the cold. You can go for an oversized option for extra coziness and look extra cute. Wearing a high neck t-shirt over a short dress or simple pants looks classy and stylish.
Photo by cottonbro
A hoodie (also spelled hoody) is a sweatshirt with a hood. Hoodies often include a muff sewn onto the lower front and a drawstring to adjust the hood opening. It covers most of the head and neck and sometimes the face. They can help protect against the environment (cold weather, rain, etc.).
If you’re going for casual or athletic wear, hoodies are a better choice than regular sweatshirts and offer your head something to stay warm.
Photo by form PxHere
Lace tops are made of 100% lace, but since laces come in dozens of designs, styles, and colours, this doesn’t mean that all lace tops look alike. Often they come in materials such as cotton and sheer, lace tops are loose-fitting and can help slim down someone’s figure.
They provide an elegant and classy look, and they are perfect for elegant occasions, such as parties and dances. There are typically two layers to these tops, including an inner layer that is a nude or neutral colour, and an outer one, which is white or off-white.
They come in many unique designs and patterns, and they match everything from skirts to jeans, even capris and shorts.
Photo by Vijay Sadasivuni
These tops have many layers on the front and sometimes on the back of the shirt. The layered look calls attention to itself with its typical spaghetti straps, and with a casual and comfortable fabric like cotton.
You can wear layered tops with jeans or shorts to make them elegant. They are lightweight and loose fit, and they are perfect for casual occasions. Layered tops are popular with younger people, but their sleek style is appropriate for anybody.
Made often of comfortable materials such as cotton, these tops have short sleeves and comprise a loose-fitting style that goes with everything from skirts to jeans. They are loose-fitting all around, including the top, with a rather low cut and flowing.
Women who have medium or hefty builds often prefer loose tops, as they do not fit tight across the body, and they are very comfortable in warm weather.
Often long-sleeved and worn over a camisole or short-sleeved shirt, they are sheer and see-through, and comfortable to wear.
Ideal for work or at the mall, they come in both fancy and casual designs with a variety of colours and patterns. Some of them even have a stylish shiny look.
Both trendy and sexy, off-the-shoulder tops can include one or both shoulders, and they are often short-sleeved. They can be off the shoulders or all the way down, and they can also include one shoulder that looks different from the other one.
They are extremely comfortable and you can wear them with almost everything. This is because of the various designs and colours that the tops come in, which means they offer something to everyone.
Photo by Lucas Pezeta
Peplum tops have a strip sewn onto the waist so that the bottom part flows outward with a slight flare.
Suitable for any occasion, peplum tops flatten the bosom, making it a favourite amongst many women. They can be short-sleeved or sleeveless, and they come in dozens of materials and colours. You can wear these tops with classy jeans for the perfect outfit for a party or other social occasion.
Photo from Oralofori
Plain Poncho Tops
Poncho tops often have a plain design and they get their name because they look like a regular rain poncho. They frequently made this top with long sleeves and in materials such as polyester. This garment is ideal for staying warm and cozy in colder months.
Often they come with a turtleneck, and in dozens of patterns and colours. Because of their looseness and oversized style, they can flatten anybody’s shape.
Photo by form PxHere
Plain Simple Tops
This is a staple item, a basic top in a neutral colour. You can include it in many of your outfits. If you buy these tops in colours such as white or off-white, and it is the right design, you can wear them with everything from jeans to skirts, and if they have v-necks and a loose fit, they’ll always be comfortable and fashionable.
Everybody should have a basic white top in the closet, as it simplifies decision-making.
Ruffle is a fabric design that includes pleats and frills. A ruffled shirt or pants have various frills on their sides or the sleeves. Ruffled shirts have soft, folding fabrics that unleash that feminine look.
Wearing an off-shoulder ruffled shirt will enhance the neckline and give a soft glamorous touch to the look. This top has that youthful vibe to it that is perfect for summer parties, or when you’re heading to the beach.
Photo by Darina Belonogova
Scoop Neck Tops
A scoop neck top has a round neckline that is clearly lower in the front than in the back.
It is popular with teenagers and young people, and you can find them in materials such as polyester or polyester blends. The scoop neck makes the top very comfortable because the shirt is quite loose in the neck area, making it quite popular with the younger population. They come in various designs and colours and you can pair them with jeans or shorts.
Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni
Sheer clothing or material is so thin, light, and delicate that you can see through it. In most cases, only certain areas of the shirt are see-through, such as the top part below the neck, the sleeves, or the bottom.
The sheer element is often because of a design element that shows part of your skin or the clothes underneath, and they can come in forms such as geometric shapes or flowers. Perfect for jeans and leggings. The typical materials are cotton or polyester.
Photo by Alessandro Santos
A shirt is a garment for the upper body aimed to cover the area from the neck down to the waist.
Originally worn only by men, it has become a generic term for a broad variety of upper-body garments and undergarments. In its more generic definition, a shirt is a garment with a collar, sleeves with cuffs, and a full vertical opening with buttons or snaps. (Wikipedia)
Of a casual nature, but also appropriate for office wear, these shirts have collars and buttons down the front, and they can be looser than other types of shirts. They come in all kinds of fabrics, colours and patterns.
Photo by Istvan Szabo
A loose, long-sleeved, collarless pullover of soft fabric, like cotton jersey, with close-fitting or elastic cuffs and sometimes a drawstring at the waist. Although made to be worn during athletic activity for warmth or to induce sweating, they are nowadays a staple item for our wardrobes.
Tank tops are famous for their straight, often tight-fitting design, for being sleeveless, and because you can wear them underneath blouses and other types of shirts. They are suitable for casual or formal occasions.
Tank top’s common fabrics are cotton, polyester, and even silk or satin, and they can be short or long. Tank tops can also come with extra-thin spaghetti straps and in many patterns and colours, so you can always find one that complements your outfit.
The most popular type of shirt worn today is the t-shirt. They can be plain or in fancy patterns, and hundreds of retail outlets and other businesses offer t-shirts with their name or logo on them.
Given the casual nature of this item, they have fabrics such as cotton or cotton blends, but you can still make them stylish by wearing a fashionable blazer or sweater over them.
Photo by Monstera
Made of tight-fitting, elastic-like material and has no sleeves or straps. Tube tops also show the tummy area, so they are quite revealing. Because of the way they cling to the body, they are popular amongst women that want to show off their hourglass figure.
You can wear tube tops on their own or underneath a sheer blouse, and they come in a wide variety of colours and prints. You can wear them with shorts, capris, or blue jeans, and if you want to dress up the look, just add a pair of flats or dressy sandals.
Regardless of the occasion, putting on shorts and a tube top allows you to enjoy your outing to the full.
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch
Tunic tops are slightly larger than normal tops and they resemble dresses. Some are shorter in the front than on the sides and back, while others are of even length. Popular among women over the age of 40, you can wear them as a single dress or with leggings.
They can be long-sleeved or short-sleeved with hundreds of designs, fits, and colours.