There are so many choices when it comes to styles of tops --it can be overwhelming. Choosing the right kind of shirt can help accentuate your positive areas and draw attention away from less flattering ones. Depending on your body type, different features of women's tops will look better than others. Taking the time to learn which styles work best for you and getting objective opinions are both ways to simplify your wardrobe options.

Blouses, tunics, empires, sweaters, t-shirts, button-downs and camisoles are common types of women tops; different features include: sleeve length, collar type, neckline and cut.

Sleeve Length

Sleeves can be long, three-quarter length, short or capped. Long sleeves stop at the wrist. Three-quarter length tops stop midway between the elbow and the wrist. Short-sleeves end near the bicep and cap sleeves never fall beyond the armpit.

As the name suggests, a sleeveless top, such as a camisole or a halter top, has no sleeves. Thin or thick straps are most often used instead. Tube tops, however, are sleeveless and strapless and kept in place with the help of elastic sewn in at the top of the garment.


Collars either stand up or lay flat. Straight collars are considered to be more formal than rounded collars, which are more casual and playful.


Tops without collars are grouped according to neckline. The most common necklines include crew necks, v-necks, scoop necks. and turtlenecks. V-necks and scoop necks typically create the illusion of a longer silhouette.


Cut refers to the top's shape and fit. Some tops are boxy, loose-fitting and have straight seams that run from the armpit to the hem. Form-fitting tops have princess seams. Trapeze-shaped cuts, which are seen in many empire tops, are loose-fitting and flare out at the bottom.


Body type and frame will dictate what style of top is best for you. Always consider cut and fabric. Tops with a straight cut flatter most body types. Princess seams create the illusion of an hour-glass silhouette while clingy fabrics reveal imperfections.

About the Author

Indigo Zuri

Based in Detroit, Indigo Zuri began writing fashion-focused articles in 2004. She is a certified image consultant and color expert, writes a weekly style column and contributes regularly to several special-interest websites. Zuri holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Cleary University.