half sleeve tees and tops

Half Sleeve Tops: Why You’ll Fall Fully in Love


To every sleeve, there is a season, right? There are always exceptions, but you don’t see many tanks or short sleeve t-shirts in February (at least not here in the Midwest). Likewise, you’d have to look long and hard for a long sleeve top in the melty days of August. Our sleeves tend to be seasonal; one quiet way we mark the passage of time.

But then comes the half sleeve. The half sleeve breaks all the rules. And you’re gonna love it.

The half sleeve, also called elbow sleeve, is deceptively simple. It can also be quite hard to find (especially in organic cotton or even better organic Pima cotton). It’s also addictive. Once you’ve added this elegant and stylish chameleon to your wardrobe, you may never want to be without it again. If you’re like me, you might even actively seek it out, and, perhaps unfairly, evaluate other sleeves against it (where they usually lose).

What is it about elbow sleeves that make them so distinctive and craveable? They’re crisp. They’re clean. Chic. Classy. But elbow sleeve tops also give a certain attitude when used in women’s apparel. A confidence. A demeanor you just don’t get with other sleeves.

Picture Audrey Hepburn gazing coyly at you over one slim shoulder. She’s impeccable. Timeless. And that’s a half sleeve top she’s wearing (we like to think she’d be a fan of this one).

womens organic cotton elbow sleeve tops and tees

Or, how about this: You know those people–maybe you’re one–who can carry all the grocery bags in from the car in one trip, and make it look easy? Those are elbow sleeve people.

This is the sleeve that the one endlessly intriguing woman sitting across the room is wearing. You know the one – she’s got the silvery streaks in her hair and the big, chunky glasses. She’s reading and occasionally smiling to herself. You can see just a little bit of an intricate tattoo peeking out from, you guessed it, an elbow sleeve.

All this to say, there’s some kind of crazy alchemy that happens when you wear a half sleeve top. Maybe someday science will help us explain it, because we’re really not sure how it works, but it manages to tap into the inner easy awesomeness of everyone who puts it on. It’s the singularly perfect choice for when you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get stuff done, but honey, who has time to actually roll up a sleeve?

womens organic cotton half sleeve tops and tees
In women’s clothing, “half sleeve” describes both a style and length of sleeve. Its designed to stop near your elbow. They tend to be closer-fitting and immediately give a leaner, more polished look to any women’s top, regardless of color, length, or neckline. One of the many virtues of half sleeves is that they’re almost universally flattering across all body types. Unless you are quite short-waisted, your elbow tends to align, more or less, with the narrowest part of your waist. A sleeve ending at the elbow naturally draws attention to that area. It’s almost like the sleeve is looking out for your best interests. Your very own sleeve bestie.

Truly timeless and easy to wear, half-sleeve tops make transitional dressing a no-brainer. You immediately get more bang for your buck, both in terms of literal money and fashion flexibility. They’re cool enough for warm weather, and warm enough for cool weather. They layer beautifully, but are just as comfortable standing on their own. They’re casual enough for everyday, and classy enough for special occasions. They’re elegant and effortless while still being completely approachable and relatable.
elbow sleeve tee and tops for women - organic cotton

And, its season-spanning skills aside, if you’re looking for versatility? Pretty tough to find this sleeve’s equal. A nice black half-sleeve boat neck top, paired with a fantastic skirt, could hold its own at a formal event one evening, help you kick off a multi-year project in an executive-packed meeting the next week, and still keep clear of the syrup when you go out for pancakes with the kids the following weekend. They’re a pragmatic wardrobe workhorse that can really almost do it all. And they help you look great in the process, every time.

So, go ahead. Tap into your classy and confident, Audrey Hepburn-esque, endlessly intriguing, get-stuff-done side. Go all in on the half sleeve. I'm pretty sure you won’t regret it. And you might just fall in love.

Caroline Sober


Caroline Sober
Guest contributor & Fair Indigo fan




SHOP Organic Half Sleeve Boat Neck Top

SHOP Organic Half Sleeve Mock Neck Top

SHOP Organic Half Sleeve Scoop Neck Top

SHOP Organic Half Sleeve Boat Neck Dress

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