Half Sleeve Tops: Why You’ll Fall Fully in Love
Posted on December 03 2023
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).
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?
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.
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.
Guest contributor & Fair Indigo fan