I have several pieces from EF Renew but it bothers me that the EF name for the color is not given ( it just says “blue” not midnight or sapphire”) nor lengths on skirts or anything. In general, I have had good luck and also buy at sales and consignment. It helps to know your size when ordering any brand.

There are several pages of EF stuff on the HBC (The Bay) website - and some of the washable silk and linen silk mixes that are on sale. I’m guessing last year’s stock?


Here’s the link to the silk stuff.


I’m tempted by this dress...

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Thanks Carla . I check the Bay’s site regularly for EF - problem is usually sizes being very limited once the pieces go on sale . Maybe this is where I need to be better at online shopping amd set up sales alerts . Thanks for reminding me about Simons . I bought a great little sweater from them in early Feb and their service / shipping is good too .

Thank god for higher waistlines, because a higher waist bottom and a kind of boxy top has become a summer go-to for me. The last one below (the tee with the gathered bottom) was amazing for how it gave the tucked look without actually being tucked in or even having a conspicuous welted bottom. I had to let it go at the end of last summer and I I haven't found anything close to as good in my shopping since.

Runcarla, I have the white dress on the second page of your link to Bay EF. I also have it in the cocoa brown color. It is a very light weight linen and more volume than I expected, which a topper helps to reign in.

I face some of the same challenges but I’ve actually had a really good summer, style-wise. I’m going to do a post on it eventually. Just trying to find the time to put it together.

Based completely on my experience, I think you should focus on coming up with an outfit formula that works for you in a practical sense and has a joyful element. So, say you start with shorts or a skort, because that’s practical in the heat and you like the silhouette. What would make it more joyful? My immediate thought would be a top in a moody pattern (like a dark floral or a plaid) or an interesting shape (asymmetrical) or a luxe fabric (silk). And it has to be in a colour or colour combination that you like. That makes you feel good. No compromises on colour. Then you add to that: shoes that make you feel good. I think you like shoes, and it is a fairly easy way to add some joy. Maybe some dramatic accessories (optional).

I don’t know if I’ve explained it very well, but that’s the approach I’m going with. It might make more sense when I do my post.

Following with interest! I love the summer so I get past my reluctance to bare skin. We have summer weather for 7 months of the year so I have to deal. My solution is to find interesting bottoms - I wear shorts but only knee length and have found a small collection of interesting silhouettes over time. For tops I am completely with you - the only tee I will wear out is a very well cut one that drapes rather than clings. I used to swear by drapey cross over tops and they still work in a pinch - so old I actually have a find. I will be checking out the EF finds along with you. The cut of the white top looks perfect. There are ways to add personality: jewelry is cooling and a good replacement for scarves. And sunglasses of course. And sandals or flats. And hats!

I wear knee-length shorts because my summer is hot and humid and I travel mainly by bicycle. Just more practical.

For me, a print (either top or bottom) adds a lot to an outfit when I can't wear the "third piece." (Camo for you?) I like woven shirts - they hold up better with very frequent washing - but I don't tuck. I do tie at the waist or I look for shirts that come in at the waist and are not too long. I have better luck finding long-sleeved shirts in prints that I like, so I have a tailor convert to short or cap sleeves.

Thanks for starting this thread. Particularly interested in finding some welted bottom tops.

I am going to be no help at all but just wanted to weigh in and say hi!

I particularly like the linen shells posted by Jenn - I love the shape and those colors are amazing. I know what you mean about linen being less "kempt" than other materials ... but I find it really cool on a very hot day. I bought a black linen kind of overall thing (not at all fitted) last year that was a workhorse in the summer with a fitted tank underneath.

Kind of fun to be having summer dressing challenges, though, isn't it? I'm so done with winter.

I totally agree with your post - same issues here. I do wear tees because they are cool and available but I don't feel very fabulous in them. I have have some sleeveless button downs that are very cool. I struggle with shirts but find if I tie them at the waist that helps a lot. I normally try to find knit tops that have some interest, either a print I like or some other detail in the hem or sleeve.

I don't know how so many make dresses work in super hot weather. I have to wear bike shorts under a dress and that makes them hot and constricting. I can't stand my thighs rubbing together so maybe that's just an issue for me.

Thanks for starting this thread - very useful as I came to a similar realization about my cheap, thin cotton tees from ON, the Gap etc when I packed them up last fall. As I believe Angie said some years ago, t shirts are "basically underwear". But I keep buying them, somehow hoping they will be something they just aren't. Wovens are also cooler in truly hot weather.

As for thick cotton, I do have some Ts from Uniqlo which are a thicker cotton with an interesting slightly puffed sleeve. Boxy cut though and I don't seem them online right now. I do generally recommend them for anyone looking for thicker cotton that hangs better. Their shipping & return policies make them in store only for me though, so not happening for a while.

*I managed to say/spell t shirt three different ways in two paragraphs...

I apologize for taking so long to reply. Hockey game needed to be watched last night;) Also, scrolling up-screen and back down to reply is always a risk - and impossible on my phone . Anyways, here I am.

Also, this has to be the most poorly written post ever . I didn't quite articulate my thoughts the way they were in my head. It's all about the summer top, not dresses or jumpsuits or other tricky things I don't wear. Summer tops.

RobinF - nope, you're not alone. I won't wear dresses most times because I don't like the feel of my legs touching each other. And wearing Jockey skim shorts is fine and all, but not for every day hanging around. Dresses are for going out only.

Vivian - yeah, linen is fine now for breeziness, and maybe if I can find a piece with some interest (rather than just a basic tank or t body ) I'll add one in. This all is making me hate clothes more than ever right now , which is not what I set out to do I bet you are cute in your overalls and tank - suits your body type and gamine look.

shevia - you know, I don't mind baring skin in the summer. My arms aren't exactly cross-fit specimens , but I can't fuss over that anymore. The minute the skin gets crepey and starts to relax is when I'll stop though. And I love shorts. They are all I wear around the house and out to run errands. I know I'm in the minority, but I think it comes from a lifetime of working in the yard, mowing, gardening, painting the fence, trimming the trees, playing with kids etc. Now if I could find a few of that white top you posted in some interesting colours, I'd be set. Great idea.

Brooklyn - you're dead-on with your ideas. Now the challenge is to actually find these tops . Shorts and skorts = relatively easy to find. Same with sandals and jewellery. And you're absolutely right - sticking to *my* colours will be the key.

Jenn - that Garnet Hill top is PERFECT. I want it in that exact colour, too. Let me know what you find - we seem to have the same taste in basic tops.

Angie - some great recommendations , thank you. I think COS is out of the picture for me. Cdn on-line ordering isn't a good option . Sad, because the line is great.

I was also thinking, woven, not knits, and echoing some rayon blends, or cotton blends.
First, hone in on your fave STYLE top. What is your vision of your favorite neckline, collar or no collar or how big- sleeve or no or some of each, cut- straight or slight A line?- or some tailoring?-hem length- where should it hit, untucked- maybe more than one depending on bottoms style- straight or shirttail or maybe could use either.
This is your vision, and that helps you click past or rack past gobs of “ wrong”
tops. Then you apply fabric and color preferences.
In your closet if you have some tops with some of the right characteristics,
that may help your vision-“ like this but sleeveless “.
I also recommend “ Retail Research “ if you can do without impulse buying.
If you are able to go to a store and just ry on some things( hard now maybe with pandemic and also maybe no summer things is stock) , but point is , I sometimes try on things for “ style “ but maybe it’s black or red and I’m not going to buy that color, or it’s too expensive OR too cheap/ poorly made) but I see wow, this is my perfect..( neckline, fabric, whatever).

I am no help because I have the same struggle. T-shirts seems too casual, buttons downs too strict, sweaters too warm and blouses look frumpy or like pajama tops on me most of the time. Add to that too many polyester, see through, shapeless or wrinkly tops - it is not easy. I am looking at the moment for a new top to wear with my new denim skirt and not finding anything.

I do rayon as a preferred fabric for summer tops - could be cheap-one season from ON, Kohl, could be from BR or Nordstrom. Poly-anything is out of question for me.
Quality varies and longevity is not a given. Silk top would be great but the prices went up considerably last few years .

You might want to check out StyleBee (the blog) and search for summer outfits. I feel like she has a good collection of the sort of minimal-luxe tops you might want and shows a variety of ways to style them. And she’s in Guelph so features a lot of Canadian brands. In my experience getting into the mindset of spending big bucks on summer tops is *really* hard (the sweat! the laundering!). But if they are the critical missing element, it’s worth it to have a couple near-perfect ones.

Just saw this Cuyana silk top, love the colour, and bet you could wear it effortlessly.

Also, you are *so* lucky that summer footwear is easy for you to find/fit. I’m pretty sure 9 out of 10 sandals I try on are either heinously uncomfortable or heinously ugly on my feet. Definitely the missing piece of the puzzle for me.

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Lisa, I don't think that your post was poorly written at all and I got/get that you are looking specifically for tops. I think the reason people are riffing on outfit formulas in general is that the choice of top depends on the choice of bottoms (and vice versa).

Maybe the first step is to pull out your summer bottoms that you think work well or that you would like to be the foundation of your at home/off duty wardrobe -- and then figure out what sorts of tops might work with them?

I never wear T shirts, aside from long sleeve ones for sleep in winter. Short sleeves are just too hot and sweaty in Humidsville and just make me look really wide at the shoulders/chest. One exception below, cause I liked the print, but it's just for milder days.

For just at home I wear my gear tanks and skorts- often column of color to look like a dress.

Below are some of my work/weekend tops. I'd wear any of them for errands or whatever in town. No sense in a seperate non gear casual wardrobe for about 2 days a month of use- during normal years. Will probably order a few more from Kettlewell soon.

Oh, yes! Another vote for Garnet Hill. Look at Amour Vert too.

And I like SarahD8's suggestion. Pull out all Summer tops first, and work from there.

Thank you all once again. Tons of great suggestions here. Bottoms I'm working with ? Easy - short, shorts and more shorts. Denim and chino mid and bermuda length .

I would look at California-ish brands, Paige being a good example. Because of the warm climate, they know how to make lightweight tops that stand on their own. Revolve has a lot of that sort of thing, too.

In the summer, honestly I want to wear a cute top and shorts and a necklace. And that’s it. Or a dress. But something in that simplified program needs to be *Interesting*.

Some ideas


You could probably get true-to-you dark floral /botanical without going “full-on boho”.



And how about basic black that’s not a basic t-shirt?

Assymetric https://www.theoutnet.com/en-d.....lsrc=aw.ds

Tie-back is a summer version of banded/welted https://www.jcrew.com/de/p/wom.....-top/J1677

Extra high neckline https://www.theoutnet.com/en-d.....1654219195

Grey/black pattern https://mobile.yoox.com/us/125.....izeName=XS

And wild hairs https://mobile.yoox.com/us/125.....;sizeName=


I’d be delighted if any of these appeal to you.

Only Child has some interesting tops. They are linen and cotton, with great colours and simple designs. I have thought of ordering from them. I am not sure what the return policy is.
My personal favourite is Velvet. I stay away from the real boho tops. For the summer, I go for lightweight long-sleeved shirts because of the dreaded insects. I do wear tees, but I also wear shirts and blouses.
These are some of the ones I own or want to own.

Style Fan - ooh , good suggestion . All the wrong brands are on my radar / social media / other feeds etc , and I’m missing the good stuff . I have had a couple of Velvet tops - but not in years . Those Only Child ones are great too ! Lots of investigating to do .

Lisa - yes , interesting is the key. Without looking like you’re over styled for the occasion . Good idea re Paige et al . Thank you !

Lots of neat suggestions here. I'm glad you asked the question.
I also have trouble feeling like myself in summer clothes. Like you, I do like to wear shorts, although I don't feel as fab in them as I once did. Still, that's my choice for hot days. I wish I had your luck in finding the right ones for me.

One of my favorite summer tops is Only Child, too (the Alta top). They are pricey, but so far it's wearing really well.

It's funny that your summer dilemma is the exact opposite of mine. I feel like I have my tops on lock, but am always struggling with bottoms.

Firecracker , Jenn - summer casual bottoms for me are almost exclusively shorts . On the odd occasion where I’m out socially ( not sure that will be a thing this summer ) , white jeans are my fallback . But for everyday when not at work I’m in Jag bermudas or boyfriend shorts , or Gap chino shorts . I seriously wear very little else . I don’t love air conditioning so my home is not cool enough to warrant pants of any kind

And Jenn - I remember your Only Child recommendation - and now that seals the deal . Off to check them out .