Summer tops with sleeves that are flattering, cool and stylish – including a divine M&S number currently on sale in all sizes for just £9.50!

Just because the summer season and warm weather has arrived doesn't mean you have to expose your arms in flimsy, strappy tops. We have found the best summer tops with sleeves for you.

(Image credit: PPP)

Welcome to woman&home's online shopping guides, where we reveal where to buy the most popular and top-rated products. This guide is about where to the most flattering summer tops, but you may also be interested in our edits of best resusable face masks,summer sleepwear, stylish picnic essentials, and flattering swimwear styles for every shape.

There are lots of wardrobe staples that see us through summer... Linen dresses and jumpsuits being the first two that spring to mind. But let's face it, we're always looking for a great jeans and a nice summer top combo too (though in these lockdown days we're more likely to be wearing our summer tops with luxe joggers!).

For most of us, the thought of strappy summery tops fills us with dread. But, there is no need to panic, you can still look summery and feel great - all without your arms on show. You just need to pick the right sleeve style for your body shape (and make sure it's in a colour that suits you).

Voluminous, puffy sleeves are a huge trend at the moment - it's definitely the case of the bigger the better for this trend! If you want something fashion forward look for stiffer fabrics that hold their shape and look dramatic. If you want to subtly nod to the trend then choose summer tops made from softer material. The effect will still be there, but it will be much more classic.

How to choose a summer top with the right sleeve length for you

There are so many variations on sleeve lengths, from full length, to 3/4 length and short sleeves, plus everything in between. There are plenty of options, we recommend trying on a few different types and playing with proportions to find what works best for you.

However, as a general rule, if you are conscious of adding bulk to your arm area, look for styles where the volume starts from the elbow down. This will draw the attention towards your wrists - the slimmest part of your arm.

The best summer tops are made from breathable fabrics

Get into the habit of checking your clothing labels or the descriptions online when purchasing new items for the summer season. It will stop any of those unwanted surprises when you first wear your new item in the heat. Look out for:

  • Cotton – it is perfect for all climates, the natural fibres allow air to circulate and move freely through the fabric, making the heat more bearable.
  • Linen – it is known for keeping you exceptionally cool in the heat. The light weave and natural fibre allow for maximum breathability.
  • Silk – often an expensive option, and one that comes more hassle when it comes to washing it, but silk is very cooling in warm weather, and exceptionally comfortable against skin.
  • Sheer and cutout fabrics – If you want to cover up but keep cool then look out for transparent sleeves and cut out detail. A broderie style top is a great option.
  • Pale colours – opt for a white, cream or a pastel colour palette. Lighter colours such a as these do not absorb sunlight like dark colours do and will keep you cooler.

Top tip!John Lewis' sale has huge reductions up to 70% off styles at the moment. Use the size option button on the left hand size to avoid disappointment.

Summer tops with sleeves – the fashion team's shopping edit

Printed Pleat Front Short Sleeve Blouse

Printed Pleat Front Short Sleeve Blouse

£9.50, M&S

VIEW NOW: Printed Pleat Front Short Sleeve Blouse

H&M Lyocell-blend wrapover blouse

H&M Lyocell-blend wrapover blouse

£29.99, sizes 6-18, H&M

VIEW NOW: H&M Lyocell-blend wrapover blouse

Mango 100% organic cotton printed blouse

Mango 100% organic cotton printed blouse

£29.99, sizes 6-14, Mango

VIEW NOW: Mango 100% organic cotton printed blouse

Matalan Falmer Embroidered Cover Up

Matalan Falmer Embroidered Cover Up

£30, sizes 8-20, Matalan

VIEW NOW: Matalan Falmer Embroidered Cover Up

Peacocks Womens Pink Floral Ruffle Blouse

Peacocks Womens Pink Floral Ruffle Blouse

£12.80 (was £16), Peacocks

VIEW NOW: Peacocks Womens Pink Floral Ruffle Blouse

JDY White Floral Frill Neck Blouse

JDY White Floral Frill Neck Blouse

£18, sizes 6-14, New Look

VIEW NOW: JDY White Floral Frill Neck Blouse

Seasalt Cornwall Larissa Shirt

Seasalt Cornwall Larissa Shirt

£42. 95, sizes 8-28, Seasalt

VIEW NOW: Seasalt Cornwall Larissa Shirt

Curvissa Printed off-The-Shoulder Blouse

Curvissa Printed off-The-Shoulder Blouse

£19.99, sizes 8-26, curvissa.co.uk

VIEW NOW: Curvissa Printed off-The-Shoulder Blouse

La Redoute Cotton Ruffled Blouse with V-Neck

La Redoute Cotton Ruffled Blouse with V-Neck

£20, La Redoute

VIEW NOW: La Redoute Cotton Ruffled Blouse with V-Neck

River Island Pink Long Sleeve Smock Top,

River Island Pink Long Sleeve Smock Top,

£38, River Island

VIEW NOW: River Island Pink Long Sleeve Smock Top,

Oliver Bonas Two Tone Floral Print Wrap Top

Oliver Bonas Two Tone Floral Print Wrap Top

£45, Oliver Bonas

VIEW NOW: Oliver Bonas Two Tone Floral Print Wrap Top

Next Broderie Square Neck Top

Next Broderie Square Neck Top

£28, Next

VIEW NOW: Next Broderie Square Neck Top

M&S Collection Pure Linen Checked Short Sleeve Blouse

M&S Collection Pure Linen Checked Short Sleeve Blouse

£20 (was £25), M&S

VIEW NOW: M&S Collection Pure Linen Checked Short Sleeve Blouse

Monsoon Ellen Embroidered Blouse

Monsoon Ellen Embroidered Blouse

£38.50 (was £55), Monsoon

VIEW NOW: Monsoon Ellen Embroidered Blouse

Oliver Bonas Floral Print Burnout Top

Oliver Bonas Floral Print Burnout Top

£49.50, Oliver Bonas

VIEW NOW: Oliver Bonas Floral Print Burnout Top

M&S Collection Satin Floral V-Neck Relaxed Popover Blouse

M&S Collection Satin Floral V-Neck Relaxed Popover Blouse

£25, M&S

VIEW NOW: M&S Collection Satin Floral V-Neck Relaxed Popover Blouse

Becky Joiner-O'Riordan

Becky Joiner-O'Riordan is a Senior Fashion Stylist & Writer. With 10 years experience in the fashion industry, she currently works across woman&home, womanandhome.com, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly, Chat, goodto.com, and has previously worked on Harper's Bazaar, Notion and Now Magazine. 


After graduating from both the University of the Creative Arts and The Fashion Retail Academy with first-class honours she dipped her toes into the world of television styling working on This Old Thing, hosted by Dawn O’Porter and Channel 4’s live tv show series Gok Live: Stripping for Summer. 


You can follow her on Instagram @beckyjoinero to get an insight into what goes on behind the scenes in the fashion cupboard and on our fashion and beauty shoots. 


When she isn’t working, Becky is usually sporting a Breton tee and her signature top knot hairstyle with a glass of rosé in hand at the latest hotspots across London and Essex. An avid online shopper, Becky loves hearing from any new emerging fashion, beauty or homeware brands and is currently obsessed with buying vases and random trinkets for her new flat.