Casual Tops to Wear with Shorts and Denim This Summer

It seems like a lot of women are struggling with finding casual tops to wear with shorts and jeans right now. I know I am. It seems like more polished and elegant looks are trending, and my collection of tees and tanks isn’t quite cutting it this season. I’ve been shopping intentionally to find some new tops to pair with all of the denim and shorts in my closet, and I thought I’d share what I’ve found so far!

I was drawn to this olive utility-inspired top when I saw it online because it’s made of a soft slub jersey knit, but it has the split neckline with a collar and two front chest pockets, which elevate it above a basic t-shirt.


bobi Utility Tee (M) // PAIGE Anessa Utility in Tonal Ecru (29) (option for less) // Sam Edelman raffia slides (8) // Dragon Diffusion tote // Tom Ford sunnies (option) // old belt // Jenny Bird necklace // gold hoops

I also appreciate the way the cuffed short sleeves create a diagonal line, which minimizes a larger bust and/or shoulders. The olive color is versatile and looks good with blue denim as well as white and ecru for a lighter, more summery look.

For this outfit, I went with ecru wide leg ankle jeans, and I added brown accessories. Brown shoes and accessories are coming back into vogue, after taupe had its moment in the sun, and I’m enjoying the warm contrast to light blue denim and crisp white for summertime.

FYI, Gap Factory has a similar pair of off-white wide leg utility jeans that I like quite a lot. They have a finished hem, and they’re available in regular, short, and long lengths.

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I love wearing white tops in the summertime. They pair so beautifully with light and mid-wash denim, and they have that crisp, light and airy feel that we associate with this time of year. This split neck top plays right into this season’s trends with the gauzy cotton fabric and boxy, relaxed shape.


Michael Stars split neck top (S) (similar for less) // MOTHER Hustler in Healing Jar (29) // Kork-Ease Pascal sandals (8) // Tom Ford sunnies (option) // Rebecca Minkoff raffia crossbody // raffia hoops

This top is a bit on the pricey side, but the fabric and construction is very high quality, and it’s made in the USA. I’m always pleased with the Michael Stars brand, and I know I’ll wear this a lot. It’s definitely on the thinner side, which does not bother me. Wearing a cami underneath of a top like this kind of defeats the purpose, but if you don’t like that, it comes in a bunch of other colors.

For size reference, I’m wearing the small here, and I like how it fits. But I noticed it’s a little looser on the model online, and I have a feeling it might shrink in the wash, so I would suggest sizing up if in between. I plan to wash mine on delicate in a laundry bag and lay it out to dry.

I wore this top last week with red wide leg jeans, but today I paired it with my favorite MOTHER Hustler ankle flares, for a more relaxed look. I added chunky raffia hoop earrings (they’re very lightweight) and a raffia bag, to add to the summery vibe, and I wore metallic slingback platform sandals.

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Gauze tops are definitely trending this year, and I also picked up this CeCe Puff Sleeve Square Neck top to try. The price point of CeCe tops is more accessible than Michael Stars, and this one also comes in white, as well as pink and black.

I ordered the black in this one because I like to have a few black tops in my summer wardrobe for date nights and concerts and things like that. It’s one of my favorite colors to wear near my face, even in the summertime. I wore the same raffia earrings to keep the look light and summery, and I added a gold tone layered necklace.


CeCe puff sleeve top (S) (more sizes) (option/option) // Good American Good Straight (8) // Staud leather flip flops (38) // Madewell necklaces // raffia hoops // old Stella & Dot bracelet // YSL sunnies (similar for less) // Naghedi woven tote (option/similar for less)

Unfortunately, this top is selling out at Nordstrom, but I found it fully stocked in all three colors at Dillards, and Bloomingdale’s has the white. I’m wearing the small, but it’s pretty snug through the midsection. You might want to size up, if in between.

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I went with a black and white outfit this time, wearing my Good American Good Straight Raw Hem Straight Leg Jeans, and I bookended the look with the black Staud leather flip flops that I discovered during the last Saks sale. I just love how luxe and soft these are. For accessories, I carried black woven bag and switched to black sunglasses.

For a more casual option, I love this LNA Fallon Cotton V Neck Tank with the raw edges and cut-out detail along the neckline. This cotton candy pink is so pretty for summer. I love how it pairs with white and blue denim.

This top is made of a super soft and lightweight 100% cotton slub knit, and I appreciate the way it is cut close around the armholes, so it doesn’t gape or show your bra. I would say it runs a bit small; I have the medium, and it does ripple a bit across the chest. I should have done the “fist trick” — you know that one, don’t you?


LNA tank (M) // KUT from the Kloth Meg Fab Ab Cuff (6) // beek Sunbeam Flip Flop (8) // YSL sunnies (similar for less) // Naghedi Nomad Hobo in Cashmere (similar for less) // Kenneth Jay hoops // Jenny Bird necklace

FIT TIP: When a t-shirt is pulling across the chest, but it fits well everywhere else, this simple “fist trick” should help. While wearing said shirt, make your hands into fists and put them up under your shirt, right where the girls are located. Push out, to stretch the shirt out in that area, and pull them straight down and out the bottom. Then front tuck and wear as normal. It usually alleviates that rippling effect across the chest.

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I wore this pink tank with light wash wide leg ankle jeans with the wide cuff for an ultra-casual, laid-back summer look. I added elevated flip flops to keep the look super relaxed, but don’t let the flip flop fool ya. These beek flip flops are made of smooth leather, and they have a contoured foam footbed for ultimate comfort and walkability.

Okay, finally, one more blousy split neck top, as these seem to be everywhere right now! This aptly named St. Tropez Linen Blend Top has cuffed short sleeves that sit at a slight angle, which I like for softening my boxy shoulders. The lightweight fabric has an airy ladder stitch texture and blue/white stripes, for the perfect summery vibe.


Splendid St. Tropez Linen Top (S) // MOTHER Hustler in Fairest Of Them All (29) (option) // Børn platform sandals (8) // Madewell necklaces // raffia hoops // old Stella & Dot bracelet // Rebecca Minkoff raffia crossbody

I felt like this top was begging to be paired with crisp white denim, and this time I went with my MOTHER Hustler Fray Hem Ankle Bootcut Jeans to balance the wider arms of the top. (Wit & Wisdom has a similar pair of jeans for less.)

I’m not thrilled with the way these Børn Kasady Ankle Strap Platform Wedge Sandals look with this outfit, though. The criss-cross traps hit too close to the hem of the jeans, and it doesn’t give the eye a place to rest. I think a slide or flip-flop would look better, and I will save these sandals for shorts or dresses.

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At any rate, I do like how the raffia crossbody looks with this outfit; and I kept on the same Madewell necklaces, raffia hoops, and old Stella & Dot bracelet from the black and white outfit above.

I had planned to do a shopping widget with even more casual tops to wear with shorts and denim this summer, but I’m out of time! I need to head out to an appointment this morning, so I’ll leave this post as-is for now. I hope you found some good summer style inspiration here!


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