Selecting fabulous tops that can be used as basics as well

by Sylvia

Purple silk top from Alldressedup great as basic and special top

My wonderful reader Suzanne mentioned the other day in one of her comments on my post “how thinking about your clothes can save you time, money and frustration“, that she found shopping for the basics a bit boring and less exciting.

That got me thinking.

I shop for tops all the time, since Singapore is too hot to wear sweaters, jackets and other over garments.

But shopping for tops can be fun indeed, even for the ‘basics’. What I prefer to do is to not go look for basics but just for exciting, well designed tops in good fabrics, that can actually be used as basics as well.

Using tops as basics under jackets and as fashionable tops in their own right

Instead of basic tops I always try to look for something different. I know that I mention Alldressedup way too much on this blog (I should really be put on their payroll!), but it’s a perfect shop for finding these kind of tops. They usually offer tops in high quality fabrics like silk, and they always have an interesting design element.

Examples of basics with a twist

Here are a few examples of tops that look very basic at the front and are therefore perfect to wear under blazers and jackets.

However, they all have an interesting design element when you see them from the back, and are therefore also perfect to wear as fashionable tops on their own.

Purple silk top

purple silk alldressedup top

This is a purple silk top from Alldressedup that looks very basic on the front. It’s a different story on the back though with crossovers and drapes. Don’t you think this top would also look perfect combined with a grey pant suit?

Silk pink top

silk pink top from alldressedup

Here is another silk top from Alldressedup, with the same principle as the first one. Very basic at front and therefore perfect to combine with a black suit or blazer. It’s also fabulous if worn on its own with the glamorous back!

Black silk top

Black basic silk alldressedup top

This is another silk top from Alldressedup that would be a perfect basic. The little belt is detachable, so you could easily tuck this top in your (pencil) skirt or pants and wear with a blazer. This would make a very nice basic top for suits in a variety of colors. On its own it’s a fantastic top with a great back!

White cotton Zara top

Basic white shirt from Zara

This is a basic shirt from Zara, that would make a plain basic under jackets. Still it’s interesting to wear on its own as it has the interesting buttons at the back.

Enjoy the versatility of great tops!

What I love about these tops is that they are so versatile. In summer they are perfect as interesting tops and in winter you can easily wear them underneath jackets or cardigans. They are the perfect year round wardrobe asset!

What do you think? Good idea? Or do you prefer your basics to be just basic and plain?


Oh my gosh! I inspired your blog post! I am so excited!
These tops you are wearing are gorgeous. There is nothing “basic” about them but under a jacket you would not know that. I am not sure if I have never seen tops like this or if I just have not considered them because to me the details made them look “dressy” and special. I need to not only shop my closet with an open mind but I also need to shop my favorite stores with a fresh eye. I truly appreciate your writing about this. 🙂 When I make my children very happy they tell me “You rock!” – I am giving that compliment to you tonight.


Thanks for giving me the idea Suzanne! Happy you like the article 🙂 🙂


I love the surprises in back in each of these tops!


They’re great aren’t they. These are going to be some long-lasting assets in my wardrobe, I’m sure.

Heather Fonseca

I have a terrible time with blouses, and I’m actually trying hard to change the situation. You see I would much rather wear a basic t-shirt under a jacket than find a blouse that fits me, but the weather in L.A. is also often too warm for a jacket so I find myself wearing plain black t-shirts a lot. The problem is finding blouses that fit and look good. Anything woven is impossible because they’re never cut amply enough through the bosom, and knit tops with interesting details are often too much on my frame. It’s a problem!


The tops above don’t have buttons in front so this may help. You don’t look that big to me… I’m sure there must be some woven options? Keep looking!


I love the first two tops, they”re gorgeous! I try to look for tops that will work both by themselves and for layering, and it’s not always that easy if you opt out t-shirts. I can also relate to Heather F’s problem with woven tops, but I try to look for woven tops with a bit of stretch or give in them, that usually helps. Anyway, this post was very inspiring, thanks for sharing!


Thanks for your comment. Let me know if you find great shops for good woven tops for this purpose. I’d love to pass that information on. I don’t have these issues myself so hadn’t realised it’s such a problem.


Great tops. Love the details. I love the black/white with the hat. Tres chic!


Thanks Jeannie!


Gee…. these tops are fabulous. I envy you!!!! They are all great. The pink one… oh and the black one: WOW.
I am going to have a look at Alldressedup more closely. Unfortunately I cannot wear these tops without sleeves, but they might also have something nice like these with sleeves. Looking good when you take your jacket off.


Yes they usually have great tops with short sleeves too….

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