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18 Going Out Top Ideas for Women Over 40

Jeans and a “going out top” might have been the original outfit formula. 

I remember back in college and my early 20s, the “going out top” was a staple in my wardrobe and vocabulary. 

They were the key piece in a very literal uniform: cute top, tight pants, chunky shoes.

Now, over 20 years later, I still call them going out tops. What else are they?

But these days, the ‘going out top’ has evolved. It’s no longer just a thin piece of fabric. Thankfully, our options are more sophisticated and of better quality and fabric (I’m looking at you, Wet Seal halter top). 

Since we’re in the season of warm weather gatherings and more opportunities to have fun, let’s round up some of our favorites in a variety of styles, sizes and price points. 

Pair these ‘going out tops’ with your favorite medium-wash or white jeans, shorts, or skorts. 

18 Going Out Tops for Women Over 40

Going Out Tops for Women

This is the time of year; if you’re like me, you might need a few new options.

Because the second the weather warms up, there is so much to do: nights on the patio with friends, dinner dates, drinks with the girls, and the occasional shore bar—bonus points if there is a band.

So I thought it would be helpful to round up some options for us grown-ups who still go out and have fun but don’t want to dress like we did when we were 21. 

You can shop these options directly or use them to inspire you.

Halters

Halters are one of the most flattering necklines that show off your shoulders and work for any size bust. It’s a more sophisticated version of a sleeveless top. And they are abundant this season.

Hatler tops | Going Out Tops for Women
Poplin Seamed Halter, $42 | Striped Braided Halter, $79 | Twist-Front Halter Top, $69

Featured are three gorgeous options all under $100.

First from Banana Republic Factory is their Poplin Seamed Halter, in three colors, including black, white and sand (featured) in sizes 0 – 20 for $42.

Next, this Striped Braided Halter from WHBM is STUNNING. I love the combination of brown and white. It will look incredible with white or light wash jeans, shorts or brow linen pants like this best seller from J.Crew.

And rounding out our top three is this silk-like Twist-Front Halter Top from Donna Karan at Macy’s for $69 available in black, yellow and ivory (featured) in XS – XL.

You’ll need a strapless bra for these, and our favorite is the Red Carpet Convertible Strapless Bra From Wacoal.

Fun Sleeves

Next up, if a halter is too bare for you, look for something with fun sleeves. They can be sheer, full, embroidered, with cut outs, or any kind of special detail.

Fun Sleeves top
Puff Sleeve Floral Lace Blouse, $89.00 | Eyelet Ruffle Button Top, $89.50 | V-Neck Short Sleeve Oversized Top, $198

Anytime you wear a dramatic sleeve or exaggerated shoulder try pairing it with a slim or straight bottom for balance, or a full length pant with a bootcut.

Our first option is the Puff Sleeve Floral Lace Blouse from CeCe , a brand we love for the fun and feminine tops. We’re showing it above in ivory, also available in black in sizes XS-XL.

Next is a black Eyelet Ruffle Button Top from Ann Taylor available in XXS – XXL. Pair with shorts, or denim in white or light wash.

Finally, there is something fun and dramatic about this top from Trina Turk. It’s like a wrap top that kind of looks like a cape. It’s something you can wear now if you’ll be in a chilly air conditioning or during the winter holidays. Available in white, black, green or hot pink.

Wrap and Twist Front Tops

Wrap and twist front style tops are universally flattering style. By cinching the waist you bring the eye in giving the body a lovely, curvy shape.

Wrap and Twist Front Tops | Summer Going Out Tops for Women Over 40
Linen-Blend Wrap Top, $49.99 | Flutter Wrap Blouse, $108 | Mya Twist Front Top, $39.99

You can wear any style bottom with any of these tops, just be sure that the waist is either a mid or high rise.

Starting off strong with this affordable Linen-Blend Wrap Top from Gap in an always popular polka dot (featured) and a cheerful orange. They neckline is open and flattering, available in XXS -XXL in regular, tall and petite.

In the center a sleeveless option form Anthropologie, their Flutter Wrap Blouse available in XS – XXL. I like how the styled it with coordinating black shorts, it looks like a romper, but easier to maneuver in.

Finally, a top with a twist detail in the front is another fun option from Evereve. I don’t always like a print but I do like one when it combines black and blue together. The pairing makes it extra versatile allowing it to work back to any black, navy or denim bottom in your wardrobe. Available in XS – XL.

Off the Shoulder

Off the Shoulder tops are easy, elegant and perfect for summer.

Off the Shoulder tops
Navy Stripe Off The Shoulder Reese Top, $178 | Long Sleeve Off-The-Shoulder Poplin Blouse, $89 | One-Shoulder Knit Top, $78

Let’s start with this nautical Navy Stripe Off The Shoulder Reese Top from Tuckernuck. I LOVE how they styled it with a pair of traditional, menswear inspired shorts – so chic. But this will elevate any bottom.

Next, if you like drama, this poplin blouse from WHBM serves a good bit. It’s perfect with classic medium washed jeans in a summer length or shorts.

Finally, if you are broad and can’t pull off an entirely off-the-shoulder look, go with just one. This option is from Reformation at Nordstrom for under $80, also available in white in XS -XL, runs small so go up one.

Structured

An occasion top with some structure and architectural details is one of my favorite looks for a night out. It’s sophisticated and interesting without being fussy. 

Going Out Tops for Women Over 40
One-Shoulder Heavy Cotton Tank, $60 | Black Structured Lana Top, $98 | Square Neck Satin Top, $69

First up, a cotton one-shoulder style top from Banana Republic available in red (featured), black or white in XXS – XXL. This on the casual side but still elevated.

Next, I recently ordered  this a-line style top from Tuckernuck  and it’s perfection. It’s like an updated take on a peplum and looks best slim or straight-leg bottoms. Available in XS – XXXL for $98.

Finally, this Square Neck Satin Top by Donna Karan at Macy is gorgeous. Also available in a peachy-pink, in XS – XL.

Sheer Details

A fun emerging trend we’re seeing become more mainstream is sheer details, ranging from soft and feminine to cool and edgy.

Tops with Sheer Details
 Long-Sleeve Appliqué Mesh Top, $128| Mesh Draped Slash Top, $40 | Plaid Sheer Puff Sleeve Top, $60

Let’s start with this  Long-Sleeve Appliqué Mesh Top from Anthropologie. This comes with out an under piece so I would recommend a with or neutral cami. Available in XS – 3X also in petite.

In the center is an edgier style from Abercrombie available in XXS – XL. This is two pieces, and the tank has adjustable straps so you can manipulate where it hits you. I picked this up to wear at night at the shore for only $40.

And rounding out our list is this sweet Plaid Sheer Puff Sleeve Top from Macy’s, on sale for $45, available in nine colors.

So pick a night, get your friends together and wear a going out top that makes you feel fabulous and inspires you to have some fun, like we did when we were younger, but maybe with a more reasonable bedtime.

Related: Summer Loafers for Women

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18 Going Out Top Ideas for Women Over 40
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MEET THE AUTHOR

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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barb from Canada

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Really enjoyed your "going out tops," especially your tips about what and how to wear the tops, really helpful. Enjoy helpful tips like these. Thank you.

Beth

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Thanks! I didn't know "going out tops" were a thing, but I definitely have that category in my wardrobe. This is helpful - especially with the little tips of what to wear with them. :)

Susan Brownsword

Thursday 8th of June 2023

I second the bra request, I’d love a post of bras for women who can’t wear these styles without support (and comfort).

Aimee

Wednesday 7th of June 2023

Love the tops- my problem is the bra!!!! Can you recommend a bra that supports the girls and can be worn with halters & off the shoulder? Not a fan of bandeaus, and I feel like I can never wear these cute tops because of the bra!

Kristina

Wednesday 7th of June 2023

Omgosh! Thank you! I once emailed you requesting a post like this. Kind of like a "mom needs to go out and look *hawt*" kinda vibe. Lol. Will def be using some of these recs. I love the lady-like conservative halters you posted.