How to Style Knitted Tops for Summer

Open-Back Bias Tank

Open-Back Bias Tank

I did something kind of brazen last weekend. I was at Nordstrom Rack, sorting through the summer shirts and looking for something cute, something good for the 88-degree southern weather, with a sense of unique character, and I found it.

I BOUGHT A BACKLESS SHIRT. Insane, right?

Now, the problem with so many summer tops is the issue of underwear. How do you wear a backless shirt, or a spaghetti-strap tank, or a strapless top? Or those strange racerback tanks that have really deep armholes, or any weird configuration of T-backs, X-backs, or beaded strings for backs? This stuff is cute! But it shows a lot of bra! Or a lot of skin. You pick.

Well, I found a solution over in the lingerie department. There were these bandeau bra-tops that are really comfy and also more appropriate for showing off than a traditional bra. I’ve seen our wardrobe stylists use bandeaus for revealing tops, as shown at right, with the Open Back Bias Tank from knit.purl Spring/Summer 2015.

bandeausI scooped up two for myself, to try with the new backless shirt.

And let me tell you, I love the versatility of these undergarments! They’ve opened up my wardrobe options, with all the creative and unusual styles in stores now, and also with summer knitting patterns that have always stumped me. A little linen camisole is not a vest, but I’ve never known how to wear one without layering it over a shirt as if it were a vest. Bandeaus are the fun and colorful answer!

Because I’m in love with summer, in love with knitting, and in love with this new wardrobe staple, I put together a collection of great knitted summer tops, Knitscene’s Essential Knitted Tops for Summer that, with the addition of a bandeau, you might just find more realistic for your own closet. The kind of bandeau with straps, like my black one, offers a surprising amount of support, for ladies shaking their heads at the screen right now and saying, “that won’t work for me….”

The Joule Pullover, included in this collection, has a pretty low back, which creates a fun surprise when you turn, and calls for some creative styling.

Joule Pullover

Joule Pullover

The Heliosphere Tank, so fun in this fuchsia rayon blend, definitely should not be worn layered over a shirt. But it dips low in the armhole and the racerback shape can be difficult to style—a dark bandeau, maybe with some lace, would be really cute with it.

Heliosphere Tank

Heliosphere Tank

The other knitted tops in this collection are just great designs, most of which work layered over a camisole tank top or standard undergarments. When you buy all five patterns in one bundle, it’s a great deal—and you could work up a couple of these projects before summer’s end.

Radian Yoke, Chiton Pullover, Linum Tee

Radian Yoke, Chiton Pullover, Linum Tee

Knitscene is a great resource for these kinds of fresh, simple, contemporary projects. The new summer 2015 issue is out now, with cute knitted tops like these:

Green Apple Tank, Roslyn Tank, Ouverte Tee

Green Apple Tank, Roslyn Tank, Ouverte Tee

Take my advice—go check out the lingerie department at your local store, and think about knitting some summer tops for yourself. They’re fun, quick to knit, and give you a chance to play with cotton, linen, silk, rayon, and other cellulose fibers you might not often knit with.

Knit with sass, ladies.

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