Where have all the good (sleeved) shells gone?

Karen and I spent the better half of a recent shopping trip seeking out good basic shells to wear under blazers. This is something she has a lot of trouble finding, since she wants some sort of sleeve, and needs the shell to be polished enough to wear to work. I define a shell as any base layer you wear under a blazer, cardigan, or sweater. A blouse can be considered a shell, but in this case, Karen was on the hunt for something completely simple and frill-free.

After a lot of searching, we finally stumbled upon a near-perfect option in Chico’s. (Unfortunately, they’re not online, so you’ll have to venture over to a store near you.) Here’s why these shells worked:

The fabric was right. If you’re in a work environment, you want to pass on too-casual fabric. The ones we found were a polyester/spandex blend. You can also go the cotton route, as long as it’s not 100% cotton. A thinner jersey blend will look more office-appropriate. You can also opt for silk, but be wary of silk tops that wrinkle or stain too easily.

It wasn’t too bulky. Even though the style had sleeves, it was thin enough to wear under other layers.

The neckline was flattering. Seek out scoops, slight Vs, or cowls when it comes to neck shapes for versatile shells. These will frame your face nicely and elongate the figure.

And if you find one that works, buy it in a few different colors. We took home the same shell in coral, white, and black! It’s so basic, that it’s okay to have a few to choose from.

Have you had luck elsewhere finding sleeved shells? If so, do share! I’m always looking to hear some reader favorites.


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