How do you upgrade your daily look? Transfer your regular knit shirt to a blouse.
The photo below serves as a comparison… Both tops are long-sleeved, in the same color family, have similar necklines – but one is knit, and one is woven. One is basic cotton, and the other has a slight sheen.
There’s nothing wrong with the knit shirt on the left. I wear it to the grocery store, to the home-improvement store, to do errands. But there’s no upgrading it. The shirt on the right can run errands and it can also go out with my husband on date night. Because it’s a woven, because of the materials used, it can be paired with a skirt or pair of slacks and head to the office. When you’re ready to upgrade your look, it becomes time to add some woven items to the mix, not stick totally with knits.
A blouse will translate easily between dressy casual and work-appropriate, so it’s a utility infielder in your closet. Change the jeans to slacks or a skirt, depending on how formal your work environment and your personal style needs. Perhaps add a blazer. Done.
Going out to eat with your friends, heading to a birthday party, attending a casual church – “dressy casual” is where it’s at, and the easiest way to hit dressy casual is to wear a blouse. You look appropriate when you’re running through the market or meeting your kids’ teacher, and a change in jewelry and shoes upgrades your look to most evening occasions.*
What’s the most useful of all tops? A white** shirt***. A white shirt is a tabula rasa – especially with jeans. You can make this into anything you desire by changing up your accessories.
Goal: Pulled together, fitting in, looking like what’s expected +1? CHECK. The only downside to a white blouse is that you’re going to wear the poor thing to shreds – and stains. It’s never a bad thing to keep your eyes out for an extra white blouse. You’ll use it.
Blouses are also great statement pieces. If you find a blouse that suits your style, snag it. You could become known for that one look… that vibe that says YOU, no matter what you pair it with. Interesting sleeve treatments and long sleeves are on-trend – feel free to break loose of the everyday and show who you really are.
Woven blouses always look more pulled together, more finished, more adult, than a comparable knit top. It’s worth your while to start adding them to your wardrobe, because they allow you to get maximum interest from a minimum of clothing. And isn’t that what we all want?
If you’d like help figuring out what blouse style would fit best in your life? Drop me a line and we can work together. firstname.lastname@example.org
*Location, location, location – SoCal, where I live, is very casual – great denim + cool blouse + accessories on point = dressy casual. Your mileage may vary – you might want to pair that cool blouse with an elegant pair of slacks if you’re in a more formal area.
**White always refers to your best shade of white.
*** I am using the words “blouse” and “shirt” somewhat interchangeably throughout this post. Technically, a blouse is a garment only worn by women, and a shirt is more androgynous in style. If your husband could wear it, it’s a shirt (eg buttondown). If not, then it’s a blouse. A blouse is slightly more formal. For this post, the difference is irrelevant.