Upgrade your look: Wear a Blouse



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.  amyrosehearth@gmail.com




*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.


Industry Trend: Used Clothes

There’s a new trend in town… wearing used clothes.   Wait, you say – that’s not new!  Thrift stores and consignment shops have been around forever!  True.  But the trend is going high-end and becoming more widely used with shoppers who aren’t trying to get dressed on a dime.   Don’t expect to find $5 blazers in any of these spots… but you might find something wonderful at a deep discount.  (Think of it as going to the sale rack, not the Salvation Army).

  • Rented Special Occasion clothing (eg Rent-the-Runway)
  • Shared clothing exchange (eg Gwynnie Bee)
  • High-End Consignment shops (eg Luxury Garage Sale)


Why is this getting popular?  

  1. There is a huge divide in price between high-end and mid-range ready-to-wear clothing.   High-end resale fills that niche.
  2. There is a huge divide in quality between high-end and mid-range RTW.  Wearing used clothing allows the consumer to access the higher end materials without breaking the bank.  As much.  It’s still pricey!
  3. Social norms have changed – once it was only the extremely rich who expected not to repeat a look.  Now social media has spread that policy around, and more people are uncomfortable with keeping a look too long.  Renting a dress is smart if you’re only going to wear it once.
  4. Makes having a larger wardrobe more affordable – if you’re not in love with a garment, you don’t have to keep it.
  5. Because of social media, people hear about certain brands or looks and want to have them for themselves, but can’t afford the new-car price of some of those items.  Luxury consignment fills the niche.


Is this trend for you?

  • Are you a standard or small size?  Most luxury consignment is in the smaller size ranges.  (Shared clothing runs a full size range – Gwynnie Bee has lots of choices in the plus-size category).
  • Are you someone who needs (or wants) a wide array of clothing choices, either because of your industry or social demands?   If you’re expected to hit a gala event once a month – this might be a good choice.
  • Are you madly in love with a certain designer or certain look, and can’t pay retail?


Doesn’t really sound like you…

  • You always have your clothing tailored to fit properly.   You have a hard time finding clothing that fits well.
  • You like a minimalist/capsule wardrobe.
  • You love to wear signature pieces and prefer to keep your clothing as long as possible.


The fashion industry has changed a great deal in the last ten years, and it behooves all of us who have to wear clothing to keep abreast of the possibilities.   The shared/used clothing marketplace is expanding rapidly, and if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, it’s worth giving it a try.