Men wear shirts, women wear blouses. Some women purposely wear shirts (which are usually too big on them), and this developed in the last few years into the fashion of a ‘shirt dress’ (although those are not “oversized”).
Blouses – who wears them?
I have lots of blouses in my wardrobe, but don’t tend to wear them these days. I have noticed that women prefer jumpers, teeshirts and lycra-type tops instead as everyday wear nowadays. If you see someone wearing a blouse, it is definitely noticeable and appears a more “upmarket” choice. Two decades ago I wore a blouse with my suit every day for my job. But, like suits, blouses seem to have lost their appeal, as daytime clothing has become more casual. However, are blouses making a comeback?
Where can you buy them?
When I searched online I found lots of choice from Boohoo to Next, Wallis and of course Hawes & Curtis. There are also denim blouses and some that look more casual. This blog is not about those, but the more dressy variety.
So when and why would you wear a blouse, and why not?
Why would you wear a blouse?
Points for wearing a blouse:
- Blouses can be used to layer. If you are moving through various degrees of heat/cold, that could be a good tactic.
- The collar or neck-tie of a blouse can fill some space if the jumper or cardigan gives a lot of space around the neck area.
- The material of a blouse can be softer against the skin than some jumpers, so there can be less irritation, around the neck or other more sensitive areas (eg under arms).
- A bit like wearing a jacket, if you wear a jumper over a blouse, you have the option to take that off and show the blouse, only on this occasion you are increasing your formality rather than lessening it, as when you take a jacket off. However, it will depend on the material as to how creased it may then look.
- Blouses can be tucked into a lower garment or left out. Leaving the shirt or blouse out can be a more forgiving look if it is looser around the middle. The current trend for women is to have a half and half option, which can cinch in the waist and allow coverage elsewhere (like on the backside).
- Blouses are versatile – you can wear them open over a cami, and they act like a less formal “jacket”, and can add extra colour and modesty, or cover up the arms, which I know lots of women like to do as they age.
- They can be made to look more casual, when sleeves are rolled up for example.
- Blouses are an alternative to a dress, and of course blouses can be worn with skirts or trousers. Separates are more versatile.
So, why would you not wear a blouse?
A) If you are well endowed uptop, some blouses aren’t made for that, and buttons, zips or material can strain around that area.
B) They can require more delicate laundering (and of course ironing), whereas jumpers may be easier to look after.
C) Depending on the shape and style, they can be less flexible to wear than a jumper.
D) Sometimes the sleeves can be ill fitting, and ladies’ wrist sizes can vary. Luckily the fashion at the moment is to have smocking stitch at the cuff, which allows expansion if necessary.
E) Underwear may be seen if the blouse’s material is see-through. A few years ago that was the fashion, to have a contrasting colour bra that showed through the blouse.
I’ve noticed that blouses are now on trend with jeans and casual bottoms (like shorts). So, if you don’t need to dress so formally (perhaps if you are working from home and only your top half is on view through the computer for visual calls) is it time to rethink our wearing of blouses, if, like me, you haven’t worn yours for a while. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you want advice about what colours and styles suit you, please get in touch!
Your Colour & Style Consultant