Style Basics: The White Blouse

Today starts a series of posts about the “must have items” in every woman’s wardrobe.  Even housewives.  As I’m writing this, I’m realising that my “must have items” need some restyling/reworking, so *please* don’t feel like I’m pointing fingers.  Onward.  (This is from TBL)

Must have Item #1:  The White Blouse

The white blouse must be of impeccable character and fit.  It can be either sporty or feminine, depending on your personal style.  It must be white, but if you don’t look particularly well in bright white (I don’t), do feel free to use texture and fabric to bring the white towards your personal coloring best.  Try to keep the blouse as close to “real white” as possible, while honoring your best personal coloring.  (I wrote this originally saying “have it in real white” but then you’ll *only* wear it on defcon 5 emergencies, and I for one don’t have that much closet space – have a color that you’ll wear).

The blouse must have a collar.  A traditional collar, a lace collar, whatever works for you – but this is not an inexpensive shell that you wear only under a suit jacket.  (Does anyone still do this?).  This is also not a tank top or a turtle neck.  While the blouse should be able to live under a jacket, it must also be able to stand alone.

This blouse must have long sleeves.  When you take off the jacket – is this still a blouse with authority?

Why, you say, must I have such a blouse?  Because this blouse is what you will wear to funerals, to court if little Johnny breaks a window, to meetings at school, to make a presentation at church or the PTO… you get the idea.  For some of those functions, at some times of the year, you will not need or want a jacket over it.  (I live in SoCal, I usually don’t want a jacket over things).  Also, if it can stand without the jacket, you can wear it to more festive occasions, like weddings or church or recitals… you get the idea.  It makes a more flexible piece.

I usually feel like “Oh I don’t need that…” – and then someone dies and I have nothing to wear that fits and I have to try to fit in shopping to the crazed 24 hours before the funeral.  Or some other fashion emergency.   Seriously, this is having an extra loaf of bread in the freezer, practicality wise.  You *will* wear this blouse once you own it and get it out of the closet a couple of times.  You will.

I made myself one last year… which I am currently not happy with and need to remake… but that aside, when I was wearing it I was so happy.  I always felt appropriately dressed.  None of that self-questioning, “am I doing this wrong?” nonsense.  Just – you’re right.  You know you’re right.  Go do what you need to do and forget about what you’re wearing.  (Which is the *point* of dressing for occasions – to do it right so that you can focus on the occasion not the hemline).

*Confession – I don’t have a blouse like this right now!  I have a short-sleeved ivory blouse which works … but I need to replace this in the Spring Sewing.  Oh yes, there will be  Spring Sewing.


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