Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Shirts, Blouses & Tops

Various Choices

Closet Content Analysis: Shirts, Blouses and Tops

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED          NEW

In addition to t-shirts, blouses and shirts provide variation in the wardrobe. You can get away with owning three pairs of pants in black, white and camel and one pair of jeans as long as you have a nice variety of tops.

Anne Fontaine blouse purchased in 2007 (I think?)
NICE 1: I purchased an Anne Fontaine blouse on sale in Paris a while ago when I was 25 pounds heavier but it still rates as the best NICE shirt/blouse I have ever owned. I once read that if you ever have the opportunity to own an Anne Fontaine tailored shirt, you will never be happy with the quality and craftsmanship of others.  Even though it was a fitted blouse on my rounder body, it complemented my work suits perfectly.

Anne Fontaine blouse, white with black piping, under Armani Collezioni black stripe on black traditional suit jacket.

NICE 2: A light blue striped button-down shirt is a perfect summer vacation shirt. It can be worn over a white tank top and it looks crisp and clean. This photo was from when I was heavier but I can still wear the same light blue stripe shirt opened as a cover over a tank top.

--> My thoughts of what would look acceptable on a rounder body were misguided; I bought this thing thinking since it wasn’t form-fitting, it would look good on me. I was wrong. I bought it and then never wore it. Now that I am a Size 6 and this blouse was bought when I was a Size 12, what was I thinking with the little cap sleeve?

NOTE-WORTHY: The shirt isn't so special but it certainly was functional. It was a fitted zippered white shirt with 3/4 length sleeves that I bought in Rome. The story behind its purchase is NOTE-WORTHY. It was a hot May day when I saw the white shirt in the shop window. I was studying in Rome and that involved being in the Vatican offices. The shirt was perfect to tolerate the heat of Italian days and be covered up enough to be respectful and respectable. When I attempted to ask if I could try the shirt on, the sales clerk adamantly said, what I interpreted to be, "No! It's not possible." I hesitated and then asked again. At which time she motioned to show her my underarms. Yes, they were shaven and "clean" so she let me try on the shirt. Or so that is my interpretation of what happened the day I bought this shirt in Rome. The shirt has now made its way into the "cotton rag" bin I keep for my woodworker friend.
NEW: This is as "orange" as I am going this season. The 3/4 length sleeve makes this top perfect for me. No matter the size, it is a becoming length in the sleeve and in the body. This 60s retro top in orange, starfish (dark beige), white and black was purchased at a Winners in Vancouver in early spring, late winter. I've noticed that cowl necklines seem to make their way into my closet on a regular basis. I have a navy dress, a dark purple long-sleeved top, an ivory sleeveless top, and now this with a cowl neck. Even my NO THANKS top had a modified cowl neckline.

Photo Credit: Anne Fontaine; Photo Source: Chemise-Chemisier
NEED: Every woman needs a crisp button-down white shirt. I understand that there is an Anne Fontaine shop in Bordeaux at 9 place des grands hommes. Bordeaux is only 45 minutes away from where I am living for the next six months so if the shirt I envision is there, I will be getting it. There are shops all over the world and you can download the Anne Fontaine catalogue to find out where.

Button-down Shirt Buying Tips:

Short of having your shirts tailored specifically for you (lucky if you live in or visit the Far East), for the double D girls, buy what fits through the bustline and then have a tailor/seamstress take in the shoulders and the body. If you find a well-made button down shirt on sale and then have it tailored, you will be happy for a very long time.

For the girls who are less so favoured, stay away from a shirt with darts, if you don't fill out the darts. It just looks plain goofy when two pointy darts are sticking out from a body that doesn't have sticking-out parts.

Under the White Shirt:

If you are in a conservative work situation or are a conservative dresser, wear a skin-tone bra under your white shirts and blouses. Sometimes the stark whiteness of a bra brightens the outline through the white of the shirt, leaving you just as exposed as if you were wearing black under your white shirt. Take a look in the mirror, and "when in doubt, don't". For the Indie-fashionistas, disregard anything I say about bras.


  1. Really good blogs are not "running the streets", but here I found today what I have been looking for.
    Designer Cocktail Dresses

    1. With that said, here's a quote by Coco Chanel, "I like fashion to go down to the street, but I can't accept that it should originate there."

  2. Hello JoyD, You speak highly of Anne Fontaine where as I am a fan of Thomas Pink shirts. I bought my first one at the encouragement of a friend while on a four day weekend in Las Vegas and have since purchased several more while travelling, including one at the flagship store in London. Buying a Thomas Pink is not for the faint of heart as they are rather dear but the fit, finish and styling are divine. While the selection includes exquisitely tailored shirts in a variety of solid colors, it is the color combinations and stripes that I keep adding to my collection. I have two that require cufflinks and I have happily "borrowed" my husband's as required - luckily he doesn't mind. I have found that the colors and stripes liven up my conservative work wardrobe of black, navy and grey suits. Cheers

    1. I have led a sheltered life insofar as tailored shirts go. I do not know Thomas Pink. I shall look for the brand next time I am in a major center. It is through intercommunication that we learn. Thank you for that.

  3. Hello again, My pleasure to contribute. The only other comment I would add is that experience has taught me that any of my quality shirts last so much longer and are very easy to launder. (You really do get what you pay for.) I am old fashioned in that I actually don't mind ironing my tailored shirts and although practice makes perfect, ironing adds such a crispness to the garment and the final outfit. As an aside, I have also purchased a Thomas Pink shirtdress that I would classify as "noteworthy". It is the most beautiful teal color and has become a "go-to" when I don't know what else to where to work. Cheers,

  4. In addition to t-shirts, blouses and shirts provide variation in the wardrobe.Tops For Women


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