Blouse

A Guide to Shopping for the Perfect Blouse

Shopping for the perfect women’s blouse doesn’t need to be daunting. Following a few simple tips can help you find the ideal style that fits, flatters, and makes you look and feel your best.

Get the Right Fit

When choosing a great blouse, the fit is one of the most important aspects to consider. While the exact fit will ultimately decide on the specific type of blouse—since some styles, like tunics, are looser, and others, like tailored button-downs, are more fitted—you’ll want to make sure that the blouse fits you comfortably without being too large or too tight. Buttons should never gap or pull when the blouse is on, even when sitting down, but the blouse shouldn’t be so large that you are swimming in it.

To get the perfect fit, evaluate the sizing chart carefully for the specific top you are considering. Compare your measurements to the ones listed. You may need a standard size, or you may need a size such as petite, plus, or tall to ensure the correct fit. It can also be helpful to read through the reviews to see what others say about the blouse sizing—some styles or brands can run small or large, so you may need to size up or down accordingly to get the look you want.

Choose the Right Style Blouse

Now that you know how to get the right fit, you’ll want to think about styles. There are plenty of choices for work-appropriate blouses, as well as designs that work well for casual and semi-casual wear. Your sense of style, as well as where and how you plan to wear your blouse, will help determine the styles you choose. Keep in mind that there are also many ways to get creative with your blouses, and you can dress different styles up and down according to your agenda and daily activities. Styles include:

  • Cotton button-up shirts: Look for no-iron styles that will make it a breeze to get dressed in the morning. Fresh cotton shirts are perfect for work, or dress them down by wearing them over a tee or tank top.
  • Broadcloth button-ups: Because these tops have a more crisp finish, they are perfect for wearing to work.
  • Twill tops: Twill is soft yet stylish and looks great in both solid or print tunic styles as well as button-up versions. It has a softer drape than broadcloth but is still perfectly work-appropriate.
  • Flannel shirts and blouses: Flannel tops come in cute button-up and tunic styles in solids, plaids, and patterns. Pair with jeans for a casual look or choose a solid or patterned button-up for work.
  • Split-neck or scoop neck tunic blouses: These stylish tops are on the looser side and look gorgeous paired with skinny pants, leggings, or tucked in with straight-leg trousers.
  • Keyhole neckline blouses: The keyhole accent gives these blouses an extra style boost. They come in both short- and long-sleeve styles and work well with many bottoms, from skirts to denim.
  • Crepe blouses: Soft, flowy, and feminine, crepe blouses are good for work, dressy occasions, or even casual wear if paired with denim and a shoe style like a flat ankle boot. These often have ruffles or other pretty accents.
  • Pleated blouses: With their gentle pleats and soft drape, pleated blouses can be flattering to everyone.

Think About Blouse Necklines

The type of neckline can also make a difference in a blouse’s style and help you determine what works best for you. V-necklines are flattering and create a streamlined look, while scoop necks are classic and always in style. High scoop necks have a modest feel and also work well in cooler weather. Split neck tops have an extra touch of pizzazz that can make an otherwise simple design stand out, while keyhole or cut-out necklines have a modern vibe. Classic standing collars, as seen on button-up shirts, look crisp and pulled together and work well with a variety of outfits, from corduroy pants to sleek pencil skirts.

Consider Hem and Sleeve Lengths

Another deciding factor in choosing your perfect blouse is getting the perfect hem and sleeve length. The bottom of the blouse might fall just below the waist, at the hip, or below the hip as with tunic styles. Look at where the blouse’s length is designed to fall, and choose a size that will allow it to hit your desired length. If you plan to tuck your shirt in, make sure the hem is long enough to tuck in with ease. Depending on the style of the short-sleeve shirt, the length may fall just past the shoulder (for a cap or flutter sleeve), midway down the arm, or a few inches above the elbow. Long-sleeve lengths should fall just below your wrist and rolled and three-quarter lengths should hit just below the elbow.

Select the Style That’s Right for You

Once you determine the right fit, type of blouse, neckline, and sleeve and hem length, you’re ready to have some fun. Shop around for the perfect blouse styles that make you smile, from solid-colored pastels like peaches and pinks to pretty polished looks in polka dots and prints.

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