Tuesday, 1 April 2014
This site makes no secret of how we love a good frock. Sometimes we even turn our lust towards skirts too. But tops get a little bit less of our love. So I'm going to try and address the balance a little bit and celebrate the prettiness and the practicality of the blouse. Because in this "what the hell?" season, they are my best wardrobe friend: great with a jacket, cute with a cardie and every bit as stylish with no cover-up at all.
'Blouse' is a very funny word when you're shopping. Some shops shy away from using the term while others liberally apply it to things that clearly aren't blouses at all. I'm applying a wide, all welcoming embrace to the term - after all, I don't want semantics to get in the way of showing you Tara Starlet's Audrey Shirt. It comes in a wide array of fabrics - from sailboats to leopardskin - for £55. But I'm in love with this cheering floral number (especially when partnered with the checked skirt). ASOS have also got a bright floral blouse in stock - a great budget buy at £25.
While we're on the subject of nature's bounty, you can't get more spring appropriate lovely than this flutter garland blouse, covered with beautiful butterflies. It's reduced in the sale too, to only £29.97 from Bettylicious.
But blouses don't have to always mean the girlie side of fashion. Jaeger's anchor print blouse, £60, marries a pretty shape with an unexpected print (apparently not that unexpected, however. Oasis have a similar print in navy for £38).
I've somehow resisted including a straightforward sailor blouse in my round-up, but for shipshape all-singing, all-dancing appeal, it's hard to resist Betty Page's All Aboard top, available from Dollydagger for £46.
But showing that a retro-look blouse can look sophisticated as much as it can be cute or playful is this Chicago wrap blouse, based on a kick-ass 1940s look. Well done Fever. The blouse can be yours for £59.99.
The white lacey blouse is a classic wardrobe item for a reason. There's masses of variations around at the moment, all distinctive enough that you won't get mistaken for the waitress. This Cooperative Penny Lace collar blouse from Urban Outfitters is especially pretty. It's £45. Dahlia and French Connection came a close second and third but, you know what, you'll probably have use in your wardrobe for all three.
Dahlia are also behind this black back button blouse, £52, perfect for channelling any vamp/Victoriana/goth/seventies look you might be going for, or perhaps all four. Back button blouses are great for larger busts too as there's less chance of any gaping - probably the one thing that stands in the way of my eternal devotion to the blouse.
This Louche number is one of the the smartest blouses of the lot. But the Mara blouse still has a sense of fun - just look at those coloured buttons. It's £39.
More fun over this way, as blouses are also a fantastic way to wear pattern. Oasis really aren't doing justice to this pattern by calling it a hat and floral print top. I've chopped the models head off so you can see just a little bit better that it's covered with a gorgeous vintage-esque pattern of sewing pins alongside the florals. Really can't see the hat though. The top is £38 if you want a closer look.
And, finally, I'll scream, you'll scream, let's all scream for this ice cream print shirt. A gorgeous indication of what's hopefully coming our way very shortly that can be worn even when the sun isn't quite out yet. It's £28 from River Island leaving you plenty of change to splash out and get a flake too.