Seasonal Skinny Wk 6: Geek Chic, High Collar Blouse, Beret & Brogues

How to breathe new life into a bygone blouse.

I’m sure we all have items in our wardrobes that were bought decades ago.  Somehow they remain stuck in time either because they were particular to a trend back then or because our working lives change.  They become redundant.  They don’t get worn. Yet for some reason we don’t part with them.

High Collar Blouse, Beret, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

High Collar Blouse, Beret, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

High Collar Blouse, Beret, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

This blouse is definitely one of those items.  The high collar blouse looked demure when dressed with a pencil skirt, a nipped in jacket and heels for the office.  However, my days of working 9-5 are long gone.  My working wardrobe no longer requires traditional office attire!  My challenge this week was to take the blouse I used to wear in one setting and style it in a completely different way to make it relevant to my lifestyle now, enabling me to still get wear from it.

Victoriana is a trend at the moment, along with the comeback of the pussy bow blouse.  Although this blouse isn’t strictly either of those, there are hints of both in it, from the delicate lines of ruffles down the front, the high neck and the thin ties at the neck creating a bow.  It all made me think this blouse’s time was ripe for a second act.

Wearing it with a cardigan didn’t work.  It needed the structure of a jacket to frame it.  Out for a second time came my Ann Taylor Petite Wool Jacket.  I wore it in week 3 of my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge, when I styled it with these skinnies for a Date Night with Tall Brown Fox.

I started by adding a brooch and doing the jacket up but that felt prissy.  If I’d had a strand of pearls around my neck I’d have looked like a School Librarian circa 1983!  A rather backward step from looking demure with my original pencil skirt.

To mirror the rolled up jeans, I rolled up the jacket sleeves.  A definite improvement.  Then I pushed them up my arms to make the jacket even less formal, allowing me show off a grey and opal bracelet. We were beginning to get somewhere.

High Collar Blouse, Woll Jacket, Diamante Silver Spectacles Brooch | Petite Silver Vixen

Grey & Opal Bracelet, Bamboo Handle Marilyn Munroe Print Bag | Petite Silver Vixen

After the first brooch not looking right, I played around with different ones and the winner by far was my silver, diamante framed specs!  They just fitted with the geeky look of the brogues, the rolled up jeans and sleeves and are a play on the fact that I do wear specs in real life!

The look had some character now.

High Collar Blouse, Diamante Spectacles Brooch | Petite Silver Vixen

The bag needed to match this emerging look. That was an easy choice; my Marilyn Munroe graphic print, bamboo handle bag.

I didn’t buy the handbag because I’m an avid Marilyn Munroe fan.  I just happened to be trawling e-bay a couple of years ago for bamboo handle bags as I have a thing for them and this one popped up.  I bought it not just because of the handles but because the images are striking and show how beautiful she looked, especially when she smiled.  Marilyn was a much under-rated actress and on camera exuded an incredible screen presence.  

We also share something in common.  We were born on the same date (not year, obviously)!

The brogues are relatively new; an unexpected purchase in the summer sales.  Not just unexpected because they were reduced but because until recently I had an aversion to wearing brogues (memories of school days – shiver).  Here’s how it all happened in my Down to Business with Brogues post from back in August.

Marilyn Munroe Print Bag, Marsala Skinny Jeans, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

Marsala Coloured Rolled Up Skinny Jeans, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

Seasonal Skinny
Red Herring blouse (old)  Here’s a lovely Mono Print High Collar Blouse from Warehouse
Ann Taylor Petite Wool Jacket (old)
Jones the Bootmaker Brogues
Marilyn Munroe Bamboo Handle Handbag (preloved)
Spectacles Brooch (e-bay)
Grey Wool Beret: New Look (old) Similar Accessorize Soft Lattice Beret

With a little styling, a blouse that was stuck in a time warp has been given a breath of fresh air that’s more in keeping with my current wardrobe and lifestyle.  

We’ve a play on the masculine with the brogues, against the feminine of the high collar blouse.

The rolled up sleeves lessens the formality of the jacket.

The accessories of the spectacles brooch and printed bag are quirky details without making the outfit look costumey.

The finishing touch was the addition of my beret.  And no, I’ve not added it for effect. I really do wear berets.  

At the last count I owned eleven (although by the time you read this, it’s highly likely that there’ll have been a winter beret population explosion).

When I was much younger I used to think grey was a boring colour. Not any more!  Here, the varying shades of grey from the silver grey of my beret, the bluey-grey of the jacket, the greenish grey tinge of the brogues and the darker shades in the bag stand out against the rich colour of the skinny jeans and the blouse. 

High Collar Blouse, Beret, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

High Collar Blouse, Beret, Brogues | Petite Silver Vixen

Finally, I leave you with 2 more linking threads.  In her film, How to Marry a Millionaire, in which she starred with the two great Betty’s – Betty Grable and Lauren (Betty) Bacall – Marilyn played the role of Pola Debevoise, who despite being extremely short-sighted, refused to wear her glasses, as she thought they’d put off potential suitors.

Here’s a still from the movie (courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Getty Images), showing Marilyn finally embracing her diamante framed glasses (rather like my brooch) with her ‘millionaire’, played by David Wayne.  Aren’t they a beautiful, bespectacled couple? 

And look at that high collar blouse she’s wearing!

Marilyn Munroe, David Wayne, Still from How to Marry a Millionaire |  20th Century Fox/Getty Images

Do you have any pieces stuck in a ‘time warp’ in your wardrobe?

Linking with / Fabulous Friday  /  Flashback Fashion Fridays /  Fashion should Be Fun  /  Throwback Thursday  /  High Latitude Style  /  Passion4Fashion  / Style Story / Visible Monday  / Garay Treasures / Confident Twosday / Turning Heads Tuesday / Colorandgrace / Style Me Wednesday / #iwillwearwhatilike /


  1. October 16, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    Half of my wardrobe is stuck in a time warp : ) And that is just how I like it.

    I love this quirky masculine look on you. Grey and burgundy are wonderful partners as you've shown so well here.

    That is such a fun film.


    • October 16, 2015 / 9:52 pm

      Ha, ha, I know but the trick with you Suzanne is you put your indefinable stamp on them and totally own the style. You are my time warp Queen! The two colours really do work well and I was really pleased how the end result looked.

  2. October 16, 2015 / 9:16 pm

    I love this look Jacqueline!
    So cute and quirky…. I LOVE berets too, but I only have 6, wait (adds on fingers) 7…hmmmmm….I need more!
    They are harder to wear with my crop but I will be bringing them out as the temperature drops
    The time-warp factor is a tricky one but you have brought this blouse up to date, and a little bit Gucci-esque.
    Pussy bows are huge (no pun intended).
    You have nailed the 'tricks" of de-frumping…the cuffing of jeans and the pushing up of the sleeves, oh so simple but so effective.
    And, of course, those brogues are a hit.
    Great outfit!
    Fake Fabulous

    • October 16, 2015 / 9:59 pm

      SEVEN! As Len on SCD would say! Come on Samantha, up the beret count!!! Ha, ha, we should have a 'beret' off! I just love berets – they are timeless, stylish and fun. Can't wait to see yours. Thank you for your Gucci-esque compliment.
      It had to be the brogues for this outfit, didn't it – they were made for it!

  3. October 16, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    Super cute!! I am so loving the dichotomy of items…the feminine blouse with the masculine shoes. And the dressiness of the blouse, yet you've managed to casual it up!!! Love, love, love it!! jodie

  4. October 17, 2015 / 6:05 am

    Hey Jacqueline, I love this post. Like you, I used to think that grey was very boring, but love it now. (I have a post in my draft box featuring a grey ensemble) Rolling up the sleeves and trousers changes the formality of the look and is great to offset the blouse. The brooch and bag both add a bit of fun, but I couldn't comment on the outfit without mentioning those brogues. Yum, yum, they're delicious!

    • October 17, 2015 / 10:50 pm

      Oooh, well, l look forward to reading your 'grey' post! I'm totally in love with my brogues. Thanks Anna.

  5. October 17, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    I reading a lot of Paris chic about this outfit, artsy woman about town. The beret looks amazing with everything. You are so right – I had the same thoughts about grey but it really is a great colour, especially how you wear it here. I'm glad you've revived this blouse. It's a great piece. And those shoes…I think you know how much I love them.

    • October 17, 2015 / 10:49 pm

      Ah, well, as it just so happens you caught me just before I headed off to the Pompidou Centre for a spot of Kandinsky and Chagall viewing, followed by a spot of déjeuner at Les Halles! I just love berets; you're right they do go with everything. I really love grey – less harsh than black and so many shades too. I can indeed feel the love for my brogues!

  6. October 18, 2015 / 3:10 am

    That blouse is so lovely! And that blazer is a classic!

    • October 18, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      Thanks Laura, I'm pleased I've found another way of wearing it now.

  7. October 18, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Such a cool and fun look, Loving the brogues! So on point! And the blouse looks totally fresh styled like this!

    Thanks so much for linking up with Fun Fashion Friday!
    Dawn Lucy

    • October 18, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Thanks Dawn. It certainly was fun putting it together and wearing it out.

  8. October 18, 2015 / 1:33 pm

    Gray is hands down my favorite neutral and this blazer has absolutely endless possibilities. Do you have any idea how fabulous you look in a beret my friend? I love it on you! And yes, I have a plethora of things I've for whatever reason kept over the years…sometimes they come back out to play, sometimes not.

    • October 18, 2015 / 4:14 pm

      Agreed Debbie – it's become my favourite neutral too. Ha, ha, friends will tell you that the beret is something of a winter signature look for me. From now until about March, one is pretty much on my head whenever I go out!

  9. October 20, 2015 / 3:30 am

    I like to tell other bloggers one of my favorite things about their outfit: for this one it is definitely the beret. I just tried one on this past weekend. I wish I would have gotten it, but I wasn't sure if I already had one. I figured it would be better to check. I love the light grey color of yours. Very chic!

    Thank you for linking up to my Style Story Link Up!!

    Love, Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    • October 20, 2015 / 8:31 pm

      Oh Ann, you should have bought it! I'm really loving silvery greys at the moment. They're very flattering to the skin.

  10. October 20, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    I love the vintage feel of that blouse. The brogues, beret hat, masculine blazer and that adorable glasses brooch add to the vintage theme of this look. So tailored and fun! Love it.

    Take Care, Ada. =)

    • October 21, 2015 / 11:18 pm

      Thanks Ada, there's definitely a vintage vibe going on! The glasses brooch tickled me so I had to wear it.

  11. October 21, 2015 / 4:34 am

    Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. The look is very interesting. I really like it!

  12. October 21, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Look at the cute spectacles!!! Damn, had Bloglovin showed me you'd posted, I would've included you in my brooch wearers!!! It is super sweet and fun!
    I'm very much into this outfit, stylish, fun, daddy, girly yet masculine! Brogues, yee ha!!!!

    • October 21, 2015 / 11:19 pm

      Ah well, maybe next time, Kezzie! They are fun, I also have them in gold too. And a big yee ha, to brogues!

  13. October 22, 2015 / 1:05 am

    I am glad you pulled this top out of your closet and wore it. Love this outfit and so many fun details!

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you Thursday.


  14. October 22, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    Oh, this is such a fun look! So great how you modernized your bow blouse and your brooch is Fabulous! I recently saw a post that has inspired me to try some of my pussy bow blouses with jeans, because my typical go to is a pencil skirt or trousers. you are reminding me I need to get on that. Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday!

    Jennie – A Pocketful of Polka Dots

    • October 22, 2015 / 9:37 pm

      I'm really pleased I've been able to find a way to wear it again.
      Oh do, I'd love to see you in that combo of pussy bow blouse and jeans. It would look fabulous on you.

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