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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 /