Fight it though we may, summer will soon come to an end, forcing us to trade in our stylish sundresses and chic jumpsuits for warmer, more practical separates. But not just any top will do at the office — or after hours, for that matter. When fall rolls around, it’s a transitional blouse we reach for nine times out of 10.
What is a blouse?
Though it may seem fairly obvious, there is a difference — albeit a subtle one — between a blouse and a shirt. While a shirt is typically structured, a blouse has a looser fit and is often gathered at the waist with a tie or a belt.
In olden times, these flow-y designs were worn by workmen, peasants, or children, who favored them for their ability to allow the wearer to move about with ease as they completed their daily tasks. At their inception, they were far from what one might consider stylish. In fact, according to Patra, they were actually seen as “unfashionable.”
That all changed in the 1890s, however, when blouses were adopted into the wardrobes of women as a casual top to be worn in an informal setting. Cut to 1900, and they had been transformed into bonafide fashion staples.
Though they’ve seen many incarnations since then, now, more than 100 years later, we’re still incorporating these breezy tops into our ensembles. With fashionable details such as ruffled sleeves and pussy bow necklines and their lightweight, movable fabric, these easy-fitting pieces are among our favorites. Plus, they have that magic ability to transition from day to night at a moment’s notice. We might wear one of these gorgeous finds with a pair of tailored slacks and flats at the office, before turning around and wearing the same top for a nice evening dinner with our favorite jeans and heels. The options are endless!
The Best Blouses for Going From Day to Night
We’ve combed through the racks at all our favorite retailers, including Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, and Michael Kors, to get a jump on the chicest blouses for fall. Keep reading for Woman’s World’s picks for the best best blouses for transitioning from day to night.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
All In Favor Perfect Henley Tunic
All in Favor Perfect Henley Tunic
Where to buy: $24.90 (Originally $49), Nordstrom
Not only is this oversized blouse a comfortable pick you won't feel restricted or restrained in, its roll-tab cuffs, chest patch pocket, and long shirttail hem lend instant polish to any ensemble you pair it with. An ideal pick for the office that's also casual enough to work well after hours, this top affords plenty of versatility, And, ringing in at less than $25, you can afford to add several of its eight color options to your closet.
Bcbg Mixed Print Blouse
BCBG Mixed-Print Blouse
Where to buy: $198, BCBG
This gorgeous feminine top, made of silk georgette, has a classic flow-y blouse fit with elevated twists in the form of its collared neckline and contrasting sleeve panels. Unlike regular silks, which typically need to be dry cleaned, this top's silk georgette is made from polyester, meaning you can throw it right into the wash for easy care after use — score!
Modcloth Milk Bow Blouse
Modcloth Milk Bow Blouse
Where to buy: $49, Nordstrom
Also machine washable is this luxe-looking bow blouse from Modcloth, which features three-quarter sleeves, a tie neck, and a hidden button placket. This top comes in one of three fall-ready shades and has a pillow-y feel that's every bit a nice to the touch as it looks.
Talbots Classic Cotton Shirt
Where to buy: $69, Talbots
Who said blouses had to be stuffy? This Talbots find is anything but, thanks its fun paisley print and contrasting roll sleeves. Made from 100 percent breathable cotton, this top ensures you'll be able to comfortably wear it all season long and wash it with ease, too.
Trina Turk Wrap Blouse
Trina Turk Mineral Wrap Top
Where to buy: $198, Macy's
If you're not quite ready to let go of the dog days of summer, opt for this florescent pink top from Trina Turk. Appropriate for business casual settings and informal gatherings alike, its vibrant hue will have you feeling sunny and bright even as the cold weather begins to set in. It's also machine washable. Customers who add coupon code VIP at checkout will earn an extra 30 percent off through Sept. 22.
Michael Kors Blouse
MICHAEL Michael Kors Striped Crepe Blouse
Where to buy: $66 (Originally $88), Michael Kors
Sharp, stylish, and draped for an easy, relaxed fit, Michael Kors’ short sleeve crepe blouse is the epitome of ideal day-to-night dressing. Ruffle-trim sleeves give a delicate touch to this otherwise edgy striped print, and it's 100 percent polyester fabric means no extra dry cleaning is necessary.
Vince Camuto Blouse
Vince Camuto Tiered-Sleeve Ruffle Blouse
Where to buy: $59.40 (Originally $99), Nordstrom
You'll stand out from the crowd in this head-turning blouse design from Vince Camuto. Its sheer Gossamer polyester fabric is partially lined to keep you plenty covered at work, but its tiered blouse sleeves will make a statement at any function you're inclined to attend once you're clocked out for the day.
Ann Taylor Blouse
Ann Taylor Tipped-Tie Waist Tee
Where to buy: $69.50, Ann Taylor
Shorter-sleeve blouses, like this tipped tie-waist number from Ann Taylor, can be worn solo in the still-sunny, days of early fall and beneath a blouse or jacket once the temps begin to drop, allowing it to easily pull double duty. Its tie waist will emphasize your frame while a back slit at the neck makes for an interesting and eye-grabbing touch.
Lilly Pulitzer Elsa Blouse
Lilly Pulitzer Elsa Silk Top
Where to buy: $138 to $158, Lilly Pulitzer
Color comes alive in Lilly Pulitzer's best-loved 100 percent silk Elsa blouse, delighting the website's shoppers — more than 100 buyers gave it the highest rating available of five stars. An open smocked neck and gold placket buttons only add to its appeal.
"I have several of these tops and they are so great! They can be dressy or casual," one wrote of this top's changeability. Added another: "It's really comfy but looks really put together."
Kate Spade Micro Pleat Top
Kate Spade Micro Pleat Top
Where to buy: $298, Kate Spade
We love the rich, autumnal hue and the voluminous barrel cuff sleeves of this romantic belted Kate Spade micro-pleat top. Though you'll have to dry clean its cotton-blend poplin fabric, we think the dreamy impression this top will leave behind is well worth the extra effort. Its classic mock neckline and drop shoulders do well to ensure this piece, no doubt an investment, won't be going out of style anytime soon.
SHEIN Frilled Collar Keyhole Back Leopard Top
Where to buy: $19, SHEIN
Take a walk on the wild side in this leopard-print blouse from SHEIN! Its ruffled neck and silky polyester material make this elegant design look far pricier than its $19 price tag. "This is just so amazing, the top has a pearl shine all over," one reviewer shared, adding, "Very nice, — love it."
Kenneth Cole Window Check Gathered Blouse
Where to buy: $89, Kenneth Cole
This geometric number from American fashion house Kenneth Cole puts a creative spin on the standard blouse silhouette thanks to its gathered, drape-y waist It belted tie, meanwhile, will keep your shape firmly intact. An eye-catching black-and-white grid print lends a touch of sophisticated to its vibe.
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