You know those days when there just don’t seem to be enough hours for everything you’ve got to do? Well I’ve been rushing round like a mad thing lately, running from one event to the other – which makes trying to decide what to wear (and remembering to take it with me) 10 times harder. What to wear for a pitch with a client, for example, that can also work for a night on the town or a school concert requires more thought than a slick of lipstick and changing your shoes.
We’ve all seen those articles in glossy fashion mags suggesting that for a day-for-night transformation all you need is a string of pearls and a glittery shrug, but that can be hard to pull off when you’re in a mad hurry, tired and stressed and can’t find anywhere to park.
Real life has a habit of messing up our plans to be Superwoman, doesn’t it? You might get a call from your partner asking how to work the oven (this has actually happened), while your friend texts to ask why you’re late (you can’t tell her it’s because you’ve only just left the office), your offspring wants to know why the XBox isn’t working, and there’s a traffic warden lurking in the road just when you thought you might get away with going into that loading zone. To cap it all, there’s a ladder in your tights which makes them look like fishnets.
Well thank goodness for the ladylike look, because there’s no other garment that says instant chic quite as simply and easily as a blouse. Not just any blouse, obviously. It has to be a proper blouse, not just a cotton top or a long sleeved t-shirt hybrid. It has to have the distinction that comes from being a non-casual garment and yet it can get away with floating around above a pair of trousers or skirt all day without anyone blinking an eyelid. It has to have a certain style, be well finished and stylish. Then, when it has served its purpose as a slightly-posher-than-usual daytime top, it can be glammed up with a belt or necklace and become a proper, going-out, take-you-anywhere look. For dinner, at the theatre, in a wine bar, cinema or even a friend’s home for supper, with the right accessories a blouse suggests that you have made an effort. No one will ever know that you have been wearing it all day (as long as you don’t spill something on it at lunch).
The good blouse is one of the most versatile and reliable best friends that any woman can have in her wardrobe. And the wonderful side effect is that you will feel smart and well turned out in either situation. Neither over dressed nor under dressed.
An appealing range of blouses can be quite difficult to track down these days, which is one of the drawbacks to this failsafe fashion solution, but there are treasure troves to mine. Bonmarche, for example, takes a wide view over the entire range of ladies tops and has many blouses in its collections, including this gorgeous David Emanuel one (for only £22.50, bargain). What you are aiming for in the One blouse Two ways scenario is a blouse like their Lurex spot crinkle blouse, which will not only look dramatically sheer and whimsical by day, but will appear glamorous and girly at night.
The drawstring neck is an added bonus and you need have no fears about looking rumpled with this fabric. It also comes in a stardust peplum. The Ikat Print Gypsy blouse is another style which will look decorous by day, but daring by night, with a change of trousers and a few extra touches, like earrings and an up-do or a chic blazer to pull it into line.
If you plan ahead and rely on your basic blouse to carry you through, you can kiss goodbye to fashion nightmares. If you know your blouse suits your colouring and fits and flatters well, then you really don’t have anything more to worry about – except perhaps where to find that elusive parking spot.