The girl with the perfect behind has helped me identify that elusive item most women go their entire lives without finding -- the *perfect* blouse.
This jewel-blue satin cap-sleeve blouse with deep neckline-to-chest pleats and keyhole back (not shown) may not seem spectacular to you, but to me, it is that marriage of the right silhouette, the right color and the right fabric I've waited years to come across. Heartbreakingly, I know I can't afford this particular, surely-couture piece, but at least now, every time I browse the sale section at shopbop.com or step into a Club Monaco, I have an indelibly-burned reminder of why I won't settle for that cute but not quite right satin blouse.
What is it, specifically, about Ms. Biel's top that has me so captivated?
Well, to begin, its versatility. It's the bright punch of color that will lighten up one of my many all-black ensembles; it's that prim, feminine shape that will tone down the severity of my pinstripe pantsuit; it's that simple but still very up-market top that will makes a jeans-and-flats afternoon just as enjoyable, fashion-wise, as a summer cocktail party in Kalorama. Its fitted but not gratuitously so, and would allow me to display my toned - and in the summer, tanned - upper arms.
Most important, though, is that it couples well with every single below-the-waist wardrobe component I have in my closet:
Pencil skirt - check.
A-line skirt - check.
Pleated lampshade skirt - check.
Skinny pants - check.
Wide-leg trousers - check.
Dressy bermudas - check.
Jeans - check.
Ballet flats - check.
Round-toed stilettos - check.
Finally, just because this is my perfect blouse doesn't mean it's yours. In the search for your perfect blouse, try waiting until you come across one that meets all four of the following criteria:
1. Minimizes your problem areas -- covers your beanbag biceps, your paunch folds, and/or your straight up-and-down boy hips
2. Highlights your assets -- hugs your great rack in a non-salacious way, alludes to but doesn't give-away-for-free your hourglass shape, draws attention to your defined clavicle
3. Versatility -- pairs well with the majority of trousers and skirts in your wardrobe and is just as hot dressed up for work and as it is down for a reunion barbecue
4. Love love LOVE it factor -- every time you look at it, you can't wait to wear it again
There is one formidable downside to finding your ideal blouse - or anything ideal - in the manner in which I did, and that is the likelihood of a futile search and ultimately having to decide between being without or settling for less.
Hubbell settled for less, but like I said, I'm a Katie -- I'm holding out for the one I want.