31 January 2008

16 reasons why you shouldn't settle for a blah blouse

You always talk about 'showpiece' necklines, and while I know I need to stop wearing the same boring button-up shirts and scoopneck tops week in and week out, when I'm in a store and actually searching for something, I'm always at a loss. Exactly what qualifies [as a showpiece neckline]?

I may not be qualified to offer advice on true bargain hunting.

I'm probably not the girl to whom you should come for an all-sizes-are-equally-beautiful pep talk.

And I'm definitely not fashion-forward enough to recognize (much less understand) the obvious brilliance behind the denim-n'-stars extravaganza Lagerfeld and Pilati sent down their runways in Paris last Fall.

But as John Rambo sagely imparted in First Blood and reinforced in installments two through four, one must not permit one's weaknesses -or outside reminders thereof- to detract from exercising one's strengths. He had his cross-bow, and I, well, I have the ability to identify, locate and put forth for my readers a flat-out fabulous collection of showpiece necklines.

Necklines, they're kinda what I do best.

In the office, there is far less we can do below the belt than above; the range in cut and color for professional trousers and skirts is so very narrow, and thus, I greatly encourage you to look beyond the traditional oxfords and twin-set shells to consider any one of the following 16 varieties.*

Maybe not the last one, however, as its extreme volume tests even my sky-high tolerance for frill.


Petite cowl
($36.50 at asos.com)

Large cowl
($275 at net-a-porter.com)

Petite pleat
($34.99 at gap.com)

Large pleat

($276 at chickdowntown.com)

Fancy trim
($130 at pinkmascara.com)


($89 at nordstrom.com)

Petite bow
($251 at shopbop.com)

Medium bow
($160 at revolveclothing.com)

Large bow
($228 at saks.com)
Slouchy turtleneck
($17.80 at forever21.com)

Petite neck-framing frill
($89, Club Monaco stores)

Large neck-framing frill
($276 at lisakline.com)

Down-front frill

(£25 at topshop.com)

Asymmetric down-front frill
($1,110 at neimanmarcus.com)

*remember, I'm not so much recommending the specific blouse as I am the type of neckline each blouse represents.


Anonymous said...

As one of the readers who wishes you were more fashion forward and whatever else, I commend you for this post: This is, indeed, one of the things you do best - kudos for this very helpful and fun article!

Anonymous said...

It's a damn shame Topshop doesn't ship internationally.

Anonymous said...

these are all so cute, and i would love to try them out, but i feel like none of the high necklines would work on someone with a larger chest....any suggestions?

jackie said...

The Top Shop blouse and the Marc bow vest are my favorite. Thank you for the eye candy this morning, it was truly inspirational. I might have to go shopping on my lunch hour now ;)

Anonymous said...

Love a lot of these, but cowl necks are NOT current or fashion-forward. They are dated, done, and are reminiscent of what happens to a woman's neck and lady bits when she ages.

Up with pleats, up with frill, down with cowl necks!

glammy said...

ooooh that red Tobi top is lovely!

Noelle said...

Anonymous 10:13, I don't think you read carefully. In the intro to this very post, Johanna claimed not to be fashion-forward!

I really love all of these, with the exception of the overlay. The lacy collar is a bit too old-lady for my taste, although I can envision in working on the right person with the right outfit.

Anonymous said...

on-sale at GAP, full price at Neiman's, Top Shop, Saks, Shopbop, Club Monaco...love your demonstration of range. This must have taken you FOREVER!!

bff in chicago said...

you're totally lusting after that Elijah, aren't you?

and I'm def headed to Club Monaco after work today. You say they have that white top in black? I'm all over it.

Catherine said...

Anonymous 10:13 - A cowl neck *can* look frumpy and baggy, but I find them especially pretty with very tailored, slim fitting clothes. I think the added volume near the face, particularly when the shirt is of a thicker fabric, makes it rich and sumptuous and adds a little luxury to a workday look. They can also frame a long neck very nicely, particularly if they're in a skin-complimenting color, and they look sophisticated with a pulled-back chignon.

(On the other hand, yes, they can look very baggy if they are worn improperly and/or with other baggy clothes and/or if meant to disguise a baggy neck.)

Dee said...

I'm with Anonymous 10:01, I love these necklines but am at a loss as to which (if any) would work with a larger (36D) chest. I get so tired of v-necks.

Pinkie said...

I'm definitely a person that adores a dressy neckline. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I'm usually one of the people to say "ew, too many ruffles," but I gotta say, those last few are convincing me I've been too critical. I can't stop staring at that insane pink one!

Teek said...

Another sufferer at the hands of chestdom (32DD) - a highly tailored small pleat or cowl which stops above the bust line, a smooth front large pleat, the style (though I hate the fabric) in the "fancy trim" section, the overlay, and carefully placed bows all work okay for me if I'm cautious. And I suspect the neck frill would work if you can find something tailored at the waist. Anything ruffled in the front is just awful, I look like a rose bowl parade float.

I know I have a problem with settling for nothing but deep-U and V necks... the inspiration to keep trying other options is a good one.

Anonymous said...

Right, noelle...which is why that commenter said that COWL NECKS were dated and not fashion-forward; no one said JOHANNA wasn't fashion-forward.


kristen said...

adore the Top Shop!

Noelle said...

"Right, noelle...which is why that commenter said that COWL NECKS were dated and not fashion-forward; no one said JOHANNA wasn't fashion-forward".

...And someone who claims they're not fashion forward would possibly suggest styles that may not be considered current, no?

miami fan said...

in anticipation of payday tomorrow, I just ordered the Marc vest and the red Tibi blouse. A great way to start off the month, right?

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances said...

I'm not a fan of scoop necks. It's rare that I find ones that are flattering.

V-necks are a favorite classic that are definitely more flattering, but I love bateau necklines. They are soooo classy, imho. The wider the better, so long as no bra straps show. And off the the shoulder tops are scrumptious!

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