22 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Styling Tips

A problem blouse turns dreamy with the Cheryl Tucker tip

Shaping a boxy blouse

This boxy blouse needed shape


Do you have blouses that just don’t behave well? I do. Well, actually, I knew I bought into some trouble when I bought this black and white blouse but I was desperate to try something new. Fanciful sleeves were rockin’ the fashion world and I was feeling way unhip when I didn’t jump in. My Instagram friends were doing it and they looked GREAT.

I remember the day I took a walk over to the wild side of Nordstrom, the side that had the ruffled, interesting-sleeved tops.

The black and white gingham check had me hook, line, and sinker. How I morphed into a gingham check girl with having had a long history of solid-colored, silk blouses is a mystery to me. But it’s been like falling for the bad boy in high school, the attraction is real, my friends. Real real!


Square shaped blouse

The original shape is very square


The top came with problems

The top was all cotton. Not horrible but it meant no stretch. The sleeves had very manageable rows of deep ruffles. That was fine; they weren’t too long. The fact there was no stretch in the fabric wasn’t restricting my movement. But I really wasn’t sure how it was supposed to be styled (like who would wear this best?) because the shape is just a box. You know, tree trunk like.

Now I’m mostly square in the torso area. There aren’t a lot of curves in my trunk. Do I want to bring attention to my thickness? Not so much!

I was able to create some waist interest the first time I wore this purchase.


Using a man's tie as a belt

How I wore this top before


I pulled some of the volume of the top in when I used my dad’s necktie as my belt.  That outfit also included a cropped satin jacket, which added dimension and made it look less boxy. Here’s the full anatomy of that outfit.

This time I was in a hurry getting dressed and didn’t want to spend time on the tie belt and the jacket. And I wanted to dress it down, wear sneakers. What to do? What to do?


I spy with my little eye another possible option

Let’s to back a couple of weeks. I was cruising Instagram one day when I saw a post by my Instagram pal, Cheryl Tucker @northwesternmountainliving. Her website goes by the same name.


Cheryl Tucker


Her great white top and the asymmetrical shape of it caught my eye. I left a comment.



Whoa! I couldn’t wait to try the Cheryl Tucker Tip.

Thankfully it came to mind when I put on my beloved gingham check top today. Could I use Cheryl’s trick and make it look less boxy by pulling the hem through my belt loop?

I gave it a whirl.


Demonstrating Cheryl Tucker’s shirt styling tip

I slipped into my pants and gingham top. I added my accessories. I pulled one side of my top.


Checked top gets ready for makeover

Pulling my blouse to get ready to go through belt loop


I got the shape I wanted and then created a tail.


Styling tip

Creating a tail


Next I looked for my belt loop.


Styling tip using a belt loop

Finding the belt loop


Then I started pulling the tail through the loop.


Styling tip for blouse

Insert tail into loop


I got some draping in the top which I L-O-V-E! It gives my trunk some definition. And I love the asymmetry of it. It makes me feel more girlie this way.


Asymmetry in a blouse

The boxy shape is gone


Cheryl’s top was much longer than mine. She had more fabric to work with than I did. Even so, I’d say this was successful!


Mixing dots and checks

Wearing my dot jacket over my checked blouse


Because it was in the 70’s outside, I wore the shirt without my dot jacket for most of the day while working with our client. But then it got chilly and I put my polka dot jacket on. I like the fact that beneath the straight lines of the jacket is the asymmetry of the top.

I can’t wait to try this Cheryl Tucker Tip on all my tops and blouses. I’m so excited to be sharing it with you! Cheryl wears jeans a lot so you might team your new creation with jeans and check yourself out in the mirror! Do you have something in your closet that’s begging to be pulled through your belt loops? Do you think this would work for you? Let’s talk styling tips!




Outfit Details

  1. Black pant by White House Black Market (available here)
  2. Polka dot jacket by Chico’s (past year)
  3. Gingham shirt by Halogen, Nordstrom (past year)
  4. Tennis shoes by AGL (past years)
  5. Mickey Mouse watch/pearl necklace bought at Petaluma Antique Faire
  6. Gold ring by Victor Sanz (one of a kind)






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  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Ooh, this looks interesting. How do you get it to stay in place, is there enough fabric to tie a knot? I do like that shirt, I liked the jacket and tie/belt thing you did with it.

    I’m not doing the whole weird sleeves thing though.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:56 am

      No weird sleeves for you! This is the only one I have, but the checks! I fell hard! Because this top is fairly short, it did slip out once or twice yesterday. I think I could have anchored it with a safety pin. A knot would have made it too short. With longer pieces, I think it would be great!

      • Reply
        May 10, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        I could also see you anchoring it with any of your lovely brooch pins. You really do put together the BEST outfits. As I return to work full time for my “next chapter” you are absolutely my inspiration (in more ways than one!).

  • Reply
    Cathy Heine
    May 10, 2018 at 4:54 am


    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:50 am


  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    May 10, 2018 at 5:53 am

    This is very timely. I was just lamenting the length of a shirt, which was a bit long to wear Under a new shorter jacket. I wanted to wear both items together tomorrow. I will try this briallant suggestion! Thanks , both of you. Sending love from Oz .

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:45 am

      As we can see here, it takes a village to figure out fashion! Hope that works for you when you try it, dear one! Lots of love from Sonoma, my friend.

  • Reply
    Sandi Mcdougall
    May 10, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Love the idea as nearly every top I purchase is too long & I can’t wait to try it. Plus, your writing always brings a smile to my face. (The bad boy in high school!). I had to read that part to Paul. Please never stop writing this blog as I enjoy it so much.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:44 am

      Sandi, you put such a smile on my face! I think I need to tape your pic on my computer so when if my fingers feel like they have no tapping in them, you’ll be there inspiring me! I can really see this tip working for you. Let’s take a look when I see you in July!

  • Reply
    Bobbi A Mouzon
    May 10, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Good idea, but I am just crazy for the checks and dots and the ruffled sleeves pouring out!!!! Loved it with the necktie as well!!!!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Thanks, Bobbi! That mix is about as wild as I get and I know for you it’s probably just a starting point! I love your adventurous spirit with fashion!

  • Reply
    Cheryl Tucker
    May 10, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Awe Brenda you write so cleverly! You had me smiling from line one. I am so glad you like this tip! I have been doing it forever because I have such a short waist all tops drown me. You did it beautifully! Love your blog and will give you a shout out on my Friday post which goes live at 5!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Well, Cheryl, I think you’ve done us all a great service! Sounds like you’re not the only one with a short waist!! It was really fun to try your tip. I think forever this will be called the Cheryl Tucker tip! XX

  • Reply
    Cheryl Tucker
    May 10, 2018 at 7:47 am

    P.S. I am using your beautiful picture too, I hope it is okay.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Sound like big fun!!!

      • Reply
        June 22, 2019 at 9:42 am

        Aha! Here I am, long-waisted and thinking that this could be the solution for those times when I have a shirt and a jacket whose hems end at exactly the same place. Usually this is at the widest part of my hips. No, no. By shortening the shirt in this way, the eye registers asymmetry, which slims and lengthens. Brilliant! Isn’t it funny that being short-waisted and long-waisted could have the same solution?

        I just can’t do that tuck that younger women like. It makes me look wider, and sloppy.

        It’s a good thing to go back and read your past posts, Brenda. Thank you. And thank you, Cheryl Tucker.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Hi Brenda!
    This is a brilliant piece of fashion advice! I never thought of it, and I’m often drowning in my tops because I’m only 5’5”. Can’t wait to try this out!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Clever all the way!

  • Reply
    TJ Smith
    May 10, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Miracle cleverness!!!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve been doing something similar by tucking part of my blouse into the waitsband of my jeans or pants. Then I just blouse it out a bit. It gives more definition and doesn’t look boxy anymore. Works for me and especially if your pants don’t have belt loops.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Brilliant! It really is cute! Sharing is caring, Cheryl!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I did fall for a bad boy in college. It didn’t turn out as well as your gingham blouse!
    Your writing is a hoot! I still think about your dream about dressing Keith Urban and Adam Levine.

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