Okay, my friends. You’ve seen me in this black and white gingham blouse before. But look closely. Something’s different. Can you tell?
If you’ve read about this blouse, you knowI’d been on the hunt for a non-tailored blouse; something fanciful. I’d been fascinated by the gussied up blouses with sleeve details that I saw every place. Last year’s Halogen top from Nordstrom got my attention because of my love of checks. The next attractive feature I fell for were the fancy sleeves. This blouse winks at tailored details (gingham, cotton) while being feminine in a lighthearted way.
Only problem: It has no stretch and no darts, and it’s boxy. If you don’t do something with the volume in the body of it, it wants to stick straight out in front. I wondered about it in the dressing room, but I was sure I could fix it somehow. Truth-0-meter: I loved the checks, liked that I had finally found a fanciful sleeve that seemed manageable, so I let it slide that the fit was odd and bought it anyway, something I do not recommend others to do.
Boxy problem solved with my dad’s tie
I fiddled with the styling of the blouse until I came up with my first fit solution, which was to belt it, but not with a real belt. A real belt didn’t look good. The cotton just puffed out more like uncovered hair does after a 30-minute tear along the LA 405 freeway in a convertible at midnight. Not a good look. Instead, I used my father’s tie as a belt and added a bolero jacket. I liked it. No, I loved it!
For the anatomy of the complete outfit and to see the man wearing the tie himself (he’s a good-looking bugger) check out the post about turning a man’s tie into a belt.
Removing bulk by pulling at one end and tucking it into a belt loop
This spring I found a way to control the volume of the blouse and create waist interest with the Cheryl Tucker Tuck.
Everyone needs to know the Cheryl Tucker Tuck. She’s an instagram friend of mine, @northwesternmountainliving. I admired the way she was wearing a blouse (it was asymmetrical), commented on her post, and she told me her secret.
You pull one end, make a tail, and tuck the tail into the belt loop. If my gingham blouse tail had been longer, I’d have had more confidence during the day that it wasn’t going to slip out and hang straight again. I had to keep an eye on it to be sure it was behaving.
Here you go if you want to read more details on managing the bulk of a blouse with a tuck. (Thanks again, Cheryl.)
Cue the drum roll, it’s time for the third boxy top solution
So you saw how I wore the blouse last fall (Dad’s tie-belt), and how I wore it this spring (Cheryl Tucker Tuck) and now, my friends, it’s time to view the summer version.
Here’s how it started. I was getting dressed and heading to San Francisco to see a client. I was hungry to wear the black and white gingham blouse. I put on my Vince Camuto black ankle pant, slipped on the blouse and started lamenting. Why couldn’t it be different? (Insert whiny voice here.) I didn’t want to tuck, I didn’t want to add a belt, I just wanted it to manage itself, gosh darn it.
The Serenity Prayer came to mind: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
I took a deep breath. I couldn’t change the way it was. It was a blouse with bulk where I didn’t want bulk. I’d been willing to overlook that fact in the dressing room. I take responsibility for that.
I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Maybe I could alter the bulkiness by creating a fold on each side, right around the pelvic bone, and tacking it down along the bottom edge. I created the fold and eyeballed it in the mirror. Then I turned it to the inside and saw I’d taken it in by the distance of the tip of my thumb to my knuckle, a little over an inch. I have a small sewing kit in a drawer of the vanity. I pulled it out, threaded a needle, and tacked it down. I repeated it on the other side. The gingham check is so busy that if it wasn’t exactly equal on both sides, no one would notice. Besides, I’m pretty good at eyeballing after all the years of sewing garments. That answer to prayer took all of five minutes. (Thank you, God!)
I accessorized and headed for the City. The first thing Erin said when we met at our client’s house was, “I like your blouse!” I was so excited to tell her about my five-minute-blouse fix. “It looks more expensive this way,” she added. It felt more sophisticated to me with the two tacks I’d made. It wasn’t too bulky; it wasn’t too tight. It felt finished. I could wear it without a jacket and still feel polished.
Of course, let’s get real. San Francisco in the summer is freezing so I did bring a jacket with me.
I’m so happy with my blouse fix! Will you celebrate with me? What tricks do you apply to garments to get them to fit just right?