B.A.S.E. Directrice

I love a statement blouse.


Just to be clear, by “statement blouse” I mean an epic blouse that can stand-in for a jacket or dress.

Some of you might remember this chestnut, dating back to 2017, shown here, here, and here.



I thought Palmer//Harding might be a novelty in 2017, but the company has continued to make beautiful, sculptural tops, season after season.

You might think that having one such blouse would be more than enough. That two such blouses would pass from statement to cacophony. Pish-posh! 

Too much?

Not even close


The real inhibitor here is cost. So I look for these tops on sale and on The RealReal, where I found this one in the early spring.


Roll-call! Blue stripes on white, always classic. A neat banded collar and cinched waist, so trim.  A full skirt, doubles as a parachute, and wing-flaps on the sleeves, perfect for guidance in B.A.S.E. jumps.

This blouse does it all.

It’s an all-in-one

Take a minute to take it in; also, please note the stepped hem, which is roughly 1.5 inches longer in the back than the front


You may need more than a minute to take in the magnitudes of this blouse.

Take your time; I’m in no rush.


I altered this blouse in two small ways. First, there was a ruffle along the yoke on the front, which ran down the front side of the sleeves. That seemed excessive to me.

Second, it was a little long in the back. The dress part of a DoP (dress-over-pants) ensemble needs to hit a few inches above the knee (in my opinion). The original differential between the length in the front and the back of this blouse-dress was 4 or 5 inches and that differential also seemed excessive. Like, excessively excessive. So I had the back hemmed.

Full sweep of wing-flap

Is it a large ruffle or a little cape?


For those wondering, how do you eat with those ridiculous sleeves: there is a keyhole at the wrist and I pull the end of the ruffle through it. Then it’s tucked away neatly for meals, hand-washing, and such activities.

For those wondering, how do you light candles, grill over an open flame, and operate a mangler while wearing this blouse, be assured: I don’t. I read and write in this blouse.


I also perform mass weddings in this blouse; it has the right scale for a stadium service

Changing subjects, briefly, these oxfords are amazing. They weigh nothing, but have so much presence, and are delightfully comfortable.

In for a penny, in for a pound; why not add a brooch?


Although this blouse needs no ornament, I added a birch twig brooch by Keith Lewis, who showed his work at the Smithsonian Craft2Wear show in October 2023. He paints small birch twigs with iridescent and acrylic lacquers and adorns them with pearls to make these charming brooches. 

Blouse: Palmer//Harding from The RealReal (one just like mine and look at this beauty); Shoes: Cole Haan Original Grand Platform Oxford

7 thoughts on “B.A.S.E. Directrice”

  1. You are so adventurous and brave! My gut says that black leggings or something similarly skinny would work better with the volume of the shirt? I do like the shoes! Looked ’em up and there are some cute metallic versions too. On my list…!

  2. I think it’s giving flag signal ability… from a distance you could give people helpful warnings…

    I ALWAYS appreciate a DoP. Nicely done.

  3. I think it’s very graceful in its shape and movement—it becomes almost a different garment when you move your arms up or out (capelet with arms down, ruffle with arms out). Lovely piece. And the shoes, yum!


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