The Directrice Wears a Victorian Blouse

Among the sale items that I found at Need Supply Co. at the end of the year was a charming lace blouse.
It’s not the sort of thing that I usually wear, but it spoke to me and was signficantly reduced, making an experiment in Victoriana a low-risk undertaking.

I paired the blouse with these old friends: a black corduroy blazer and pinstriped suit pants.
An ensemble that is both business-like and lady-like

It’s sweet, isn’t it?
I should have taken a photo of the blouse without the jacket! It’s pretty on its own.
That will have to keep for another day.
I haven’t had a blouse like this since I was in high school. I wore a similar high-necked blouse (though made of cotton lawn with lace trim — not all-lace) with an Eileen West (remember Eileen West?) jumper* for several of my college interviews. This was an extremely appropriate outfit — for the occasion and my age — in 1987. I remember realizing with shock just 10 years later that no seventeen year old would be caught dead in such a look. Times changed and they changed quickly.**

Saved by a belt
You may remember that this jacket was slated for possible give-away in 2018 when a belt injected new life into it.
Now it is getting lots of wear. This corduroy is fine-wale — so fine, that it feels like velvet.

Without a little humor, this outfit might seem almost stuffy. Fortunately, the pinstriped bag is bringing it. Who could resist this puffy top handle? Plainly, not I.
When confronted with certain visual or tactile delights, I am a weak person
Very, very weak

The Photographer thinks this bag looks like a business suit that folds up and doubles as a purse. Not a bad idea.
One of my colleagues recently ordered a couple of long puffer coats to try and each came with a pouch roughly the size of a Zip-loc sandwich bag which the coat (allegedly) could be stuffed into for packing. A very clever idea!
It’s puffy!

For those who want a closer look at the blouse, step right up.
Don’t be shy

* For our friends in the Commonwealth, a jumper (in the United States) is a sleeveless dress, to be worn over a blouse, jersey or turtleneck.
** Not that I need to set the Internet on fire today, but . . . how did teenagers go from dressing like girls (when I was a teenager) to dressing like very mature women (in the late 1990s) to sad leggings all the time (which are not pants). It seems an odd arc. But more importantly, do you remember what you wore to your most important college interview? Please share.
Jacket: Theory; Blouse: Angie Lace Top (only $35, also available in black); Pants: Nanette Lepore; Shoes: Fratelli Rosetti; Bag: Dries Van Noten Padded Pinstriped Wool-blend Tote

18 thoughts on “The Directrice Wears a Victorian Blouse”

  1. Interviewing circa 2000 — bootcut black pants, black leather boots with a square-ish toe and a low heel, and a solid color turtleneck. Most definitely similar to what teachers would wear around school, thinking back. I got in 🙂

  2. I remember Eileen West! Funnily, I have no recollection of what I wore on college interviews in the early 90s. Re leggings: I receive compliments on my outfits from my legging clad college students a couple of times a semester. It gives me hope that my students understand leggings are for a casual look and not for interviews. The Victorian blouse blends in with the Directrice’s style!

  3. Love the outfit! The contrast looks nice.

    My college interviews in the early 80s…pearls and a kilt, except for my first choice school, where I broke free of my mother’s strictures on dress and wore a pair of trousers with a sweater. Definitely no leggings. Definitely dressy.

    And I think fondly of an Eileen West nightgown I bought after “A Room With a View” came out. It was very Lucy Honeychurch.

  4. I don’t remember what I wore to any of my college or work interviews, but I do recall what one of the school committee members wore. He was wearing a tee shirt!!!

  5. Hope – The movie “Room with a View” is my favorite of all time!

    Directrice – I identify so well with this outfit! It’s completely in my wheel house. Thank you for validating a ladylike lace blouse with a suit.

  6. Reminds me of my Gunne Sax prom dress. Which always makes me sad, that back when I had the figure to wear a fabulous sexy dress they were not in style. My college years were spent in jorts and puffy socks with high-top Reeboks and oversized tops with belts. The mid-80s were a rough time for fashion.

  7. My early 90s interview suit had pants and everyone told it was a bad idea. No judged the red/purple/black colorblocked collar though. Heavy wool flannel suit from Macy’s. And I lots of others, all matronly as I recall.

    My last interview was quite casual, I worn black wide legged wool dress pants, black wool turtleneck, a leopard belt and black suede loafers. It’s pretty casual and I’m mortified by my young colleagues who wear leggings to work! I still can’t bring myself to wear jeans!

  8. College interview in the late 70s – beige corduroy full skirt with beige, pink, green tiny floral blouse and Frye boots. Figured out not long after that beige is not my color!

    For more recent (2 years ago!) grad school interview I wore black wool pants and a black Eileen Fisher merino sweater and a scarf – art school as an old grad student!

  9. I think of my ’80s wardrobe in terms of bands: Duran Duran, then Cyndi Lauper, then Ramones, then The Cure… But more to the point: where can I get that belt???

    • I bought this belt several years ago on YOOX, where I have purchased many interesting belts over the years. The only problem with YOOX is availability!

  10. Chiming in very late but I can’t resist a discussion of 80s/90s fashion. I can’t remember my exact grad interview outfit, but I can guarantee it was fairly frumpy as that’s how I dressed for work back then: blazers with shoulder pads, pencil skirts in heavy fabrics, sensible heels. But I clearly recall the first suit I bought for my first real job after graduation: double breasted navy with brass buttons, worn with a cream Jones New York blouse with navy trim. I thought it was the height of chic and I remember the blouse costing me a fortune, but I essentially looked like a flight attendant (a co-worker told me no less).

    • I can picture the whole thing, Shopgrrrl! And I bet you looked great. It was right for the time and place. Plus, many flight attendants’ uniforms are actually very smart.

  11. What a beautiful blouse! Love your hair too.
    I remember a navy skirt and jacket with a cream colored high french buttoned blouse, white stockings and navy pumps. As I sat next to 15 or 20 young ladies dressed the same way, (the gentlemen had navy trousers) I am happy to say, I did get accepted into the Medical School of my choice. It was a special day in my life. I remember also being told to be sure to wear a dress to see patients, to show them respect. It was only 35 years ago, how could things have changed so?


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