Is it a shirt? Or is it a blouse?
Women’s shirt or blouse? That is the question. In today’s language, a shirt is a blanket term for any piece of clothing worn on the upper part of the body, including a blouse. But a shirt and a blouse are actually far different from each other. A shirt generally has a more relaxed appearance, while a blouse can be anything from casual to dressy. While a shirt is generally gender-neutral, a blouse is seen more as a feminine garment. Technically, either can be gender- neutral.
A shirt technically must be a fully buttoned opening, and can be with or without a collar, while a blouse will never feature a full vertical button up opening. Sleeve length, varied neckline or hem is not what defines or identifies the difference between a shirt and a blouse. Sleeve and hem style and length can vary widely on a blouse, while a shirt will almost always have a straight hem.
What is a shirt?
A shirt will always have a full vertical button opening. A shirt is never intended to be a “pull on” top. While a shirt has no specific sleeve or hem length, or fit, one constant remains, buttons. A shirt can be casual to dressy. It can be tucked in or left hanging loose. A shirt will often have a formal straight collar. A shirt will generally have a straight, ungathered silhouette, but can have a more draped appearance as long as the front is a fully buttoned opening. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule. While T-shirts and Polo Shirts are called shirts, they fall into a category all themselves. It is a pull on with 3 to 4 buttons and a collar.
What qualifies as a blouse?
A blouse tends to be softer, more feminine and versatile. It is generally seen as a dressier option. A blouse can be flattering for any body type, making the blouse a far more versatile piece of clothing. Blouses tend to be flowy and billowy with a relaxed womanly silhouette, and can be as long as a tunic. While often loose fitting, sometimes a blouse will have some sort of gathering for a more flattering fit. A blouse will generally feature draping lines. While a blouse may have some buttons for embellishment, it will never feature a full button opening. A blouse may or may not have a collar. Most blouses do not typically have straight or stiff collars; however one may have a ruffled or softer line collar. A blouse is always a pull over the head garment. A blouse is generally always hanging loose.
While both shirts and blouses can be worn by any body type, each does have its differences. Shirts tend to flatter straighter body types, while a blouse can fit just about any body shape. While a shirt tends to favor a slimmer, straighter body, a blouse does tend to flatter a shapely or bustier woman because of the lack of buttons.
The buttons on a shirt can make it tough to find a great fit for curvier women. Gaping of the buttons is never a good look for any woman, and it does not flatter anyone, no matter the shape or size. Gaping is a common problem for bustier women, making it hard to find that perfect, flattering fit in a shirt, while a blouse offers more variety and versatility for any shape or size. A shirt is generally seen as a more casual garment, while a blouse is usually considered dressier. But, this is not always the case. A shirt can also have embellishments like ruffles or feminine details, to give it a softer, dressy appearance for a lady.
Both shirts and blouses can be paired with just about any bottom for a great look. A woman’s wardrobe can be filled with shirts and blouses giving her many options for her day. Whether it’s a shirt or a blouse, both can be part of any fashionable woman’s wardrobe.