Category Archives: life

The Difference Between Shirts and Blouses

I regularly refer to shirts and blouses on YLF assuming that the differences are commonly known. But the two are often mixed up or used interchangeably, which is problematic because they are very different. It doesn’t help that retailers are sloppy in the way they categorize and describe their products.

Being deliberate and careful about describing wardrobe items correctly is a habit I learned as a retail buyer. So when I say “shirt” – I don’t mean blouse or T-shirt!

Here are the differences with some examples.

SHIRTS

A shirt is a button-through or button-down silhouette with a collar, just like a classic men’s shirt (which makes it easy to remember). Sleeves and hems can be any length. Fits are tailored, fluid or oversized. Fabrics are woven. The integrity of the shirt is for the most part crisp, a little stiff, dressy and Tomboy. That said, some cotton, silk and plaid shirts are soft and casual. And details like flounces and ruffles make a shirt far less masculine.

Shirts are easier to fit on a straighter body type with a smaller bust and regular width shoulder line. They also work well on a longer neck. A curvy body type with a larger bust is harder to fit into a shirt, unless it’s very fluid or oversized and more of a tunic. Broad shoulders can be hard to fit into shirts too. Gaping at the bust is a common challenge with shirts.

BLOUSES

A blouse doesn’t button through in front like a shirt. It seldom has a shirt collar, and is generally a lot softer and more drapey. That said, blouses can be made of stiffer fabrics. Sleeves and hems can be any length. Fabrics are woven. Fits are tailored, fluid or oversized. Blouses come in just about any silhouette, creating a larger assortment than what we typically see in shirts.

Blouses are more forgiving than shirts, and easier to fit on a range of body types because they are soft and drapey. In my experience with dressing clients, blouses look best on those who can fill them out on the shoulders and in the bust. They are also forgiving of muffin top. Blouses are amazing on curvy body types, and look a lot less Tomboy than shirts.

A shirt or blouse made of knitted fabric is a knitted top, and I will absolutely split hairs about that.

I find shirts very easy to fit because I’m a slam dunk for the body type guideline. For that reason, simple shirts used to be a wardrobe essential that I wore very regularly. But over the years, my sartorial preferences have moved away from shirts and on to blouses because I’m craving a soft, pretty and romantic vibe in my outfits. Unfortunately, I’m harder to fit into blouses because I battle to fill them out. I have to restrain myself from purchasing a shirt instead of a blouse because that’s not what I want on this leg of my style journey (unless the shirt is flouncy or ruffled.)

Some Laundry Tips To You

I enjoy taking care of laundry because it’s satisfying to keep clothing looking pristine and new for a long time. I believe that the more meticulous you are about taking care of your wardrobe items, the better they look, fit and last. Here are five quick laundry tips.

  1. SHOUT WIPES

These moist towelettes are a great way to remove a stain “on-the-go” when you travel or are out and about. But they’re equally fab to have at home to remove small stains from items so that they don’t need to go through an entire laundry cycle in the machine. I find them especially useful for tops that get a little grubby around the collar but are otherwise fine to wear a second or third time. A quick swipe with a Shout Wipe and Bob’s your uncle. No need to pop the item in the machine, which is better for the garment. Over-washing garments wear them out.

  1. OxiClean

I’ve found that OxiClean removes stubborn stains more effectively than any other detergent. It’s especially effective on white wardrobe items, and sufficiently gentle on darks. It doesn’t remove the colour of the garment while scrubbing the stain.

  1. ATSKO SPORT WASH

I’m new to the product but suggesting it based on an interesting thread in the forum. Apparently, Atsko Sports Wash is effective at eliminating unsavoury odours from garments (especially from thrift and vintage garments.)

  1. BLOCK KNITWEAR BACK INTO SHAPE

Knitwear made of natural fibres tends to lose its original shape after any type of laundering be it a wash by hand, a cycle in the machine, or a dry cleaner. Blocking knitwear back into the right shape and fit is achievable and effective with a steam iron. Simply press the garment back into the correct length and width with steam. If you’re a stickler for a fit like I am, it’s worth the extra time and effort. Note: a steamer does not block a garment effectively. You need a steam iron and ironing board for the best results.

  1. AIR-DRY WHAT YOU CAN

We have a tumble dryer, but do NOT use it for wardrobe items other than some underwear, some of my camisoles, some workout wear, socks and sleepwear. The rest of our clothing is hung out to air-dry in an empty closet or goes to the cleaners. That’s because I believe that dryers ruin the shape of your clothes, shrink the fit, discolour clothing, and wear out the fibres. The heat breaks down the elastic fibres in stretch fabrics, which makes the item bag out after a short wear. Do not tumble dry your clothes.

Over to you. Have you got any laundry tips to share?

Are Colors Innate or Learned?

In English the sky is blue, and the grass is green. But in Vietnamese, there is just one color category for both sky and grass: green. For decades cognitive scientists have pointed to such examples as evidence that language largely determines how we see color. But new research with four- to six-month-old infants indicates that long before we learn a language, we see up to five basic categories of hue—a finding that suggests a stronger biological component to color perception than previously thought.

The study, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, tested the color-discrimination abilities of more than 170 British infants. Researchers at the University of Sussex in England measured how long babies spent gazing at color swatches, a metric known as looking time. First, the team showed infants one swatch repeatedly until their looking time decreased—a sign they had grown bored with it. Then the researchers showed them a different swatch and noted their reaction. Longer looking times were interpreted to mean the babies considered the second swatch to be a new hue. Their cumulative responses showed that they distinguished among five colors: red, green, blue, purple and yellow.

The finding “suggests we’re all working from the same template,” explains lead author Alice Skelton, a doctoral student at Sussex. “You come prepackaged to make [color] distinctions, but given your culture and language, certain distinctions may or may not be used.” For instance, infants learning Vietnamese most likely see green and blue, even if their native language does not use distinct words for the two colors.

The study systematically probed infants’ color perception, revealing how we perceive colors before we have the words to describe them, says Angela M. Brown, an experimental psychologist at the Ohio State University’s College of Optometry, who was not involved with the new research. The results add a new wrinkle to the perennial nature-versus-nurture debate and the so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis—the idea that the way we see the world is shaped by language.

In future work, Skelton and her colleagues are interested in testing babies from other cultures. “The way language and culture interact is a really interesting question,” she says. “We don’t yet know the exact mechanisms, but we do know how we start off.”