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Outfit Formula: The Bow Blouse

A bow blouse, sometimes called a tie top blouse, is a classic and feminine wardrobe staple that stands alone, or elevates an outfit as an elegant layer. 

And it’s the focus of today’s Outfit Formula. 

Key Piece: The Bow Blouse

From Left to RightBow Blouse, $68 | Bow Tie Silk Blouse, $199 | Tie Top Blouse, $89.50

There are several lovely options available this season for tie-top blouses, though once you are in the category, the selection becomes limited.

Meaning I was looking for a warm white or ivory color blouse, and had to sort through lots of color and various design details.

But I did come up with three that I could get behind. 

The first one is from Express since we have many readers who are fans of the store. It’s just under $70, available in XS-XL, and runs true to size. 

Next is a brand called Lilysilk, made with 100% Mullberry silk for anyone looking for more natural fabric options. Available in XXS – XXL for $119. 

Finally, this Tie Top Blouse is my personal pick.

It was a best-seller after we featured it early this month in our What to Buy at Ann Taylor and How to Wear it Feature. Available in regular and petite, in XXS – XXL. 

A note about plus sizes: I do an exhaustive search for sizes for every piece of content I publish. 

Sometimes, I hit the jackpot and can have recommendations in an inclusive size range; other times, like today, I came up with nothing.

And when I say nothing, I mean there is not a single plus size option I think is worth your money. 

So please trust that I am always looking and keep inclusivity of size top of mind. But I’m not going to make a recommendation for the sake of saying it’s inclusive. I need to maintain my integrity. 

I am not a retailer or manufacturer, so my options are as limited as the consumers.

That said, something like this Vince Camuto v-neck blouse with an inverted front pleat detail would be a nice alternative as the pleat mimics the line of the body, similar to how the tie helps create length. 

Ok, now let’s get into today’s formula.

Outfit Formula: The Bow Tie Blouse

white bow blouse with either a plaid blazer, dark jeans, tan booties, and gold hoops, or with a black and white cardigan, black straight pants, black shoulder bag, and black flats

Modern Wool Blazer, $270 | Straight Leg Jeans, $99 | Booties, $285 | Croissant Dôme Hoops, $78 | Cardigan Sweater, $128 | Straight Leg Pants, $98 | Flats, $248 | Shoulder Bag, $278 | Pearl Earrings, $155

Of course, you can wear this blouse on its own. But, depending on the sheerness, you might need a neutral-to-you cami underneath. 

But it shines as a layer, adding depth and visual interest, especially this time of year. 

I do not recommend creating a bow; it’s too fussy. Instead, tie it in a knot and let it hang. 

Outfit One: With Jeans

For our first outfit, we’re using the Modern Wool Blazer, featured in our Banana Republic roundupHappily, it’s still on sale for 40% off in regular and tall sizes from 0-20

I love how the blouse’s femininity contrasts with the blazer’s menswear feel. 

Pair with your favorite straight-leg jeans in a dark rinse wash and let them act like a pedestal, showing off your fall layers. 

Then, an ankle boot is perfect. Above, we’re showing the AGL suede boots, a more expensive option but still on sale at Nordstrom for 40% off

Have the hem of the jean over the top of the boot. 

For accessories, keep it simple with a pair of earrings. I’m using the Croissant Dôme Hoops from Mejuri.

They play into the traditional look of the outfit with a modern edge. 

Outfit Two: With Black Pants

Our second outfit uses the same formula with different elements, making a look ready for the office.

Instead of jeans, go-to black, straight-leg pants. We’ve featured many options over the past few weeks; you have your choice here.

Talbots makes a popular style, and so does Ann Taylor.

Above are J.Crew sizes 00 – 24 in classic, petite and tall

We’re keeping them clean and straight-legged to highlight the top, which is the gorgeous cardigan, also from J.Crew

I just received this as part of a big order I placed. I was “influenced” by a stylist I follow on TikTok and am pleased with it. I’ll show it on in an upcoming post. 

Available in XXS – XL with 30% off using code FALLFLASH. You can wear this with a thin tank underneath, or layer it over a tie-top blouse, leave it open, and let the tie hang in front. 

Then, to keep the ladylike vibe going, I used these earrings from Julie Vos – they are slightly oversized, so please note the measurements. 

Finally, a pair of work appropriate flats, in case you can’t do a heel.

These are from M.Gemi; readers rave about their comfort. A considered purchase, but they come highly recommended if you are looking for better quality over quantity. 

And don’t forget this Coach bag is on sale for 40% off at Nordstrom. I received mine yesterday, and I heard from several readers we are all thrilled with it, surprised by how lightweight it is, and excited to have a new, classic, everyday bag for fall.

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Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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Outfit Formula: The Bow Blouse

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Sandra Shaffer

Thursday 22nd of September 2022

Hi Megan I have gray hair and Ivory really washes me out and clashes with my hair, even when I was a brunette ivory washed me out. I love love the Ann Taylor bow blouse but I’m afraid of the color. Is it an obvious ivory or do you know of a white version?