Now, let's establish something first: I don't think that blouses are necessarily the most exciting staple in your wardrobe as they can look incredibly dowdy if they are badly cut or styled the wrong way. However, throw some silk into the mix and a rather bland basic is suddenly transformed into a covetable must-have. Real silk is not only incredibly soft and light, but also drapes beautifully and feels comfortable in any weather (if you've ever worn a polyester top on a hot summer day, you know that not every fabric is quite as sweat-proof as silk).
Silk is one of the most expensive fibres, but in return it elevates any look and brings a dash of luxury to your outfit. If you want to invest in a silk item, I would choose a silk blouse because it's extremely versatile – read on for ideas on how to style it.
The "I mean business" look
Sometimes, you just want to be a woman who kicks ass. Figuratively speaking, of course! If you find yourself in that mood, it certainly helps to look the part, so for your next important meeting, choose a high-quality silk blouse in black or nude with a neutral top underneath. Since you are not going for a 50s Miss Moneypenny look (remember, you want to come across as powerful as possible), leave the skirt aside for this one and pair with slim-fitting, well-cut trousers and heels. Booyah.
The preppy daytime look
I haven't grown up in England and always envied my friends who could wear school uniforms when they were younger. Maybe that's why this kind of goody-goody look (see photo above) appeals so much to me. I chose a silk blouse in a rich jewel tone and clashed it with a bright orange dress by Banana Republic (available here). A simple pair of brogues by Asos rounds of the outfit and completes the clean-cut vibe.
The evening look
My favourite! You know the spiel: transparency plus lace equals seduction. If you want to impress tonight, pair a sheer blouse with a lacy bralet or camisole underneath and tuck the blouse into cigarette trousers or a slim-fitting skirt. Don't forget the lipstick! For a slightly rockier version, wear with faux leather trousers or, even better, black tailored shorts and platform sandals.
The festival look
Silk blouses have a sense of humour too, you know! It doesn't have to be all that serious. If you prefer a hippie chick, boho look, tie your blouse (ideally with a pretty print) at the waist and wear with high-waisted jeans or denim shorts. Accessorise with lots of dainty jewelry and a cross-shoulder bag.
The artsy look
Going to a gallery opening or something similar fancy? Then you can go all out and make impact with a pyjama-style silk blouse and matching trousers (Warehouse is your best bet for this). The ensemble should be anything but monochrome – choose a style with florals, a graphic pattern or any other interesting print. Finish off with strappy sandals so you don't look like you are ACTUALLY wearing a pyjama. Easy.
How to care for silk:
You got your outfit aced, but how to wash silk items and make sure they stay nice? I recommend hand-washing your blouse with a special detergent for delicates in cold or tepid water and drying it flat. A second rinse in cold water with a dash of vinegar keeps the silk shiny, and always iron before wearing. A bit of a mission, yes, but so worth it to keep the item looking smart.