In my quest for staple silk blouses, I came across three options in petite sizing ranging from $88-$110:
I was looking for: casual fit but not sloppy, thinner silk with good drape, collar, preferably under $100, and no chest pocket flaps. Black or white color. It seems that almost every silk blouse out there has boxy chest pockets with flaps, which I feel distract from the clean lines of a silk blouse.
Out of the above, I'm fairly sure the AT and J.Crew versions will fit well in petite sizing. AT's price point with promos is more attractive and I prefer the discreet pockets and hidden buttons, but the colors I'm seeking are not offered there. The Nexx blouse was recommended by a reader, but I am wary of the "loose fit" description, larger pockets, and less-specific letter sizing (4 sizes to choose from versus 8 from AT/J.Crew). In the end, I decided to try a regular-sized option from Tinley Road which had the color I wanted, sans chest flaps, at a lower price than the above:
Tinley Road Silk Olivia Blouse (7 colors) in "Marshmallow," sz XS tucked in:
Fit: Trying on these regular XS blouses made me realize that as long as the silk has nice drape and the shoulders aren't redonculously wider than your natural shoulders, it will look "acceptable" after faking the fit. However, I'm just not sure I want to do that every time...
This blouse was about an inch too wide in the shoulders, was very flowy throughout the body and arms, and had sleeves designed for longer-limbed women. I also noticed the lower-placed chest pockets looked slightly saggy. It's a look that can work casually with jeans, but was too balloon-y when tucked into a higher-waisted skirt.
Sleeves that are slightly too long can look fine pushed or cuffed/rolled up, but those that are much too long will cause excessive fabric to bunch up all over the arms. They also bother me immensely when they fall out from under a blazer. My tailor charges $25 to shorten such sleeves, so that is a decent-sized cost to factor in.
Tinley Road Silk Olivia Blouse in "Peacoat"
Measurements: Size XS measures 15"across the shoulders, 24" long sleeves, 18" across the chest, 25-26" torso length. 5.5" across the sleeve when measured around the elbow. 4.25" wide pocket.
Quality & Options: I'm not an expert on silk, but I have seen and touched silk that was either way too sheer, or too stiff, or had too much sheen like prom taffeta. I was happy with the quality of this lightweight silk, and love the color options. Lastly, the price I feel is fair for 100% silk, and would be even better with one of Piperlime's occasional 20% off coupons.
Trying on the collarless option:
Tinley Road Silk Sophia Blouse (6 colors) in "barn red," sz XS
Verdict: Without much deliberation, I sent these back and will keep my eyes peeled for petite-sized options going forward. Since altering silk is slightly risky, I'd rather find something that fits better off the rack than pay for alterations. For those who wear regular sizing, this is a good alternative to the popular J.Crew blouse.
Readers - Do you have any classic silk blouse suggestions other than the ones mentioned above?