cheap and cheerful

Everyone Needs a Hero Blouse

Cheap and Cheerful is a weekly column that highlights the chicest inexpensive finds. Because nothing’s more satisfying than looking good while spending less.

Even if you’ve never heard the term “hero blouse” before, you’re probably familiar with the concept. It’s a shirt with so much personality that it makes your entire outfit. Think of it as a grown-up, modern take on the going-out top.

Whether it’s festooned with bows, slashed with cut-outs, or covered in ruffles, a hero blouse is incredibly easy to style. Just throw on jeans and voilà, you’re fashionable. (Though if you want to be street-style bait, feel free to add striking earrings or a colorful block heel.) Scroll down to shop our favorites.

The Autumnal Option

Stelen Valley Top
$58 at Need Supply

The deep marigold hue is perfect for fall.

The Breezy One

Back-Tie Top
$36 at Zara

Flowy fabric and an exposed back to keep you cool on hot days.

The Pilgrim-Sleeved Blouse

Style Mafia Bluebell Blouse
$64 at Shopbop

Pilgrim-esque puff sleeves have been making the rounds in collections from Tibi and Creatures of Comfort. Here’s a more affordable option.

The Fashion-y Take on Off-the-Shoulder Tops

Off-Shoulder White Shirt
$71 at Genuine People

If you’re sick of the off-the-shoulder look, try this deconstructed button-down.

A Two-for-One Trendy Top

One-Shoulder Ruffle Blouse
Sale Price: $34 (30 percent off) at H&M

Red and ruffles: both hot right now.

The Fancy Work Blouse

Stelen Tie-Sleeve Top
$58 at Need Supply

The little sliver of shoulder and the subtle tie makes this feel fresh.

The Edgy Yet Feminine Blouse

Frill Blouse
$85 at & Other Stories

The color is almost too sweet, but it’ll make for a cool contrast paired with leather pants or a structured miniskirt.

The Affordable Designer Dupe

Stylekeepers Look of Love Top
$118 at Shopbop

This top is a riff on Self-Portrait’s blue-striped blouse, which is four times the price and sold out nearly everywhere.

For the Woman Who Is Never Cold

Bow-Tie Sleeve Shirt
$50 at H&M

It’s going to be impossible to get a coat over those four large bows, but if you’re warm-blooded, you can buy this and look cool all fall.

The Dressy Mockneck

Silver Satin Ruched Top
$99 at Pixie Market

Silver satin and ruched sleeves — for when you want to feel fancy.

The Elevated Button-Down

Kika Top
$120 at Lisa Says Gah

If the tie is too dramatic for your office, wrap it around twice to shorten it at the waist.

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Everyone Needs a Hero Blouse