this thing's incredible

I Can Wear My New Favorite Top to Work, Dinner, and Even the Beach

Photo: Courtesy of Everlane

You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.

When you’re an inveterate online shopper who opens emails from a gazillion different stores each day, it’s rare that a “new arrival” really stands out. Sure, I could see myself wearing that smart blue-and-white striped button-down (that looks exactly like the other six in my closet). Or that pair of red patent-leather sandals. Or that bag. But then a new email promoting a new item arrives, and the ongoing cycle stops most of these appealing things from moving from my in-box to my shopping cart.

The blouse, as pictured in the Everlane email. Photo: Courtesy of Everlane

Something about the email from Everlane introducing its Air Ruched Blouse was different, though. It spoke to me like no other email about a blouse had. Usually, I find Everlane’s tone grating (it seems to pander to people who call other people “humans” and use the word adulting), but this email had three words that I now know I’m powerless against: “Elegant cotton staples.” The model wearing the blouse was sitting on a concrete slab in a lawn that reminded me of the Noguchi Museum’s sculpture garden. I, too, could wear that blouse and look elegant in the Noguchi Museum sculpture garden, I thought. After realizing I needed it, I knew I couldn’t wait the four to seven business days for standard shipping, so I went to the store that same day.

I tried on the blouse in all of the available colors and patterns (black, olive green, and blue-and-white stripes), and was impressed by how little it looked like it was from Everlane. It’s not that I dislike Everlane, but as someone who loves simple clothing in stripes or neutral colors, I know how easy it would be to shop there often — and end up looking like everyone else who shops there often. But the Air Ruched Blouse felt unique. It has a flattering drawstring neckline that can be adjusted, and looks good tucked or untucked. The cotton of the shirt is airy, crisp, and, importantly, machine washable. It kind of looks like it could be from Totême, the Scandinavian retailer of very elegant-and-not-machine-washable clothing where I would buy the majority of my blouses if they didn’t each cost upwards of $300, or five of the Everlane blouses.

I promised myself I’d buy only one, but of course left with two: in black and olive (the blue-and-white striped shirt was a little too sheer). And knowing I did not spend the price of a domestic plane ticket on each shirt — and that I won’t have to pay to dry-clean them — I don’t mind wearing them … a lot. I’ve worn mine to the office, to meet friends for dinner at Popina in Brooklyn, to meet other friends for drinks at a dive bar, to stroll the Met — I could even see myself wearing it to the beach. And, of course, to visit the sculpture garden at the Noguchi Museum, where I can only hope I’ll look elegant when I do.

Everlane Air Ruched Blouse

Here’s the black one I bought.

Everlane Air Ruched Blouse

And the olive green.

Everlane Air Ruched Blouse

Lastly, the very subtly blue-and-white striped one that didn’t work for me — but might look great on you.

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I Can Wear My New Favorite Top to Work, Dinner, or the Beach