Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
I love button-down shirts and consider them a crucial part of my daily “uniform” — they’re exactly the right balance of comfortable and put-together, and I have around a dozen of them that I pair with basically everything in my wardrobe.
But unfortunately, they’re pretty tough to wear in the summer because, you know, long sleeves and unbreathable fabric and all that. Also, because of the shape and business connotations, they sometimes make me look a bit uptight — something I do not need to exaggerate about myself any more than is already painfully obvious.
Thanks to a promo email from J.Crew Factory, I found the ideal summer version of my favorite shirt: the white linen blouse. The fit hugs my torso where it counts but doesn’t suffocate me, with just the right amount of shape to be flattering and sheer enough to show some skin (read: I don’t look like a cranky businesswoman.) And the fabric is light enough that I don’t sweat to death in the summer heat.
It’s also wildly versatile; I recently wore it all over the Italian countryside on my honeymoon — tied up with high-waisted shorts and Keds for walking tours, paired with a skirt and lace bralette for romantic dinners, unbuttoned over my bathing suit for a beach day, and tucked into jeans for flights with excessive air conditioning — all of which is to say I was able to cut back on valuable luggage space that I wanted for souvenirs. To make a long story short (too late), it goes with everything.
To be honest, I’d pay far more for this shirt, but I’m relieved that it’s only $39.99 because I stained mine with balsamic vinaigrette on the aforementioned honeymoon and have to order another.