I'm excited to report the black notched-collar linen blouse I risked $9 on eBay for came in the mail and it is perfect.
Well, it reeked of perfume and was all creased up crazy when it arrived, but I threw it in the wash, tumble dried for about 10 or 15 minutes, then laid it flat and pressed the collar down how I wanted it.
NOW it's perfect!
It fits well, the collar is all pointy and big, and the fabric is nice and lightweight but not flimsy. I was worried it would be overly crisp, but after the wash it's softened nicely. I don't plan on pressing it (because linen doesn't stay pressed anyway, amiright?) and welcome the rumples.
Over the past two months, I swear I've looked at 1000 potential vintage and secondhand blouses, searching high and low for the holy grail of dupes for the one that got away. Esty, eBay, Poshmark, even real brick and mortar thrift stores and vintage shops. Endless combinations of keywords like black, linen, collar, blouse. When I found this one on eBay last weekend, it was hard to tell if it would work out. Here's what the photo looked like:
Not a whole lotta detail. But I put my powers of photoshop to work, jacked up the levels, and saw the hint of an outline of an exaggerated collar. Yes! And 100% linen. And my size. It was the closest thing I'd found to the dream blouse yet. It was even better than the dream blouse. It was the dream blouse. Maybe.
While the photos were godawful, it was probably one of those things that work in your favor, like when you're looking for an apartment or a house and the listing photos suck so no one goes to look at it, but you go anyway and that shit has really good bones!
Then you get a deal because no one else gave it a chance.
It listed for $15, with free shipping. I offered $9. Accepted.
After looking at so many options, I jumped at the opportunity to just try something out, and at such a low price I thought, why not. It's like, the cost of one average lunch out on a weekday in Midtown — before tip. I'd invested so much time already that it was a small price to pay if it didn't end up working out for whatever reason.
But here it is, and it's just what I hoped for.
The sleeves, pocket, and collar edges all have fine stitched detailing. I don't know what this kind of lace is called, but it's like just barely having the hems tacked on — really subtle but pretty.
And I didn't notice this in the listing photo, but it does have a chest pocket, which I didn't think I'd want but that blends in nicely and kind of adds a nice detail. I won't be removing it.
I will however probably chop off three inches or so. It's overly long for tucking in, which is how I plan to wear it mostly. If I were going to untuck it I'd want a more cropped version, which is why now I'm entertaining the idea of adding another blouse similar in construction and fabric but cropped.
Bonus feature: pairing it with the bel skirt gives a shirtdress look, which saves me from having to add a shirtdress to my closet.
Most of all, I'm really reveling in the idea that I saved $49 by NOT buying the new thing. Or $201 if I'm counting from the First Rite blouse! And now I've found it's quite fun to hunt down vintage dupes of different garments that I like but can't quite afford. It really opens you up to lots of fun, unique options.
So the moral is... secondhand doesn't have to mean second choice. If you have to have it, if you're lusting after a new fancy thing, maybe you can find a similar thing that's already been used for a while, something that is looking to get used even more.
I want to continue making this effort to look for secondhand options before buying new. Honestly, the idea of buying new starts to get really unappealing the more you find you can buy used for less money but just as much quality. If you are considering a purchase, would you look for something secondhand before considering something new?