The Hunt: White Ruffled Blouses

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Maybe it’s just me, but the ruffled white blouse is everywhere this season. Yes, yes, there are lots of pirate/Labyrinth jokes to be made, but this is something that you will be seeing a ton of this summer and probably on into winter. So I thought we’d round up some of the best out there, in a range of prices. First, let’s check out some of the higher-end things for inspiration:

Love the cap sleeves, close fit, and origami-like ruffles.  It’s available at Neiman Marcus for $890. Carolina Herrera Pleated Tie-Neck Blouse
This one has more of a Latin flamenco-dancer type feel to it — note the multiple ruffles on the placket.  I like that the sleeves are kept very simple, but still wish they had given them regular cuffs.  Escada White Ruffle Front Blouse, available at Bloomingdale’s for $695.
I like the floaty quality to the crepe de chine here, the wispy ruffled collar, and the fact that it’s both a tie and a blouse. This one was $690 at Saks, but is now on sale for $414. Oscar de la Renta Ruffle Front Sleeveless Blouse

Now for the more affordable ones — I think that in general, the more fitted the blouse is, and the “looser” the ruffles, (nothing overly crisp or clown-like) the better the blouse looks for the office. And even though I generally dislike tucking blouses, they do generally look so much better when tucked. I’d wear any of these under a blazer or even a cardigan for the office, paired with a clean, classic bottom, such as a pencil skirt or a pair of trousers. I’d avoid girly accessories and matches to this — an A-line skirt, a pink cardigan, etc. would all make it overly feminine for the office, in my opinion.

This one is nearly sold out at Neiman Marcus (sizes 10-14 are all that’s left), but given the fact that it’s Magaschoni and on sale that’s not bad. Love the darts and the puffed shoulders, and like the crispness of the collar versus the looseness of the ruffles. Was $220, now $77. Magaschoni Ruffle-Front Cap-Sleeve Blouse
This blouse (which we’ve featured before in the darker print version) is gorgeous — and available in Petite and Woman sizes. I like that the ruffles go all the way down to the waistband, and like the relaxed look to the V-neck collar (although I do see a top button, so you can fasten it all the way to your neck if you desire). The slight puff to the sleeves looks lovely, also. It’s $79.50 at Ralph Lauren. Loryna Cotton Ruffled Blouse
This blouse is one of my favorites, actually, even though it’s more of a tan than a white.  I like the small origami-type ruffles and the long cuffs, as well as the fact that the blouse is stretch.  This was $99, now $59.40 at Dillards (limited sizes available). Antonio Melani “Delores” Blouse
LOFT’s website is momentarily down, but I like the look of this ruffle blouse. Compared to the other blouses, this has much smaller ruffles on the collar and placket — and it’s a nice way to sample the trend in a safe way. It’s $44.50 at LOFT (in regular and petites). Favorite Ruffle Blouse
Finally:  I like this sleeveless number from The Limited.  I like the darts and the cascading ruffles, and the round jewel neckline looks flattering and work appropriate.  The blouse is $44.90 at The Limited (available in white, green, and yellow). Mixed Ruffle Sleeveless Top

Readers, which of the ruffled blouses is your favorite? (If you’ve seen another one that’s still for sale, please share it in the comments!) What do you think of wearing them for the office?

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  1. I like the Limited one the most. I’ve bought and returned the one from the Loft. It was cut too low so I’d have to wear a cami.

  2. I find all of them pretty but not for me. I am too “busty” to add ruffles, it would make me look like a wench at a Renn Faire!

  3. I dunno, reminds me an awful lot of the “puffy shirt” from Seinfeld . . .

  4. I love these and am so glad you did this. I just went to buy the Ralph Lauren one without realizing it only comes in petite (guess I wasn’t reading closely enough). Now I need to reexamine the others and see which one I want.

    • oh — sorry, my link went to the wrong place. it comes in regular, petites, and woman sizes. off to edit it…

  5. Awful Lawful :

    I love me a white ruffled blouse. I have a problem with most white button front shirts where you can see my bra through them, even if the bra is beige (I’m very pale FWIW). Does anyone else have this problem? It may be because most of my white blouses are poorer quality and perhaps I may need to invest in a better quality white blouse.

    • Lately, some commenters have suggested a very pale pink as a “nude for you” option. I have a yellow-ish tint to my skin so the pink wouldn’t work for me but it’s a great tip!

    • Assuming that the blouse is cut high enough, I will often wear a thin cotton v-neck in white or nude under my button-ups (just like a man would wear an undershirt). If it’s thin enough, it doesn’t add any bulk to speak of, and it eliminates show through.

      An added bonus is that I can go longer between cleanings, because the button-up is not directly against my skin :)

  6. I love a ruffled blouse in general, and a white one in particular. I have a few white cotton ones that I wear quite regularly, and a number of others in various fabrics and colors. However, if you are someone that doesnt want to have to get stuff dry cleaned, I wouldnt recommend them — they simply cannot be ironed properly.

  7. Aren’t ruffled tops in general not a friend to bustier women? On women with a smaller bust, they look great. Very summery.

  8. The all white outfit is gorgeous!


  9. PSA – I checked out Nordies online over the weekend and also NM/Saks . Realised that a lot of items on the Nordies sale are cheaper on the NM site … maybe worth checking out. (I do not work for NM and have no connection to them..:)

    @SFBay Assoc: If I’m not mistaken, your Tory Burch Vanessa dress was cheaper at NM too…. I remember you raving about it….(or was it someone else?)

  10. Actually I prefer shirts where the collar is a bit ornate…folded etc, rather than a cascade of ruffles – particularly loathe the Escada one.

    Boss Black has a couple of good ones at Saks but my size is sold out:(

  11. Liz (Europe) :

    Love the look, absolutely hate how once you’ve washed them once they’ll never look pristinely ironed again, plus, yeah, not a friend of the busty.

  12. Love me a white ruffle blouse (wore one today in fact, and got several compliments – yay!)

    I am busty (36D), and I find the key for me is to look for ruffles that lie flatter to the body when viewed in profile…I get all my ruffly girliness, but it’s not a “bust-explosion” situation.

    Alternatively, if I want to wear a fuller ruffle 9I ahve one Ralph Lauren shirt like that that I love), I wear it with a suit with at least two buttons to “contain” the ruffle over the bust.

    Paramount (for me at least) is making sure the blouse is nicely dry-cleaned, and pairing it with trim, tailored, not overly feminine accessories (today it was a navy skirt suit, black pumps, pearl and diamond studs, and a red handbag). Wearing my hair up helps as well :)

    • I love them, too. In addition to flatter ruffles, it’s also helpful when the ruffles fall in the “valley” between your breasts like they do in the Antonio Melani “Delores” blouse that Kat posted.

      I can’t find it on the Express site anymore, but several women from the Thirty Two D forum on Livejournal had excellent luck with a ruffled faux button-down from Express recently. (

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