Old lady tops, hot or not?

I’m pretty sure my grandma wore variations of each of these tops with white polyester pants back in the eighties. Anthro seems to be pushing the look pretty hard, it’s just that I have yet to see something like this actually walking down the street on a real person. Is this back? If it is, I’m thinking it might look really nice in one of these two fabrics of mine:


What say ye?

68 thoughts on “Old lady tops, hot or not?

  1. I’ve had something like the first one in plain cream knit from Target for years & it’s totally cute for work! So I say yes with the funky fabric!

  2. The bow tops are in all the magazines too. I don’t know if I can get on board. Some are better than others, like the first and last ones you posted. The second one, I see an old lady from the early 80s wearing it. It can work if the silhouette is modern or body conscious. I do like the fabric you have shown and would love to see what you do.

  3. You could totally rock this look! Do it! I think it’s cute if styled properly (i.e. no tan colored polyester pants and Aerosole shoes).

  4. I have never been a fan of the tie at the neck. I’d rather wear a beautiful necklace! That being said, I love the first top (minus the tie). I’m really drawn to the detail at the shoulders and the lovely shape of the neck. And I have surprised myself at really falling for the last stripped top, tie and all!

  5. these actually look super cute with pencil skirts. blousier top, fitted bottom – very secretary chic. do it! just don’t pair it with polyester slacks and grandma sandals.

  6. I like the first one and really like the last one. The other 2 say grandma just a big louder then I could wear.

  7. Hey Rae! I love these new retro tops! I love the last one so much that I made my own version of it using a thrifted shirt. Here’s a link if you are interested in seeing what I did.

  8. Ooh, I love the fabric on the left. I have definitely started to see women here in southern California wearing these tops, especially with high waist shorts or jeans. I like the look but it wouldn’t work for me.

  9. The long-sleeve one looks a bit too Granny for me, but I like the others (and LOVE the last one). Isn’t there a theory than when there are economic woes, people dress more conservatively? Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  10. I have a shirt like the last one, and I love it with some skinny jeans or well tailored dress pants. I love the multi color fabric with navy background for one of these shirts.

  11. Considering that I own tops very similar to two of the ones you posted, I’m going to have to go with ‘hot’!

    Have you seen this: http://liliash.blogspot.com/2011/08/blue-period.html

    I think it really comes down to the fabric. One of mine is black silk, and it’s fantastic for when I want to look hot while going out without having to think about it. The other is a thrifted find in dark teal, but it’s a sueded polyester and I haven’t quite made my mind up about it.

  12. I love them and think those two fabrics would work nicely! Anthro is also pushing those full,, floor length skirts…I think that’s a no.

  13. I think they’re wonderful actually, but I agree it depends on what you pair them with. I think you could totally pull off a top like that with a more modern skirt or pant and some awesome accessories.Really…you should go for it!

  14. I should give a disclaimer that I don’t remember the early 80s particularly well (okay, really not at all), but I loooove the bows. I think tops like this are a nice way of dressing up jeans or other plain pants, and I like how the bows add interest without adding another fabric or pattern, which I personally find difficult to pull off. I am so in love with the green polka-dot fabric on the long-sleeved anthro blouse.

  15. It’s such a great, lady-like look… DEFINITELY DO IT!! I have a fitted shirt with the bow tie and I feel great wearing it…. maybe i think I feel like a secretary when I’m just a SAHM… hehe… go for it, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
    And happy birthday too! πŸ™‚

  16. i live in NYC, these are totally hot on the young ones if you do it up right. just dont wear them with your cropped lands end khakis and sneakers.

  17. I like the first one and love the last one. I really like the stripe fabric. I like your fabrics too but the stripe is awesome! Go for it!

  18. I was apprehensive when I wore my first old lady tie blouse about two years ago, but I got compliments on it ALL DAY LONG. I usually wear them with pencil skirts or circle skirts, but I’m a teacher, so I can get away with the prim schoolmarm look pretty easily. πŸ™‚ Do it!!!

  19. I LOVE all of these! I’m not a huge jewelry wearer so a little bow on a shirt is perfect for making an outfit seem a little dressier!

  20. I love them! I think the key to making them look not old ladyish is to pair them with something young, like skinny jeans, short shorts, or a messy up-do.

  21. I like them all but the long-sleeved one, BUT – the right person could totally pull it off. I guess it all depends on who’s wearing them and how they dress it.

  22. These are very fashionable over here in England worn with straight skirts and very, very high heels!

  23. I love the third and fourth tops, I think they’d look great in your fabric. I’m struggling with the first two, but it’s sometimes hard to “see” something in a different fabric in my mind – I think they might benefit from a more nipped in waist

  24. I love the first one and fourth one. The last one with some skinny jeans and flats makes me think Audrey Hepburn, and not 80s grandma. I’m sure you could rock it!

  25. I love the 4th one! The 1st one would be fun with the right fabric. I vote for those 2. They could be young and fun and not remind me of my grandmas.

  26. I’m with Zoe B! I am in love with 1, 3 and 4!! especially 4!!!! I actually scour the thrift /consignment shops for shirts like these to add to my “vintage” collection.
    #3 is a lil “original early 80’s”….. BUT: i think it could work with an amazing pair of grey/blue/burnt orange– high-wasted–wide leg slacks. OH! i could just see it now!
    I’m still very very novice to this sewing game… but I must say I love your blog! So please…
    Like Zoe B, please make and post a tutorial????!!!
    P.S.: The fabrics you have lined up for these shirts are PERFECTION!!!

  27. Good grief, it’s been a while since I’ve caught up on all my blogsβ€”love your new layout! I also love the top and bottom blouses you’ve posted and have seen some similar ones popping up on folks commuting on the T lately so they definitely seem to be catching on…thankfully with less ruffles than the 80’s was pushing πŸ™‚

  28. Ok, I like some of the stylings (especially the yellow one) but I just don’t think I could rock the neck tie. It makes me think of my grandparents’ clothes too much, and not in the fun, vintage kind of way.

  29. Yeah the middle two look old lady like. Too much so. I love the fluttery ruffle sleeve on the first one though.

  30. I say yes! And definitely when you are “our age” (I just turned 34 yesterday!) and don’t have those young tight stomachs (just had my second child in February) anymore. They are feminine, flirty and hide all the imperfections we think we have. I hope you make something and post pictures!

    Happy to have found your blog! Happy belated birthday!


  31. I LOVE…(and I’m 34 on Saturday and live in MI) I picture these with skinny jeans and boots for fall or straight legs and boots/heels….Depends on whether I’m having a “skinny jean melt down” or “i’m looking hot in these today” moment….:) I love your fabric, I would definitely rock it…If you make it without the tie arnd the neck I would pair with super chunky necklace..

  32. I say hot! I’ve been wearing numbers like this for a few years especially #s 1 and 4. πŸ™‚ I think these look adorable! Go for it, (you should post a tutroial πŸ˜‰ hint hint)

  33. Love the first look and the green and white strip. Not a fan of the long arms. The three-quarter length arms, maybe. I think it’s all about the sleeve apparently! I like the way the tie looks on the mannequins, but I could see having trouble getting it to lay right on my actual body.

  34. Heck yes – put the old lady top with a pencil/bandage skirt and high heels. I am currently making an old lady dress – it looks like an old house dress from the 30’s. I’m wearing it to work. Kerry

  35. I was just thinking about this style of tops this morning and whether I should be sewing myself one! I am a little mixed on them…some are too ’80s for me, but some are really cute when styled appropriately. I very much like the green and white striped one you posted.

  36. Love the first and last but the middle two? Not so much. I know this look is all the rage but I think it looks better in Anthro catalogues than it does on real people. But I am old enough to remember wearing them in the 80’s so I guess that’s why (know the saying – ‘if you wore it the first time around, you can’t wear it the second time’? true words!).

  37. Great classic styles, but drop the ties around the neck! You could add a tie on the top of shoulder and let the tie ends flow (to gather the shoulder gently) or bottom of sleeve depending on the length or shortness of the sleeve.
    I do not know if you have a good looking neck or short to non-existent like mine. I am biased. I hated the ties then and still do. My mother-in-law made it a practice to buy one for me ands the other daughter-in-law every gift giving occasion. She was 6″1″ in flats and I was 5′:2 1/2″. The other lady was 5’1″. Neither of us had a neck so to speak!

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