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Blouses: Not Just for the Office Anymore

Last weekend our editors scoped out the street style at Afropunk, Brooklyn's end-of-summer black-centric music festival, where they found a sea of colorful 'fros and incredible prints, including this paint swatch one that is all I've ever wanted to wear. Plus, internet darling Arabelle Sicardi on the surprisingly religious and contentious history of perfume.  

Both of those are below — but first up, the non-work work shirts that you're gonna be buying for fall. Which exaggerated style is your fav? Tell us on Twitter

Reinventing the Boring Blouse
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Story by Tiffany Yanetta, Photos by Joe Harper

This spring and summer, button-down blouses (like every other top) got an off-the-shoulder update. The trend’s sticking around for fall, along with other add-ons like exaggerated cuffs, dramatic necklines (both very high and very low), and Edwardian sleeves.

The TL;DR is that Net-a-Porter is stocking this look in spades from Gucci, Isabel Marant, Self-Portrait, and plenty more. Below, a handful of ways to turn arguably the most boring category of clothing — the blouse — into something fun, as seen on the streets of Oslo’s Fashion Week.

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Similar styles: Tibi’s off-the-shoulder striped top, $375; Zara off-the-shoulder poplin top, $29.90; Uniforme Jenna off-the-shoulder top, $325.

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Similar styles: Vanessa Seward crepe blouse, $485; Elizabeth and James Landon chiffon blouse, $295; Babaton Adrian blouse, $49.99.

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Similar styles: Isabel Marant Skara cotton-poplin blouse, $480; Joie Elkton top, $268.

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Similar styles: Jil Sander Bus blouse, $450; Everlane Japanese oxford bib top, $68; Jacquemus off-the-shoulder top, $380.

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Similar styles: Suno trumpet sleeve cotton top, $395; Theory Lexanda cotton top, $265; & Other Stories Trumpet V-neck top, $85.

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Similar styles: H&M long cotton shirt, $29.99; Everlane relaxed poplin shirt, $65.

Perfume, Power, and God
Inside the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

My first connection to smell was the smell of holy water and sacrament, the second was the smell of my mother’s Buddhist temple. Fragrance has always been next to holiness to me, in different ways — my casual visits to Churches and my hours in temples. I thought my nose was broken everywhere else: I couldn’t smell food, it held no memory, but I could divine the smell of Gods. They smelled to me like incense and still water.

Historically, this goes against the grain of what God smells like to his number one fan club, monks. For monks, it was shit that meant sanctity; filth was the fragrance of holiness, the spiritual symbol of suffering. A declaration of physical filth corresponded to moral cleanliness, so holy men radiated poo with holy force. If they didn’t smell like shit, they smelled close to it — they smelled like musk, civet from animal testes. Musk was so popular that in Imperial Rome in the fourth century that Saint Jerome restricted his flock from wearing it. The symbolism between musk and righteousness continued on for centuries, stretching different countries and touching everyone from kings to anarchists. When the French Revolution bloomed, the Muscadins adopted it with glorious force — giving them their nickname, translation: "wearing musk perfume."

Musk became an act of anarchy, an invisible monument to violence — and betrayal, since the Muscadins were part of a plot to tamp down the revolution. The Muscadins were not for democracy, to be clear: they were primarily middle class, well to do who were quietly supported by the government, who saw them as tools to beat the poor and working class Jacobins. Their perfume was a sign of their superiority. The ego of their beauty regimens made hunting them much easier. Perfume made you lose your head, forced you to face God sooner.

I’m fascinated by this connection between god and perfume and power. What’s the power of smell and how is it linked to politics?

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