блу́зка! the Kiev blouse, considered....

Kiev was once known as the Mother of Russian Cities and was the second most important city in the former USSR. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kiev became its capital. And from 1921 onwards Kiev was an important city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and, from 1934, its capital. It is now the capital of the independent nation of Ukraine. During all of this complicated and at times tragic history, Kievan ladies embroidered. 

When I think of Ukrainian embroidery, I think of beautiful and colorful stylized floral motifs. What a joyful addition to a summer wardrobe! So I was a touch disappointed with J.Crew's monochromatic "inspiration," but thought it might be worth trying on anyway.  Disappointment no. 1: It was too short to belt, too short to blouse gracefully if tucked in. Disappointment no. 2: Price point. Frankly, for this kind of money, I expect a garment to do more for me than just hang there.  I'm surprised to learn that it sold out "instantly," and I suspect that it may do the same appear/disappearing/popback "only a few smaller sizes in some of the stores" to "00 to 14" on the web routine that I observed in the Case of the Jeweled Jardin Jacket of recent memory.  

Nevertheless, still entranced by having something light and floaty and embroidered this summer, I did a fast google search for "embroidered Ukrainian blouses" and found a bunch at this linkhttp://vyshyvanka.com/Embroidery/Womens-Blouse/Ukrainian-Embroidered-Womens-Chiffon-Blouse-S-Wb208

I think the cut of the J.Crew version is more stylish (these look short, too), and have NO idea how the sizing runs on these imports (although J.Crew sizing can often be mysterious, too), but at the lower price, you wouldn't feel terrible if you got tired of it. 


  1. Southern Belle Ph.D.May 10, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    WFF, A bit off topic but I want to thank you for posting your comments during the last large rollout for JC. I usually find the Collection items scattered among the other sections on the website but that was not really the case last time. I did not realize it until you mentioned some specific COllection pieces and I began to look for them. I ordered the white linen vest and I LOVE it!!! Thank you for bringing it to my attention as I would have missed out otherwise. I am going to have so much fun dressing it up and down this Summer. It is truly a wonderful piece!

  2. I saw this blouse online when it was still called the Ukrainian blouse and passed it by. You can find tops like that in a number of places around here as there are several Ukrainian and Russian dance groups and a cultural society that are happy to sell their styles in local boutiques. Not really for me though, I mostly admire culture styles on others.

  3. SouthernBellePhD, glad you're enjoying the vest!

    xoxo, I agree - if someone wants a kurta or a piece of kente cloth or other cultural item, that's fine, but I'm happier if at least some of the cost of the garment makes it back to the home country. I was taken aback by the price of this piece.

  4. Is that a Eureka in the title (sometimes I can decypher cyrillic characters because of my ancient Greek)?

    Didn't notice this one. I don't know what's the price but it doesn't look very flattering, even with a reasonable price tag.
    I saw a popback of a jeweled jardin (that I proudly own) in the sale section a couple of weeks ago (in the $300), so I bet that the Kiev will make it too...

  5. WFF, I loved your review. I especially enjoyed the history lesson as my ancestors hail from that part of the world. I feel better about passing up this blouse ! You are right about color too or should I say total lack of color.

  6. Hi, Ema, yes, that's how my computer does Cyrillic, the capital B isn't so glorious. It's the Russian/Ukrainian word for shirt or blouse, which I will bravely transliterate as "Bloozhka." And I love my Jeweled Jardin too, in spite of (or maybe because of) the fights I had to go through to get it!

    Shekster, I'm thinking this is one of those items that started out as a great idea and fell into the hands of a production team.


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