The Meaning Behind “Pussy Bow Blouse” & Other Wardrobe Staples

In light of the conversation sparked by Melania Trump's recent debate-night outfit, we're revisiting the history of some of our favorite wardrobe staples — including the pussy-bow blouse. Read on to learn the meaning behind the names of some of the most-worn clothing items.
This story was originally published on November 18, 2015.
We put a lot of thought into what we wear — whether it's from a styling perspective, or a will-this-outfit-get-me-through-everything-I-have-to-deal-with-today one. Yet, while we throw around the names of our clothing items (Where ARE my jeans? Does this oxford top match?) as often as we throw on the pieces themselves, we hardly ever stop to think how weird some of the nomenclature actually is. Like, where does the word "denim" actually come from, and when did we start using it? And what's the story is behind your sensible cardigan?
With a little digging, you'll soon learn that every staple in your closet has quite the backstory. To get a serious lesson in style, we asked Patrick Hughes, fashion historian at the Parsons School of Design, and Rebecca Kelly, adjunct instructor in the department of art history and museum professions at FIT, to help us see our closets through a historical lens. So read on; class is officially in session.

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