Yesterday I mentioned a lucky find: a Veronique Branquinho silk and silk chiffon blouse in good condition (apart from a detaching hook from the hook-and-eye closures down the opening. Easily repairable with some fine thread and five minutes).
The blouse is lovely; constructed with really interesting details like a quilted silk bib front and back, silk "patches" at the elbows, and reinforcements of silk along the armholes. The high neck with its banded collar is vaguely puritanical, but the depth of the front opening is quite naughty indeed, enough so to make this blouse challenging to wear--and why, I believe, it wound up in a charity shop.
A Frenchwoman could wear this, wonderfully, with an absolutely gorgeous Aubade (or whatever) bra blatantly on display through the front opening. I've seen women doing this in broad daylight on the streets of Paris--somehow they have the gift for keeping it on the sexy side of the tart-o-meter, most likely because both blouse and bra cost a small fortune.
Similarly, An aspiring model with a gangly figure could wear it plunging low with no bra at all, and Carine Roitfeld would book her instantly for editorial.
Being from neither of these talent pools, I must find a more sensible way around the problem of my sternum, which unfortunately doesn't merit this sort of display. One alternative when faced with a plunging neckline is to cover the skin with a bib-like necklace, or tier upon tier of like beads or pearls.
Even more simply, one could layer a lacy cami or sheer skimpy tank/singlet underneath. With a blouse this arty, it pays to be artful in the way one wears it.