Item: Topshop Burgundy Multi-Panel Blouse
Appearance: The Caretaker
Combined with: Topshop A-Line Tapestry Skirt, Ladybird Likes Moon Wooden Collar Clips, Dune Bertie Astor Black Lace Up Wingtip Block Heels.
Original Retail Price: unknown
Materials: 100% polyester
After three and a half years of cosplaying Clara Oswald, it is usually the rare items that are still missing in my collection, but only recently, I acquired the Topshop Burgundy Multi-Panel Blouse from the Caretaker that is neither rare nor particularly expensive. The reason it took me so long to buy it was mainly that I had a good alt and that I refused to spend a lot of money on the SA, so I bided my time until a good deal came along. And it did.
The Caretaker outfit is one of Clara’s most iconic looks and fortunately for cosplayers, it’s also one that is easily and assembled even if you’re on a budget. The skirt is a little easier to find than the blouse, but there is usually one to be found on Depop (or Vinted or eBay). Even if you miss out on it, there will be another one sooner rather than later. I’ve had many chances to buy this blouse over the years, but since I had a good enough alt, I wasn’t in a particular hurry because I knew that the Topshop Multi-Panel Blouse is a very common item that just keeps coming back.
The price of this blouse is also usually cosplayer-friendly and I’ve seen them sell for £4 – £20 if the seller wasn’t aware that it was a cosplay item. If you’re buying from a cosplayer, the blouse can be a little more expensive, but – and I cannot stress this enough – there are people out there who are buying cheap and selling for more in an attempt to rip off cosplayers, so be careful who you buy it from. If the person is a fellow cosplayer, they likely spent more money on it in the first place, but if it’s a person who even sells multiple sizes of the same blouse, it’s a professional reseller. Please, for your own sake, try to avoid these resellers because you’re certain to find the blouse cheaper if you just wait another month or two.
As for the sizing of this blouse, I’ve heard different cosplayers say different things. Some said that the blouse was quite large, others said it ran small, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to believe. I ended up buying a UK6, which is my regular size for blouses in most shops and it fits me like a dream. Usually, Topshop clothes run quite small, so I guess in Topshop terms it runs big, but compared to the majority of shops, it’s an item that’s true to size. I’d advise you to stick to the size you usually wear and I’m sure it will fit.
There isn’t much else I can say about the blouse because it’s quite a standard item that doesn’t really stand out for any particular qualities, good or bad. It’s made of 100% polyester and, for the most part, it’s sheer, so these parts will be fragile when snagged.
Since I’ve mentioned my alt, I want to say a few words about the differences between the SA and the alt so you can better tell them apart. Firstly, there is a slight difference in colour. The alt is a slightly warmer tone than the SA Topshop Burgundy Multi-Panel Blouse and since I’m talking about panels, the alt has only one and it only covers the chest whereas the SA Blouse has two panels that go all the way around the back. The alt also has a gold button and a patch on the upper arm (even though most cosplayers will have cut those off). At first sight, they look very similar, especially since the blouse’s second panel is always hidden under the skirt, but once you pay attention to those details, telling them apart will not be a problem.
Overall, it’s a very pretty blouse to have in your wardrobe, not just because it completes a cosplay outfit. Because of the pretty colour and the elegant look, the blouse is also very suitable as office wear or for a fancy event. Because of the colour, it should probably be washed separately or with similar colours to avoid bleeding. After the wash, the light fabric dries within an hour.
Clara Oswald’s Topshop Burgundy Multi-Panel Blouse is an easy-to-find item that doesn’t break the bank, so it’s very suitable for hardcore collectors as well as cosplayer beginners.