blouse is generally used to define a "dressy" woman's shirt that buttons, but it initially referred to shirts that gathered at the waist and "bloused" over the body (fit loosely) and were worn by people of both genders. It is also used to refer to the jackets worn by members of the military.
11 months ago
Last edited at 12:31AM on 1/27/2013
I shirt could be anything aside from sweaters (long sleeve shirts, tank tops, tees, etc. are all "shirts") but a blouse is a specific kind of shirt. Usually (though not exclusively) with slightly poofed baby doll sleeves, buttons up the front, and NICE cotton or better fabric. Essentially, a blouse is a fancier version of a shirt.
I believe the dart patterns on each are different as are the pockets and buttons. A shirt may have started out as gender-neutral, but over the years has implied a business-like clothing style for men, while a blouse is a female version of a shirt geared towards business-style. Typically, buttons on the left indicate one sex, while buttons on the right denote the other. But I forget which is which.
Originally a man's shirt were called blouse. Back in the 1700's women wore dresses and the men wore blouses. They were over-sized and came down to the knees. They tucked the tails in and the blouse has the puff out effect.
Today the man's shirt has buttons on the right and the woman's blouse the buttons are on the left.