#SareeTwitter is Cool, But Let’s Appreciate The Sexy Blouse Too?
A sari-inspired gown by Mapxenca; a Moroccan blue 1920s flapper inspired top by Madsam Tinzin; and a fringe blouse by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.
A sari-inspired gown by Mapxenca; a Moroccan blue 1920s flapper inspired top by Madsam Tinzin; and a fringe blouse by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.(Photo: The Quint)

#SareeTwitter is Cool, But Let’s Appreciate The Sexy Blouse Too?

Over the past few days, #sareetwitter has taken over Twitter, with desi women sharing gorgeous pictures of themselves in sarees. But in this digital celebration of the saree, is the humble blouse feeling left out?

Blouse: No More A Sautela Bhai!

Halters, straps, off-shoulders, we’ve lost count of the different types of blouses that have entered the marketplace in the past decade alone. But here’s the thing: a blouse is not a passive player in the sari game. It’s got history, economics, sociology all weaved into its being. The evolution of the humble blouse: from being a seedha baccha to a real wild child post the 90s liberalisation is indeed fascinating.

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How the Economic Boom Brought Out the Sexiness in Blouses

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Now, fashion borrows directly from society, and as some have argued, also from the economy. Post the 90s, as our economy boomed, the blouse became shorter and sexier, theorised well by the Hemline Index. But now that the economic buzz has sort of mellowed, we are going back to looser styles, as we have seen in the past few years on the ramps and off them too.

Blouses: A Colonial Gift

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Interestingly, the blouse came to us courtesy the British. Before them, women used to simply cover their breasts with the pallu of the sari. But that wasn’t deemed apt by British society. So the women in 18th century Bengal started wearing Victorian-style blouses. Since then the blouse has had many transformations.

An Ode to Our Humble Masterjis

Of course, while discussing the evolution of blouses, how can we forget the contribution of our beloved neighborhood masterjis and their... ahem... ‘innovative’ style books.

But this decade’s major contemporary style statement in terms of blouses was made when saris were paired with crop tops for the first time in 2013.

Today, a full-sleeved shirt also makes for a blouse (although Haryanvi women have been doing this for longer than we can imagine!)

Think this discussion isn’t worth your time? Well, just to remind you – a blouse can cause quite a storm. Remember how Mandira Bedi’s ‘noodle-strap’ blouses dominated conversations during the 2003 World Cup?

The humble blouse has indeed come a long way. Today, it is no longer subservient to the sari. It’s waged an open rebellion against the sari and is speaking in a language of its own!

(Illustrations: Rhythum Seth/The Quint)

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