The Colonial Past Of The Indian Blouse – Indian Fashion Blogger In The UK

The Indian blouse isn’t all that Indian as we believe it to be.

Ancient Indian history depicts human sculptures wearing rectangular pieces of fabric, on the lower and upper part of the body with little else. The visual art forms of that era also erotically depicted women’s breast; defying gravity with their voluptuous size.

The breasts shown were either bare or sensually bursting from the blouse seams. Being topless it seemed was perfectly acceptable for Indian women of that era.

Source: Khajuraho

In the Eastern part of India, most women did not wear blouses under their sarees – they wore it bare breasted.

Source: Pinterest

The question then arises; how did the Indian blouse latest design; the imperative paraphernalia of the saree come to the Indian shores?

As the legend goes, Jnanadanandini Debi, sister in law of the famous Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wasn’t allowed entry to the clubs under the British rule for wearing the saree over her bare breasts. This incident led to her adopting and popularising crop tops, jackets, chemises worn as an adornment to the saree.

The term ‘Indian blouse’ leapt in the Indian vernacular in the Victorian era. One of the most popular exports of the colonial rule; the blouse has over the centuries gained such great indigenous appeal that it is considered part of Indian tradition itself. The British influence only became stronger over time with various kinds of Indian blouse latest design sweeping their way into the mainstream Indian wardrobe.

Source: BBC

The advent of the Indian blouse altered the DNA of the Indian fashion on a subliminal level. It brought with it a certain standard of communal decorum on the Indian population who had probably not perceived the breasts as titillating before being asked to cover them.

Source:, Jaypore & MySareeWardrobe

In a country like India; where the judgement of a woman’s integrity is in direct compliance to amorphous tradition, the story of the origin of the blouse shows how misguided notions of tradition and culture can be.



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