Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |    Volume 7, Issue 09, Tuesday, February 28, 2012



Sensuous grace

Maheen Khan
Fashion designer, Mayasir

Perennial blouses
The sari-blouse, as the name suggests, accompanies a sari. The five-metre or six-yard piece of cloth, draped and tucked to suit personal preferences, is a versatile piece of ensemble that may be worn in many different ways.

The blouse is a custom-made stitched garment that is a personal expression of style and panache. The fit is essential and vital to complement the sari that is usually fluid and seamless.

This single piece of garment may be patterned in innumerable shapes emphasising the various elements such as the neckline, sleeves, length and trimmings. Sari-blouse can be a simple functional garment or an exquisite haute couture piece of wearable art; it is your fashion option.

In sari-blouse, the neckline is an important style option. Princes, cowl, boat, scoop, band collared and the V-neck are some popular styles. It is important to emphasise particularly the back of the blouse as it is exposed.

Low-back necklines look particularly nice. Squared or scooped work well or you could style a tie-back in a wide or narrow belt. It all depends on your level of comfort.

Halter neck blouses are a favourite option for the evening. It is a rage, flattering look with the sari and can be a tied-on-the-neck or fixed with enclosures.

Off-shoulder blouses are another fabulous option that is in vogue. It renders a formal trend for the enthusiastic fashionistas. Currently we find the single-shouldered blouse to be extremely desirable. This is an ideal blouse as the sari also gets draped over your left shoulder.

Once upon a time blouse sleeves were the most important, focal element. Puffed, balloon bell, tulip, straight or slit three-quarter and of course, long sleeves. It was the only area that could be modelled to different styles as the rest of the garment had to be patterned with conservative coverage.

The history of sari-blouses dates back over just a 100 years and it was the sleeves that fashioned most style statements. Even today, sleeves can illustrate a fad that may be accepted or rejected.

In Dhaka a mere twenty years ago, sleeve trends were followed with some degree of gravity and most urban societies followed a single trend with seriousness. All that has now changed significantly. Today there are many options and no particular trend is followed blindly.

The length of the sari-blouse is rendered to suit individual needs. It may vary anywhere between 13 to 16 inches. Ideally a properly fitted blouse should sit right above the waste line. Bustier styles are cupped and formed to cover the vitals while the longer styles are tailored to custom fit.

Choli cut blouses are sometimes longer in front and shorter at the back or backless. Corset styles are boned and longer about 22 inches long reaching your hip line. These are in vogue especially as a winter selection.

Today, most blouses are fastened with hooks. It is important to place them very closely no further than a quarter of an inch in length. Threaded cords or eyes should be placed parallel to the hooks so that a close fit may be achieved.

Hand-knotted buttons and covered buttons can be held in place with loops or Japanese-style cord attachments for an exceptional effect.

Large beads in ceramic or metal are used as buttons that adorn an ethnic look. Pearls and bejewelled buttons are distinguished and can easily ameliorate the impression of the garment.

Coins as buttons are a traditional fastening, eclectic in appearance and timeless in style. You can use a pair of beaded tassels as a focal point of interest on the back neckline purposefully as a functional decorative finish. Hidden zippers are also extensively used as a bonding. It is important to think about accessories creatively.

It is fashionable to wear contrasting blouses in a variance of hues. Picking up on key colours, it creates a marvellous disposition, although it does not work for all body types.

It is a trend to wear heavily embellished blouses with simpler saris. These value additions are achieved with brocade, embroidery, beading, metalwork and Swarovski applications. The right shoulder and the back are distinctively emphasised as engineered areas of interest.

Choice of fabric
Most quality saris should have blouse piece extensions. It is referred to as the running piece with an identical border. It may have similar ground patterns or an identical pattern in slightly smaller scale in design.

One can very well wear a matching blouse but these days the concept is not exactly in vogue and looks a little dated.

I suggest you go with your instinct and discard passing fads, as a matching blouse will always remain graceful in style. I also believe that a simple cotton blouse most definitely works best. It is essentially wearable and the comfort level gets a seven-star in my opinion.

Fine cotton materials are available in almost any hue imaginable and can easily coordinate nicely with most sari types.

By Maheen Khan
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Airin
Wardrobe: Maheen Khan
Makeup: Farzana Shakil


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