The saree and blouse - paired to perfection

“Perfect? It’s when you’re both different but in a way…you complete each other.”

The Indian saree and the accompanying blouse have been together for a very long time. Made for each other, complement to each other, they create a perfect match or the lovely contrast to create harmony or beauty for the wearer.

An accompaniment in the three piece ensemble, it was only the saree that gained prominence and got the attention, the blouse only served utilitarian value. Plain, unadorned and not noticed much by designers or tailors who stitched it, the blouse was never the focus of womanly talk.

Not anymore. Having come into its own or “come of age”, the blouse has suddenly garnered interest to be thought of as a piece that contributes in the look. No more simply meant to cover the upper part of the anatomy, it is elaborately decked up in design and decoration to be a worthy addition to create ‘the look’.

So what is the blouse that goes with the Indian saree?

Somebody has rightly defined it as follows:

A blouse is typically qualified as a loose-fitting garment, never buttoned, rarely collared, and typically associated with a more feminine appearance. “Blouse” can refer to a man’s shirt if it is a loose-fitting style, but in present times the term is used almost exclusively for women’s clothing.

Blouses in the Indian context are purely feminine, softer and as close fitting as the woman wants.

For everyday wear, cotton-based materials and silk cotton are generally considered the most comfortable with Chiffon and silk being best suited for the formal occasions. The Indian choli akin to the blouse but far more stylish and chic makes use of chiffon and georgette more often.

There are two possible pairings for a saree and blouse

The mix and match saree blouse where the blouse could be similar or close in color to the color of the saree. The other would be the contrasting pair where the colors of the saree and blouse would sharply contrast.

Each has its advantages, each its visual appeal

Bolywood heroines used to start trends. The mass following copied.  Textile designers created ideas through their models on the ramp. Online websites followed some, added some of their own.

Today almost every lady from the very simple to the ultra stylish believes in experimenting on her own. The variety that the eyes take in is mind-boggling.

There is no standard measure for mix and match combinations that ensures comeliness. It all boils down to the perception of the wearer in choices that are finally made simply because of the different skin color, tone, shape and size of the wearer.

This is a random selection based on what we believe would look nice on a woman irrespective of differences.

Mix & match - plain sarees with blouses having attractive borders
  • Plain saree - Thin / thick border
    A plain saree with either thin or thick border, could be paired with any brocade or embroidered blouse. But a plain saree with a thick border, is better matched with a lightly adorned blouse.

Plain saree with thin border and blouse with embroidery  

Plain saree with thick border light adornment  on blouse

The idea - It is a matter of complementing each other. Where a feature is found lacking in one is made up for in the other.

  • Plain sarees with no border
    Plain sarees without any border could easily do well with any kind of printed, embroidered or highly embellished blouses. One could also try out different kinds of blouse neck designs to see what combinations suit. The idea - The saree cannot call for much attention. The blouse beautifully chips in.

 

    • Plain sarees for informal functions and parties
      The sheer plain or net sarees could do nicely with blouses with attractive cuts or features like boatneck, sleeveless or ruffle type.
    • Plain sarees for a wedding
      Weddings call for something different. So if the saree is plain, a lovely embroidered blouse could go nicely. The blouse neck itself could be having heavy thread worked designs such as in high neck or boat neck
    • Plain sarees at the workplace
      Office wear sarees should look formal and business-like. One combination with the plain saree could be a printed blouse with basic and simple prints with contrast colors. Cotton blouses with plain sarees add to the serious look.

       

      • Beautiful color plain block saree with a thin border if paired with a Kutch work blouse in black, the effect would be sensational. Accessories like light oxidized jewellery could jazz up the look.One could even match a plain cotton pink saree with a black Kutch work blouse in full sleeves with detailed embroidery.A plain white linen saree with beautiful blue raw silk Kutch work blouse would give a minimal but very attractive saree.
      • Why get stuck with the same colored blouse to match with your plain saree? You could try out small or big floral prints in the same color to provide some variety. What if you paired a plain peach georgette saree with floral printed blouse to look perfect?
      • Hand-printed Kalamkari blouses are most trending and are a smashing hit with plain sarees which could be cotton, silk or linen. The Kalamkari blouse could look smashing in full sleeves or with a high collar.
      • Plain sarees with brocade blouse
        The royal and classic brocade fabric looks majestic. A simple brocade blouse would add instant charm to your plain. You could easily have an exact matching in blouse to have a pretty picture that would serve well for parties and functions.
      • Plain sarees with embroidered blouse
        Embroidery always adds couture to fabrics, the embroidered blouses would add a dash of couture look to any of your plain sarees. They are perfect to wear for wedding functions. The plain sarees could be lovely crepe, chiffon or georgette.
      • Plain satin sarees are very much favoured in Bollywood. A peach satin saree with silver embellished designer blouse would provide killer looks. Statement jewellery and designer clutch added would provide a touch of class.

      Contrasts of blouse and saree

      Electric blue satin or silk blouse with full sleeves, designer boat neck and fancy designer motifs evenly distributed but a little apart from each other. medium shade of green satin or silk saree with wide brown colored brocade. Small dangling earrings gold colored would do wonderfully.


Parrot green full sleeve cotton blouse of very wide neck with turquoise blue silver zari wide border designer silk saree. A lovely neckband with square pendants (2 or 3 small square decorative pieces with stone embedded) and dangling earrings would be wonderful as accessories to match.

Red blouse loaded with attractive motifs all over (small elephant in this case) with saree having vertical dark blue stripes and bands of differing widths across the length on sky blue base. Floral Neck band like lace in dark or pastel blue and decorative waist belt like say gold colored fish on crimson red base.

Light Lavender colored embroidered or lace decorated puffed sleeves blouse with square motifs all over on magenta or fuschia colored saree base. A small centrally placed small gold colored necklace would do well.

 

Light sandy brown or camel brown plain saree with grey colored ¾ sleeves squares motif designer blouse with decorative parallelogram shape. Lovely light gold colored necklace and similar colored earrings would make an instant hit.

Light baby pink plain Kota cotton / silk saree  with light lemon yellow half sleeve blouse with large white designer motifs  (say peacock / floral bouquet) all over. The blouse could be close fitting with fancy cloth buttons of same color. Accessories like large blue beads on white string just below the collar  and a large width leather belt with round shaped buckle in the centre of the waist.

 

Mehandi green and cream half half plain saree with frilly border on both ends along with dull magenta pink blouse having small light to white motifs sparsely distributed with half sleeves and deep V neck. A Light ivory colored decorative neck band and similar colored earrings with hanging ends would do nicely.

 

A lovely sleevelss tight-fitting blouse with a contrasting rani pink and white checks saree, with same pink border with decorative medium sized zari motifs and light golden zari border on the inner side. A round shaped golden neckband would be smashing.

 

A dull turmeric yellow to deep golden color saree like the Kota silk saree with khats or a saree with shining vertical silver stripes all over and a lovely silver zari embroidered border. The contrasting blouse would be a battleship grey sleeveless portion and an attached mehandi green half sleeve both sides. The effect is sensational. Nothing like an oxidized central pendant necklace to complete the pretty picture!

The Indian saree blouse combination despite being traditional attire has travelled miles to reach an enviable niche position in unique fashion that has favourably withstood global scrutiny.

( In one or two instances the saree- blouse combination may not be exactly as described for technical reasons)