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The History of Saree Blouse

by Sundari Silks 15 Jul 2022
The History of Saree Blouse

A few years ago, when women attended social events, they received compliments and praise from friends for their sarees and jewellery choices. At present,  the blouse receives all the love and it has unquestionably become a woman’s best friend. Gone are the days when the only decorative feature on the blouse seemed to be a drawstring tie at the back. The options today are endless. From tassels, and bows to mirrorwork and lace, there is a world of embellishments for you to dive into it.  The best thing about this trend is that you can always create a new, distinctive look by pairing the same saree with a different blouse.

But do you know that the concept of wearing a blouse was relatively new in India before British rule? When you look at the sculptures or paintings from the Maurya and Sunga period, you will notice that both men and women wore rectangular pieces of clothing to cover their upper and lower bodies. Most of our ancestors wore their sarees bare-chested, especially in Bengal.

It is believed that Jnananandhini Devi Tagore, sister-in-law of Rabindranath Tagore was denied entry into an English club for wearing a Bengali-style saree without a blouse, which the British deemed indecent and inappropriate. These days, pairing sarees with shirts and sweatshirts may be considered an urban fashion trend. But Jnananandhini Devi Tagore was the one who brought this fashion trend to India. She served as an inspiration for women of high status and education to start donning shirts underneath their sarees in the 19th century. She was also advertised in the magazine “Bamabodhini Patrika”.

From there, the blouse adapted itself to almost every occasion through the mid-twentieth century. Sleeveless blouses were quite popular before independence.  This was followed by the rise in popularity of puff sleeves, cowl necks, collar necks, V-necks and so many other designs between 1980 and 2000. Click here to have a look at the trending blouse designs at present.

At Sundari Silks, we have an exclusive line of readymade and unstitched blouse materials - Alankara. Our new collection of hand-painted and hand-embroidered blouses is handcrafted by our in-house artisans. They are involved right from the conceptualization of the design till the final finish of the blouse, which includes - sketching, hand painting and embroidering.  These blouses are marked not only by technical mastery but also by the infusion of handcrafted and thoughtful designs. Here is a glimpse of the many blouse options for you to choose from at Alankara!

Readymade blouse handpainted with lotus flowers

Blouse material embellished with aari and zardozi work

The needle lore of West Bengal - Kantha embroidered blouse materials

Readymade blouse with Mughal floral patterns accentuated with applique work

While you explore our latest collection, take a moment to appreciate the meticulous hard work and craftsmanship behind creating these wonders. Once you purchase a blouse material of your choice, you can get it stitched to your liking by our tailoring unit in the showroom. Visit our store today or explore our readymade and unstitched blouse materials at



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