Choli, or sari blouse

Choli is the term for blouse in Hindi. It is most characterized by the lehenga choli, another Indian outfit with a skirt, a scarf (or dupatta) and the choli. Lehenga choli’s are one of my favorite things but we will get into that in another post.

Each sari comes with an extra yard or so of plain fabric or for more fancy saris, special decorations that outline sleeves and the hem of a sari. The most exciting thing about cutting off the yard of fabric for the tailor is that you can design your own blouse like the back and front necklines, and the sleeves.

But here are some standards sari blouses go by in India:

1.) Be modest so no plunging necklines in the back or front.

2.) A friend from Tamil Nadu told me South Indian girls hook their blouses from the front, while North Indian girls hook theirs from the back. The only back fastenings I have seen in movies is two strings tied in the back to hold the blouse together. I only own three of these back fastening blouses, so I’m not sure how correct this is.

3.) Necklines are usually square or round.

4.) You need lining in your blouse, and I am going to say no matter what, because sometimes the fabric is uncomfortable or transparent.

5.) You can wear a bra with your blouse, but make sure it is fitted for that purpose if thats what you want.

6.) When you are drawing your blouse design, make sure the front and back neckline compliment each other well. Imagine how it will look when you wear it.

I personally watch film trends for new blouse inspirations, but the conservative culture in India sometimes makes it difficult to find a tailor that will go along with your designs.

I also am a big fan of the ties in the back of a sari blouse (whether the blouse is hooked that way or in the front), because it draws the eyes to the nice folds of your back like this one:


Stephanie Landis

I am a native Oregonian, but traveling has been my way of life since I was young. I was raised in Europe and traveled around Asia and Africa. I've studied two languages and plan to add more. Along with travel, enjoying a passion for food, art and culture is apart of my daily life. My hobbies other than writing are cooking, reading, watching films and attending cultural events.

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