Two upcoming weddings in the family mean a lot of preparation. Not just the clothes, but jewellery, cosmetics, shoes and what have you. And a lot of mixing and matching, for there’s only so much you want to lug and airlift all the way to the North of India, the constraints being airline imposed, even though the modern day Shaadi calls for an all out extravaganza of showbaazi and showgiri.
And that was how I found myself trawling through dozens of clothes and fancy stores, in search for what one may call ” the perfect blouse” if there were ever such a thing. The last time I went blouse shopping many years ago was with my mother, again trawling through the stores for the perfect match of “2 by 2” fabric, as it was called then, getting a small piece cut and off to the tailors for the long wait before the “blouse” arrived. Often, to my mother’s chagrin, it would just be short of perfect, with a sleeve too loose or too tight, and then it was back again to the tailors for another long wait, for you were completely at his mercy for that perfect fit that concealed everything. Even a sleeveless blouse was quite a “thing” in those days, mind you.
Well then, years of respite from sarees, having taken the easy way out by adopting the easy-to-wear trousers and tops, (literally pull on and pull off almost, stretchable, lycra and such convenient stuff) had me completely converted. But then, the weddings on hand, call for some level of dressing up, for one does not really want to stand out as plain or staid, and so- off it was to get the lovely sarees ready. Much to the fashionista’s delight, today’s sarees are a class apart- graceful, elegant, embroidered, with “work” as they call it- a treat to the wearer and the gaze alike. But alas, like every rose has a thorn, the saree inevitably comes with the torture of getting the “right” blouse, or getting the “blouse” right, if I may call it that.
And so, another set of myriad trips to the shops, this time, to get the blouse. Online shopping being useless here, how could you ever imagine what would actually land up by way of fit and hope to get it right online? Another revelation- You can get fancy, fancier and fanciest blouses (or bold, bolder and boldest maybe), and that too readymade now. Yipee ! no more trips to the tailors. But, hold your horses, it’s not that simple. For a blouse to get that perfect a fit- if you have ever worn a saree, you will know how it cannot be loose or tight, it has to fit just right everywhere, is a challenge halfway up Mount Everest. But, what is more, interesting is the kind of “readymade” or tailor made blouses that are to be found now. Necklines, plunging necklines and lack of necklines, I am totally at a loss to describe them. So much so, that it seems these have been designed to reveal, rather than conceal. Whoever said that “western” wear was the cause of depreciation of Indian Culture – maybe some Bapu Shapu out there needs to have another look at these new fangled blouses. An Indian fashion innovation for sure, for one can’t imagine any other country having come up with something so umm… fashionable, sensual, leaving nothing to the imagination, etc, etc all in one. The west may have their Donna Karans’ and we our Manish Malhotra’s, but these innovations, all by the local Darzi( The tailors) are definitely befitting a place in designer history.
And so, displayed below are some versions of what was to be found in the shops. See the innovation for yourself, will you!