What is a blouse?
The word most commonly refers to a girl's or woman's dress
- A dress shirt, button shirt, button-front, button-front shirt,
or button-up shirt is a garment with a collar and a full-length
opening at the front, which is fastened using buttons or shirt
studs. A button-down or button-up shirt is a dress shirt which has a
button-down collar – a collar having the ends fastened to the shirt
Traditionally, the term has been used to refer to a shirt which
blouses out or has an unmistakably feminine appearance. Blouses
are often made of cotton or silk cloth and may or may not include a
collar and sleeves. They are generally more tailored than simple knit
tops, and may contain feminine details such as ruffles, a tie or a soft
bow at the neck, or embroidered decorations.
Blouses usually consist of light fabrics such as silk or thin cotton
fabrics, until the early 1990s are often made of softly falling
synthetic fibers (e.g. polyester). Sometimes they are decorated with
frills, embroidery or loops. The classic of the ladies' blouses is the
white shirt blouse. The open spade, peter pan, reverse and revere
collar is another common type of classic ladies' blouse.
During the later Victorian period blouses became common for informal,
practical wear. A simple blouse with a plain skirt was the standard
dress for the newly expanded female (non-domestic) workforce of the
1890s, especially for those employed in office work. In the 1900s and
1910s, elaborate blouses, such as the "lingerie blouse" (so-called
because they were heavily decorated with lace and embroidery in a style
formerly restricted to underwear) and the "Gibson Girl blouse" with
tucks and pleating, became immensely popular for daywear and even some
informal evening wear. Since then, blouses have remained a wardrobe
Various new and different forms of collar emerged in the 1920s. They
diminished in sizes by the 1950s, but were huge in the 1930s. At the
beginning of the 1970s, popular styles included the rounded collar,
sausage dog collar, then extra wide collar and double cuffs from shirts,
that fell on them often from fashions relating to synthetic fabrics like
usually polyester. At the beginning of the 1960s the bubic bangs
hairstyle came back, then later wide collars. The fashion of standing
collar and federal collar, loops, rounded collars, revere collar and the
smallest collar, sometimes with concealed button fly on a "smoking
blouse", attached folds and stressed set-in-followed in the 1980s.
Again, thin and often shining synthetic fibers were very popular.
Tailoring provides a closer fit to the wearer's shape. This is
achieved with sewing of features such as princess seams or darting in
the waist and/or bust.
Are blouses only for women?
Historically, a blouse was a loose-fitting upper garment that was
formerly worn by workmen, peasants, artists, women, and children.
It is typically gathered at the waist or hips (by a waistband or belt)
so that it hangs loosely ("blouses") over the wearer's body. Blouses
were rarely part of the fashionable woman's wardrobe until the 1890s.
Before that time, they were occasionally popular for informal wear in
styles that echoed peasant or traditional clothing, such as the
Garibaldi shirt of the 1860s.
Learn about different
in our fashion terminology section.
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