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Kiran Bahl

Happy May. Gentlemen, do not forget Mother’s Day is May 13. In honor of this special day (and tons of requests from our loyal Khaas Baat readers!), let’s focus on a clothing piece often forgotten about, almost considered as a ‘standard,’ and, therefore, rarely worked on – the sari blouse. Last month, we focused on the latest sari patterns and designs. This time around, let’s concentrate on the sari blouse to finish the look of any sari, casual or formal.

TRADITIONAL (with a twist!). The traditional sari blouse looks most regal, but with a few extra, more intricate details, you can ‘modern’ the look up in a flash. Instead of the standard, short-sleeved look, stitch your sleeves 3/4 sleeve length, or even full-sleeve length. A chiffon blouse with semi-sheer long sleeves covered with embroidery or sequin work will have all eyes on you. Short-sleeve styles have altered as well. Cap sleeves, a fusion of sleeveless and short sleeve, are flattering on most everyone, and reveal just a bit more skin, updating the style. Cutwork, slit or teardrop tears in the sleeves with or without dripping beads is another way to make your otherwise WOW outfit into a NOW outfit, something trendy!

STRAPPY. Haven’t tuned in to the sleeveless looks quite just yet? Many ladies, it seems, are scared to try on a non-sleeved appearance, and they shouldn’t be. Anyone and everyone, no matter what the shape and size, have made the look such a ‘norm’, that’s it acceptable, no matter what the occasion. To be a little bolder, make those sleeveless straps even thinner, imitating spaghetti straps like on camisoles. Aishwarya Rai has been seen in the latest abstract pattern saris and the most eloquent banarsi silk saris in spaghetti strap blouses, and looks equally royal in both looks.

HALTER. A very “European” style, it hit the United States by storm a while ago, and now India has made it a top-wanted look. This style, mainly comprising of the top with ties around the neck, flatters many, but steer clear if heavyset. When wearing a sari with a halter top, your shoulders and arms will look bare, which may be at times a bit too revealing.

BACKLESS. This is the sari blouse look of the season. Sari blouses are appearing traditional in the front, but once you walk past your admirers, surprise! Backs are being created with airy looks. There are so many looks now, including corset style lace-up backs, stringy backs, even the now popular backs that tie with just one ribbon/string. If you don’t feel as daring, try just a low-cut back. Shapes such as oval U’s, teardrops and rectangles are deeper and wider than ever. A delicate string toward the top of your shoulders, and classic strap on bottom will hold the shape together, and keep you feeling secure!

TUBE. Seen the latest Indian or American fashion runways? Spring and summer trends include strapless and tube tops galore. Imagine a flowy, crepe sari with a bandeau sari blouse. The look remains pretty and feminine, but perhaps most revealing of all. Petite ladies should enjoy this look most, as the tinier you are, the more these tops hold up. Ladies with larger busts will always remain in fear of wardrobe malfunction!

When in doubt, always go traditional or sleeveless, as you can never go wrong with these classic styles. The rule of thumb is to always match the blouse style to your sari style. If wearing a traditional kanjeeveram style, opt for the standard blouse. If showing off a more modern, futuristic trend, the bolder the better!

Send us your fashion questions and concerns. Follow the trend! E-mail us at and we’ll answer any and all your fashion dilemmas. Here’s this month’s Fashion Drama question of the month:

Q: I’ve just bought myself the prettiest saris. But on most of them, the back is way too low. My bra straps would show completely. What do I do? - Maya, Palm Harbor

A: Hi Maya. Thank you for asking such an important question. Many women ask the same question time and time again when wearing backless styles. Here are some solutions that should help Try sticking on bra petals. They’re cups, like stickers, designed to hold and keep things in place. For larger busted ladies, this method may not work, because of the added weight. Instead, have your seamstress sew bra pads inside your blouse. That would help for sure.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom-to-be, mom, grandmom, and great-grandmom (and even further back!) out there. As a mom myself, I know how much courage, patience, and sacrifice it takes to be a good mom. It’s tough at times, but more rewarding than ever imaginable. We appreciate every mom and thank you. And as always, remember to gro with style!

Kiran Bahl of Gro Styles, “An Indian Boutique,” 2035 E. Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33612, can be reached at (813) 843-9040 or (813) 903-8334.

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