AskDefine | Define blouse

Dictionary Definition

blouse n : a top worn by women

User Contributed Dictionary




From blouse.


  1. an outer garment, usually loose, that is similar to a shirt and reaches from the neck to the waist or below. Nowadays, in colloquial use, blouse refers almost always to a woman's shirt that buttons down the front.


an outer garment, usually loose, that is similar to a shirt
  • Dutch: blouse, bloes
  • Finnish: paitapusero (female garment)
  • French: chemisier, corsage
  • German: Bluse
  • Hungarian: blúz
  • Ido: bluzo
  • Italian: blusa
  • Japanese: ブラウス
  • Kinyarwanda: ikizibaho
  • Korean: 블라우스
  • Norwegian: bluse
  • Polish: bluza
  • Spanish: blusa






fr-noun f

Extensive Definition

The word blouse most commonly refers to a woman's shirt, although the term is also used for some men's military uniform jackets.

Western world

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.
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 staple.
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 or embroidered decorations.
Blouses have buttons reversed from that of men's shirts. That is, the buttons are normally on the wearer's left-hand and the buttonholes are on the right. The reasons for this are unclear, and while several theories exist none have conclusive evidence. Some suggest this custom was introduced by launderers so they could distinguish between women's and men's shirts. One theory purports that the tradition arose in the Middle Ages when one manner of manifesting wealth was by the number of buttons one wore. Another that the original design was based on armour which was designed so that a right-handed opponent would not catch their weapon in the seam and tear through, and also that a person could draw a weapon with their right-hand without catching it in a loose seam of their own clothes. Female servants were in charge of buttoning their mistress's gowns (since the buttons were usually in the back). They tired of attempting to deal with buttons that were, from their point of view, backwards and as such they started reversing the placement when making or repairing them. Another possible reason is so men can easily undo blouses as, from the front, buttons are on the same side as a men's shirt. One other theory is that women were normally dressed by their maids, while men dressed themselves. As such, women's blouses were designed so it could be easily buttoned by the maid but that of men were designed so it could be easily buttoned by the person wearing it.
Although in all the cases proposed the reasons for the distinction no longer exist, it continues out of custom or tradition.

India and South Asia

In India and South Asia, the traditional women's attire consists of the choli and the sari (sometimes spelled "saree"). The choli is a low-cut short-sleeve blouse which exposes the midriff, and the sari is a long piece of cloth which is draped over one shoulder and covers half of the choli. Up until recently, Indian women have not worn bras, but in the past few decades, due to western influences, some Indian women have started to wear bras under their cholis.
blouse in Breton: Hiviz
blouse in German: Bluse
blouse in French: Chemisier
blouse in Scottish Gaelic: Blobhsa
blouse in Lithuanian: Palaidinė
blouse in Dutch: Bloes
blouse in Japanese: ブラウス
blouse in Norwegian: Bluse
blouse in Polish: Koszulka (ubiór)
blouse in Sicilian: Cammisara
blouse in Simple English: Blouse
blouse in Slovenian: Bluza
blouse in Finnish: Pusero
blouse in Swedish: Blus
blouse in Telugu: రవికె
blouse in Yiddish: העמד
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