Gypsy Blouse

AKA: peasant top, bohemian blouse, boho blouse

How to say it: jip-see

Traditional Features: 

body template


  • loose fit through the body
  • drawstring neckline
  • longer length
  • elasticated/drawstring/banded cuffs
  • short or long puffed sleeves
  • often has bright embroidery
  • made from natural fibres


…of the style: The gypsy blouse is based on the styles worn by the gypsies who originated in Northern India and spread throughout Europe, Asia and North America approximately 1,000 years ago.

A version of the gypsy blouse became particularly popular in the Puebla region of Mexico in the 1600s and later became known as the Mexican Peasant Top; however, the style did not originate in Mexico. This particular version of the gypsy blouse was apparently bought to Mexico by a young female slave, of Asian origin, by the name of Mirrha. Mirrha was brought to Mexico on a Spanish slave ship from the Philippines and was reportedly unimpressed by the plain cotton local dress of Puebla. She began to embroider her own garments with bright patterns from her Asian heritage – they initially caused quite a stir in Puebla but quickly became popular among girls and women in the area and is still available today.

Several other versions of gypsy tops have evolved through the years, depending on where the gypsies were from and the type of lives they lived, but all of the garments have similar attributes (puffed sleeves, loose fit)  and all give off the casual and carefree vibe of the gypsy lifestyle.

In the 1940s the a style of gypsy blouse inspired by the Latin Hollywood star Carmen Miranda was quite popular among young women. This particular incarnation of the style was white with short, puffed sleeves, a square or scooped neckline and ribbons woven through eyelet embroidery on the sleeves and neck, and was worn with a colourful, patterned skirt that sat on the waist.

The gypsy blouse as a garment reached the height of is popularity in the 1970s when the loose, flowing style and the freedom of the gypsies appealed to the bohemian lifestyles of the hippie culture. The style fell out of favour in the 1980s, but returns as an ‘on-trend’ garment every couple of seasons as designers take inspiration from European and Asian cultures. The most recent revival seems to have been in the Spring 2013 collections and as a result, there are still gypsy blouses available in the marketplace today.

…of the name: The style is named for the gypsies of Europe, North America and Asia who inspired the garment.

For more info on Gypsy Blouses try here, here, here or check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

21st Century Gypsy Blouses

As a loose-fitting, cool and breezy garment, the gypsy top is, not surprisingly, most popular in the Spring/Summer collections and tends to be made from natural fibres like cotton or silk. It has also made a successful jump into the beachwear marketplace and the style is regularly available as a beach coverup.

Melissa odabash saint laurent

Melissa Odabash, Saint Laurent

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren Alexander Mcqueen

Denim&Supply by Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen


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