My previous article Ethnic Mama-1 was liked by many of you. It was the most read article on my blog for the month of September ( as per my blog stats ). It’s all because of my beautiful readers like you who appreciated my efforts to present Indian culture before you. Thank you one and all.
Continuing with the ethnic series, today I will talk about the National dress of India, The Saree. It is worn by Indian females, especially Hindu ladies, across the length and width of the country with equal delight. The fabrics and styles may vary , but the basic concept remains the same. It is worn without pins or buttons. The tightly fitted blouse worn under sari is known as ‘choli’ or blouse and the final length of the sari hanging from the women’s shoulder is called ‘pallu’.
The typical length of a saree varies from five to nine yards ( 4.57 meters – 8.23 meters), with a breadth varying between two to four feet ( 60 cms – 1.20 meters ).
You must look into the following details before you buy a saree for yourself.
Keep the season in your mind :
As a rule, lighter weather ( spring, summer, autumn ) calls for lighter sarees i.e. chiffon, cotton, georgette, net and the likes. Likewise silks and crepes are essentially for winters. This rule is quite applicable in South Asia where warmer weather prevails for most part of the year. If you are living in a place where spring and autumn are cold too, then you can easily wear the heavier ones during those seasons too. It’s a pity to see a lady wearing lighter fabrics in brutal winters !!
Occasion /event : Is it a birthday party ( except for milestone birthdays which can be semi formal to formal ), baby shower or a wedding ? All these call for a different kind of saree – casual, semi formal or formal in that order. If it’s your own shower, then you may think of a formal saree.
Fabric : I personally try to buy sarees in pure fabrics, be it chiffon, georgette or silk. The whole get up of the draped saree will be different if bought in a fake/ duplicate fabric. Buying a good saree is an investment , so go for the best by all means !
Buy the classics : Since a good saree is going to last forever ( if properly stored and taken care of ), it’s always best to buy classic pieces. Ask yourself if you would /could wear it ten years from now. Having said that, it’s good to have a some fun pieces too. So try to have a good balance of classic and fun pieces. Sarees with rich borders, embroideries like kantha work, kota doria sarees, kanjeevaram silks, mysore silk, chanderi, patola, bandhni sarees rarely go out of fashion.
Have a variety: An extension of the previous point. Once you have the classics, try some fun, modern prints too for they can change your look , for good. If you have been wearing classics all the time, try some fun prints and vice versa. Don’t follow the crowd, be a trendsetter. And make sure it looks good on you.
Avoid buying online: I mean how can you buy a saree or any other piece of clothing without actually feeling the fabric, how it falls on your body, how the colors look on you. To me it’s a total waste of time and money especially for traditional Indian clothes. I hear stories all the time on how the fabrics and colors never matched with what they saw online.
Know the seller / store: Always buy from a good store/boutique. If it’s a boutique, do you trust the owner ( a lady in most cases) on how she dresses up herself, her knowledge about fabrics and her sense of style in general ?This may sound funny but to me it’s quite important.
Accessories: Once you have a good collection of sarees, make sure you have jewelry, shoes and purse to go with them. You don’t have to buy new accessories every time you buy a saree, but you should know how to recycle your old accessories with the new saree. If nothing pairs well, then maybe it’s time for accessory shopping. My tip here is I keep all accessories in my mind while saree shopping. This way I know what color saree I ought to buy if I want to reuse my old accessories. More on this soon ( upcoming blog ).
There are more than a dozen other types of sarees which I haven’t mentioned. I have shared some of my favorite styles and they are more popular too. My purpose is to introduce a few saree styles which are always in fashion. Some of these are passed on from one generation to the next , thus becoming a heritage piece. And the best place to shop a good saree is your own mom/ mom-in-law’s closet. Go raid it. It’s your birthright 🙂
If you like this article, feel free to share it with your friends on social media who may like to know more about sarees.
What is your favorite saree? Share your thoughts in comments below.
Coming up next: Different styles of saree draping, storage tips and more…
Stay tuned !!