Ethnic Mama -2 : Nine Yards of Love, Style And Tradition !!

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.



Patan Patola saree- my dream saree. It’s a double ikkat weave, usually on silk . Quite expensive too.


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 !!



Bandhej or Bandhni sarees – available in silk, chiffon, gerogette


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.



Sarees with kantha embroidery are typically made of pure silk, tussar silk or cotton.


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 !



Sarees with borders are evergreen. This one has a net pallu too.


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.



Mysore silk – always in style !


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.



kanjeevaram sarees – among the best !


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.



Kota doria saree – one of my favorites. I personally like the weave which is quite interesting and makes each saree unique


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.



Patan-Patola – a must in your collection !


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 🙂


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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 !!

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  1. Pingback: Ethnic Mama-3 : Different Styles To Drape A Saree | Polka Dots and Curry

  2. so nice. i’d love to wear it someday..

    would u like to do a follow for a follow?

  3. Sarees are very beautiful, especially those in silk. It keeps amazing me how the saree is worn without pins or buttons…

  4. Monika – what a beautifully written article and the Saree is just magnificent – I love the detail and I love to read about the Indian culture! I would find it so difficlt to pick one – as they are all magnificent – thank you for always sharing wondferful and truly informative information. I am always learning new information from you xo!

  5. As an artist I really like the happy colors, amazing clothes 🙂

  6. Hey Monica, what a beautiful post you have crafted about Saree…!! Though I love Saree on others but I am not so comfortable wearing them because I don’t know how to drape it…lol. I have only two designers Sarees here in US which has hooks so its easy to drape….lol. Looking forward for your next post- How to drape Saree.? 🙂

    • Anamika, I hear you girl ! Draping a saree is an art and the more you practice, the better you get at it. But isn’t it amazing to have some pre draped sarees handy ? I don’t have any of those but wish to have couple of them in my collection.

  7. Wow this is a great post! Here in Singapore there are many Indian women who wear sarees, and this is the first time I know more about this type of clothing. God bless you Monika!

  8. I would LOVE to wear one everyday. Look so co.for table. I love the colors!:)

  9. great article! I live in London and I see lots of women dressing like this occasionally and I always adore it! They look absolutely gorgeous!


  10. Beautiful! I would love to wear a Sari

  11. This is what I love about the Indian culture. Fashion, whether traditional or modern, is definitely beautiful. 🙂

  12. so many diverse designs! rich in colours and intricate patterns! thank you for sharing 🙂

  13. I am raiding my moms closet for sure 😉
    Very well written 😊

  14. My favourite is the turquoise and purple saree such rich and diverse jewel tones that will make you stand out from the crowd.

  15. I loveeee sarees! I wish i had the body to look as graceful as anyone does.

  16. Sarees are beautiful! Very nice!

  17. How interesting! You say sarees are worn without pins or buttons, so is the fabric folded and wrapped around the body? That reminds a little of kimono. I could never tell a formal from an informal saree, but I’m starting to get the idea from your pictures. Thank so much for sharing this!

  18. Nicely written – Saili

  19. Nicely written

  20. Oh so many lovely colors.

  21. While this does not directly apply to me, it was beautifully written and answered questions I have had in the past. I’ve always wondered where ladies get these stunning pieces, and now I know! There is a lot that goes into purchasing one, and it seems like this post will be incredibly helpful.

    Well done!

    xo, Alexia

  22. What lovely and highly detailed fabrics. Beautiful.

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