Saree is not just a six yards of garment that is draped around us. It is part of our inheritance, our culture and our very identity. A saree is a that is graceful and beautiful and we should wear it with pride.
When worn correctly there is no other dress that looks as elegant, as dignified as a saree does.
A saree is also a versatile garment that can change one’s looks with a few tweaks here and there. One can look demure and traditional by draping it the traditional way and by adding some ethnic jewellery and maybe a fancy bindi.
One can look seductive and sensuous if the material is soft and clingy, like chiffon, or if the choli is of a low back cut. One can also modernise one’s look by changing the hairstyle or adding the right accessory.
Don’t underestimate the power of the saree as a style statement or as the celebration of your feminity. It can do wonders to both your looks as well as self image.
A woman who wears a saree tends to hold herself well, to walk taller, to feel like a total woman. It doesn’t just add layers of clothing to one’s body, it adds to one’s personality too.
A woman must be first and foremost, comfortable in a sari. Many women feel that they will not be able to hold a sari, or that their movements would be restricted, or that they will be uncomfortable if they wear a sari. Often they forego wearing one out of this fear. Thus they lose out on the sheer pleasure that wearing a sari can give. It is just a matter of getting used to it. Once you get used to a sari you can pretty much do anything in it. You can travel in it, work in it, even sleep with one on.
Selecting the right design, pattern or textures, the right material for the occasion worn is also important. Whatever be the occasion you can find a sari which is just right for you.
Silks, worn in the traditional manner tend to be used for formal occasions like marriages. Chiffons, georgettes can be worn for kitty parties or an afternoon meeting with a client.
There are so many varieties of silks and other materials for saris available in India that it is mind boggling. Right from traditional to the very modern you can find just about any kind. In fact, selecting a sari from so many beautiful designs can become a daunting task.
The whole beauty and elegance of a sari comes from the way it is draped. The saree must be draped correctly. The pleats must fall in place equally and be at the right distance from one’s toes. Too high a sari will look odd and too low would look clumsy, not forgetting to add that it would add to the danger of you tripping up on the sari.
Wearing a drape style appropriate to the occasion is another requirement. There are so many ways of draping a sari. There is of-course the traditional way with pleats in front and the pallu over the left shoulder. There is the Bengali style, the Gujarati style, the Maharashtrian style, a modern style, even a Mumtaaz style!
The traditional way of sari draping is to twist the piece around the waist one time tucking it in the petticoat all around.
Now make pleats in the centre. Tuck these too in the petticoat firmly. Place the remaining material called the ‘anchal’ over the left shoulder.
The “aanchal” is the portion of the sari that has a lot of designs and motifs. It is the portion that hangs loose over your left shoulder showing off all those beautiful designs.
The blouse or choli can be a matching one or in a contrasting colour or material. It can be made in various styles and is often embellished with beads, embroidery, piping or golden threads.
Bengali women are renowned all over the world for their beauty. Their attraction is further enhanced by the grace and dignity with which they can carry the sari, their traditional attire. There is no untruth in that no one can wear a sari as elegantly as a Bengali. Their starched, crisp cotton saris, draped ever so faultlessly and the bearing of the wearer always elucidates admiration. Every Bengali lady has a wardrobe full of the most amazing cotton and handloom saris which are comfortable to wear in the humid, heat of Bengal.
To wear a sari the traditional Bengali way make two large pleats around the waist, after covering the torso. Get hold of the anchal from under the right shoulder and throw it up again over the same shoulder. To complete the look tie a large key ring with keys to the end of the anchal to hold it down. Wear some red and white shell bangles and add a red bindi. Now the look is perfect.
The Marathi style, popular with the Brahmin women of Maharashtra is quite unique. In this style no petticoat is required; the sari is draped in a way that the centre of the sari is neatly placed at the back of the waist and the ends of the sari are tied securely in the front.
Then the two ends are wrapped around the legs. The decorative ends are then draped over the shoulder and the upper body.
Gujarati way is commonly known as the seedha pallu way. The pleats are tucked so that they open to the right. Then, the pallu is taken to the back and brought over the right shoulder. It is then spread across the chest, and the left edge is tucked in the petticoat at the back.
Tamilian method. The sari measures eight meters. After wrapping around the waist, the pleats are positioned along the left leg. The rest of the sari is taken over the left shoulder, wrapped once again round the waist and tucked on the left side.