I’ve adopted the saree as my new go-to garment. I mean, mum has such an awesome collection that my wardrobe quadrupled overnight! Quadrupled because the saree can be worn in so many different drapes and styles. I grew up watching mum deftly drape sarees of cotton, chiffon, georgette and silk for the nights out. And when I was tall enough, I’d play dress up with her cast-offs at home. The saree is as versatile as it can get – it spans the entire range from girly-frothy to staid lady to seductive temptress.
I’ve worn sarees as an adult – for college presentations and then it was relegated as my wedding guest attire. Here’s one instance that I wore it the ‘regular way‘ (I know the photo on the left is bad but I was being plagued by trolls at the time of posting and needed to preserve some shard of anonymity) and another where I funked it up.
But I wanted more occasions and a broader spectrum of fabrics and colours to experiment with. So, I figured, why not do with the saree what people have been doing with the salwar-kameez for the last fifteen years? The salwar kameez has attained that hallowed individualised status where every woman picks a cut, colour, fabric, length, fit and style that suits her. The saree offers at least the same range of options, if not more.
My biggest problem has been finding a good tailor to stitch the kind of blouses I want. Still, this problem is a blessing in disguise, given that it gave me the idea to funk up my saree look with what was already in my wardrobe. Necessity being mother of invention and all, I dug out my fitted tops and teamed them up with my sarees. Here are some of the things I’ve been trying.
It started with this, on Independence Day, with a saree too transparent for mum to want to wear it. I wore it with a plain green sleeveless top.
Then there’s the orange and white saree that found its soulmate in a red mock-halter top that I don’t really like wearing with jeans. I wore it in December, on a cool day, with a leather cross-body handbag and a shawl draped over one shoulder.
This beautiful grey silk saree that mum picked up in Delhi worked like magic with a purple-and-grey tartan croptop.
And emboldened by the success of the above, I dared to wear this on a cold evening out with the family – a turquoise corduroy blazer with a cream printed Moonga silk.
A couple of other things that I’ve tried that I don’t have good pictures for here – a denim skivvy with a pale blue saree (see picture below), a white lace croptop with a green saree and a black studded leather top with a grey silk saree (this one I really wish I had a picture for!).
Update: I wore this the very next week. A return to the traditional but funking it up by going retro. I believe this style was very popular in the 70s, especially among the pioneering careerwomen. It’s a Bengal cotton saree with a slinky, sleeveless blouse and the same cross-body leather handbag I’ve carried in the earlier pictures.
The saree is really just a really long length of fabric. It’s really not very different from wearing an ankle-length skirt and a dupatta. Pins in the right places and some practice make it a perfectly comfortable outfit to wear. If you’ve mastered the basic pleats-at-waist and shoulder drape, there is a whole range of things you could do with it. Here’s your basic saree drape (yes, it really is as simple as they make it look):