People who know me know my love for sarees. I like to wear sarees for weddings, functions and events. However, this year was different. I wore sarees more casually than ever before. As in I would just get up, and decide to wear a saree.
It all started one day when I was trying to arrange my cupboard. I thought of moving my sarees to the top most cupboard in an attempt to accommodate the crazy amount of dresses I keep ordering from Myntra. Of course sarees belonged to the ‘rarest of the rare wear’ category and therefore deserved the most non-accessible shelf. As I looked at my lovely collection, it pinched me to see such beautiful sarees lying around, unworn.
What would happen to these?” I thought.
No cousins left to get married.
I will probably (hopefully) be dead by the time my nieces and nephews marry!
God knows when I will win an award next or any saree worthy event will come up.
And then a thought struck me. Who said I cannot wear saree without any occasion! Our mothers, grandmothers wore sarees all their lives. When and how did our generation decide that it should be restricted for special occasions?
And so, I have started wearing sarees as if I am wearing jeans! I wear it whenever I feel like. I have been wanting to write about my experience and offer a few tips . But please note, I am an amateur and anything I say may not even be close to correct so take it at your own risk! 🙂 But I hope that it will be an enjoyable read for you. So here it is, thoughts from a non-expert:
- Light weight sarees
This is the key. As much as a I love heavy sarees and I have a whole bunch of them, if you want to wear a saree all day then you have to pick a light weight saree. Saree is a beautiful garment so don’t worry that you will not look great enough if you pick a simple one. Sharing a picture from an event in my office. My saree was definitely plain compared to others.
I was standing in the queue for snacks when a lady I did not know came and said to me that I was looking pretty even though my saree and look was very simple. It was a kind compliment from a stranger, and meaningful one too.
I rarely wear jewelry so yes the look was quite simple.
There is beauty in simplicity, ladies. Never ever underestimate the power of simplicity!
- Bandhanee sarees
As you may have noticed this is a bandhani saree. I am crazy about bandhanee and I bought few more this year. I am missing purple colour now. Will get one soon.
I already have blue, green, red, yellow, pink and black. Let me add at this point that I raid my mother’s saree wardrobe all the time. And sister lives in the U.S. so some of her sarees are also here for me to highjack! Maa has again bought sarees for my sister. If sister doesn’t take them with her, I will get these as well! More sarees to me!
3). Petticoat pin
This is really important unless you want your saree to fall off. Put the pin properly into your petticoat and pleats. Also be careful of the safety pins you use. I successfully managed to create holes in my mother’s silk saree because the pin was not good enough. Then my mother told me to put a tiny piece of paper around the pin so that it doesn’t tear the cloth off while removing. Thankfully Maa is still generous enough to let me wear her sarees (as yet). She will probably have a good laugh when she reads this post – me giving tips on wearing a saree.
Also, don’t tie the petticoat too tight. It will make your stomach hurt (especially when you sit) and you would want to kill yourself and remove the saree immediately after whatever it is that you wore it for.
I never tie the petticoat tight and the saree has not fallen ever (yet) since the safety pin is properly pinned into the petticoat and pleats.
Now, I have heard of those stylish satin petticoats that give you a good shape but I have never used them. I wear the same good old cotton petticoats that you might not want anyone to see (wink ).
Being short, some petticoats are too long for me. One time, I had to fold the top of my petticoat because it was too long. With this I ran the risk of looking bloated like a balloon. When the petticoat falls below your saree length it looks really bad. I have done that also once and my friends told me I was looking like a machuaran (fisherwoman)!
But it is not just the length you have to be careful about but how to you tuck in the pleats. I move the pleats slightly to the right from the centre so that the belly area doesn’t look bloated. Even if you are a thin person, the way the sari bulges up at the stomach can make you look pregnant so this is always something to be mindful about. Also, resist the urge to touch your belly with your hands in pictures as this may also make you look pregnant.
This petticoat topic should have sub headings!
Wear heels before
You may already know that you should wear heels before wearing your saree to get the right estimate of the length. If you are short like me, the saree should cover your heels and be at length with the ground. This is annoying when you are out and you feel like you are doing a free poccha . So I try to keep the length in a way that my shoes are slightly visible so there is no poccha scene.
But one time I wore a saree with heels and I had to remove it as I was attending a puja. The saree’s length was very low now with my shoes removed and I think it looked great!
This is not something I can try outdoors because of pocha risk but if you are indoors and bare foot definitely it looks nice!
What style to drape
I like to pin up the saree on my shoulder so that my hands are free. I don’t like it much when it is flowing on my arms , although depending on the kind of saree that decision can be made.
Now, when you are pinning it up on the shoulder, you have to decide how much of your blouse should be visible. I keep the aanchal in a way that a glimpse of the blouse is visible. I am short and if I cover up the blouse fully I will look even shorter. But for this you need to invest in some good, fancy blouses. It is a great investment! I have bought black, golden and silver blouses and they go with most sarees.
Also, another thing you need to decide is how much of your midriff should be visible. I have heard women say that if you are wearing saree properly your midriff should not be visible.
I do not agree. A bit of midriff looks nice.
I get annoyed when people say that your midriff and back is visible and that you have not worn it nicely. That is exactly the part that is supposed to be revealed in a saree!
If you are not tying the saree on the shoulder, then again please be careful about the anchal falling on your stomach and the bulge (especially in heavy silk sarees).
This is the most important part. Enjoy what you are wearing and feel good about yourself. None of us have perfect bodies but saree is one garment that does its best in accentuating your assets and hiding the flaws. Even if you have not worn in a perfect way, as long as you are confident it cannot go wrong.
Most women give me compliments when I wear a saree. But some convey their horror to me when they see that I wear saree comfortably. From calling me conservative and regressive to wondering how and why I wear it frequently I have heard it all.
I am proud of my culture. I am proud of my saree collection. And I am proud of the fact that I feel comfortable wearing it, even when nobody else is. Saree shaming me will not have any effect on me!
If you are a man and you have read this far, thank you. Hopefully this little bit of saree knowledge would be of use with your girlfriends , wives, crushes!
I also need to add how appreciative men are of sarees and never fail to express their admiration for women in sarees! I have to give credit to men for this.
So this is it for now! If you have a lot of sarees and are wondering how and when to start wearing them, just pick it up! It is that simple!