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A Saree (sari) is Born

The epitome of the every woman's mystique is wrapped around her. Here's a closer look at the endearing sari.

Nothing identifies a woman as being Indian so strongly as the sari - the quintessential Indian female garment. The 6 yard, unstitched, fluid garment over and around the body, adjusted with little tucks and pulls is one of the most graceful pictures ever. "The sari undoubtedly is the most sensuous garment ever." "And the best thing about it is that it conceals as much as it reveals." The sari is one of the most feminine outfits ever. And that's the secret behind its survival through various fashion eras like bell-bottoms, drainpipe and now low-rise jeans."

The origin of this fabulous garment is a bit obscure due to lack of proper historical records in India but one thing's for sure - the sari boasts the oldest existence in the sartorial world. It is more than 5000 years old and is mentioned in the Vedas. Sari (original - Chira in Sanskrit for cloth) is of varied length. From 5 yards to 9.5 yards tied loosely, folded and pleated, it can be turned into a working dress or party wear with manual skill. For the day-to-day dressing of middle class women, a 5-6 yard is comfortable today.

The material and the print on the sari can vary according to your choice and the occasion. The common materials for a sari are silks, cottons, chiffons, organzas and georgettes, and the common types of saris are Kanjeevaram (a traditional South Indian sari), Paithani (a typical peacock and parrot motif sari from Maharashtra), Banarasi, Bhagalpuri, Orissa Ikkat, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Gujrati Patola, and Jaipuri Leheriya. "I feel that a chiffon, a georgette and a nice Kanjeevaram is a must-have for every woman." The chiffon is appropriate for a kitty party, lunch or dinner at the club or at the race course, or even for shopping. The georgette can be worn for a cocktail or small party, while the Kanjeevaram can be worn at weddings or extremely formal affairs." Saris are beautiful, and it is up to the wearer to bring out the best in them.

"What one needs in their collection is not a particular sari but superb blouses to go with it, because the blouse can make or break the look of a sari." Her suggestions are beautifully embroidered blouses.

The styles of wearing a sari vary according to the region. There are about 10 to 15 types of drapes in India. So, you have the Bengali, Gujarati, Coorgi, Malayali and other styles of draping.

How to wear a Saree (sari)?

Wonders 6 yards of drape can do...

The story of the saree is a 2000-year-old romance. It is associated with the ancient North Indian terracotta worn by a woman, to the creations crafted by the 21st century designers. Today sarees continue to be worn for both fashion & form. The fashion-conscious understands the versatility of the drape while the urban and rural dweller its utility.

The saree is quintessential Indian female garment. An untailored length of cloth measuring between 4 & 9 meters long by approximately 1 meter wide-set against a wonderful array of fabrics, colors, patterns & draping styles. They come in all shapes, sizes from textured hand-woven fabrics created on age old traditional looms as well as modern sophisticated looms run on power. The saree is universal. Grandmother & granddaughter can both wear same saree with equal grace. It can suit any age and occasion. The saree is universal, highly adaptable.

North Indian Style of wearing a Saree (Gujarati style of draping)

  1. Spread and hold your sare in a manner that the plain end is held by your left hand. Remember again .... the bottom of the drape needs to touch the ground !

  2. Tuck in the plain end to the petticoat and take the saree around you from the left side and bring it back to the front from the right side.

  3. Now make around 6-7 pleats out of the drape and hold them together.

  4. Tuck in the pleats to your petticoat and ... yes ... you have to repeat the procedure of bringing the drape around from the back.

  5. From over the right shoulder, bring the drape to the front, leaving a considerable amount of drape loose at the back. You may pleat the drape in the front.

  6. Hold one end of the 'pallu' falling in front and tuck it to the left side of your hip.

  7. Bring the loosened end at the back over and covering your head, which is traditionally, called the 'Ghoongat'!

South Indian style of wearing a Saree (Regular style of draping)

  1. Hold the plain end of your saree towards the right side of your naval and tuck it into the drawstring petticoat. Remember .... let the bottom of your saree always touch the ground. Now take the drape.

  2. Bring the drape to the front from the right side to a position in front of the naval in order to make a minimum of 6-7 pleats out of the drape.

  3. Hold the pleats together and tuck them into the petticoat in the same position. Now take the loosened drape once again around from the left side and bring it to the front from the right side.

  4. Hold the loosened end of the saree in front and start pleating (approximately 3-4 pleats).

  5. Hold the pleats together.
  6. Now bring the pleats over your shoulder, leaving the drape falling behind you. You may pin the pleats to your blouse if desired.

  7. Bring the 'pallu' (the drape that falls behind) to the front and tuck it in for a stylish appearance !