The traditional Indian dress is the Sari which can be worn in many
ways. Underneath the sari one wears a Petticoat, a waist to floor length
skirt, tied tightly at the waist by a drawstring and a Cholli ; a blouse
that ends just below the bust. The Salwar Kameez in India is the second
most popular dress and is gaining in popularity fast with the younger
generation. The Salwar Kameez in India too has had many design changes.
The new designers have come up with great variations of the Salwar
Kameez. Women also wear Lehengas.
The Indian Saree (or Sari) boasts of oldest existence in the
sartorial world. It is more than 5000 years old!
Patterns of dress change throughout the world, the Sari
has survived because it is the main wear of rural India. 75% of the
population (now a billion as per official estimate) wear versatile sari.
We can certainly call this cloth versatile because it could be worn as
shorts, trousers, flowing gown-like or convenient skirt, all
without a single stitch!
Saree is of varied length. From 5 yards to 9.5 yards
tied loosely, folded and pleated, it could be turned into working dress
or party wear with manual skill. For day today dress of middle class
women, 5-6 yard sari is comfortable to manage household chores.
Working class tucks the same length above the ankles
and if they have to work in water or fields, they would tuck the front
pleats between the legs to the back, and tie the upper portion round the
waist. This left them free movement of hands and legs.
A nine yard saree used to be a connoisseurs pleasure with
embellishments, embroidery and fine designing. Generally the climate of
India is warm and humid. Saree and its male counterpart dohti was most
suited for this land. Styles of wearing saree vary from region to
region. Gujarat style and Bengali style are different. So are
Mangalorean, Kannadiga, Kodava, Tamilian, Malayali, etc. The Saree
is worn in at least 10-15 styles throughout the India.
Saree is essentially Indian and designed to suit local conditions.
Raja Ravi, the distinguished painter of 19th century, toured the entire
sub continent in search of the ideal female wear. He wanted the best
dress for the various goddesses he was asked and commissioned to paint.
He selected the a nine yard saree which drapes the body
beautifully at the same time exhibiting contours of female anatomy;
bust, waist, hips.
How to wear Saree:
Various regions of India have their own unique style of wearing the
sari. The Gujarati style of wearing a saree requires the pallu to be
draped artistically in the front rather than over the shoulder. Sarees
with eye-catching magnificent pallus are best worn in this style. The
Bengali style of wearing a sari has no pleats and the pallu has a bunch
of keys that falls over the shoulder. The Corgi style of draping a saree
involves tying the pleats in the rear and a small portion of the pallu
is placed over the shoulder. The Maharashtrian nauvari style of draping
a saree involves wearing the nine yards of fabric in a style that is
traditional to the region. In Tamil Nadu, certain sections of society
wear the nine-yard saree in a wrap around style sans pleats
1. Tuck the plain end of the saree into the petticoat and continue
tucking till you take a complete turn from right to left. Adjust the
lower end of the saree to the height required. Ideally wear your
footwear so that you drape the sari to the right length.
2. Create pleats with the sari. About 6–9 pleats would do with most
saris. Here it is essential to see that the pleats are even and fall
3. Tuck the pleats into the waist petticoat, taking care to see that the
pleats are turned towards the left.
4. The remaining portion of the saree must be turned once around the
body and then draped over the left shoulder.
5. Arrange the pleats on this part of the saree and then pin them up on
the left shoulder to prevent the pallu from falling off.
Before draping the saree, ensure that you wear a well-fitting blouse
and petticoat. Do not wear a flared petticoat. Getting a fall stitched
on the saree bottom ensures a better drape. While some women prefer to
wear the top portion of the saree loosely over the shoulder and allow
the rest to fall gracefully, others pin up the front pallu in pleats for
a neat look. Use a pin to secure the pallu on the blouse to prevent the
sari from falling in front.