quintessential item of Indian fashion is undoubtedly the Sari. In fact, when
considering Indian style, the first thing that many often think of is the sari.
“sari” itself comes from the Sanskrit word “sati”, which means strip of cloth. From
the very meaning of the word, the Indian sari, which can also be spelled as
“saree”, is one long piece of cloth, which is unstitched and usually measures
between four and a half to nine yards long and twenty-four to forty-seven
inches wide. Now, a sari is not just any simple piece of cloth. Sarees come
in a wide range of eye-catching colors, and striking designs that often feature
various prints, embroideries and embellishments, and are made of different
fabrics. There are said to be approximately thirty different regional varieties
of Sarees in India. The nation’s well-known tradition and expertise in dyeing,
printing and silk weaving fabrics all come alive in the countless saris worn by
women in India and beyond the country’s shores. The
innumerable designs and styles of saris that one can choose from is matched by
the many different ways that one can wear a sari. A sari’s long length allows
one to drape it comfortably and fashionably around the body, which is
particularly favorable when worn in tropical countries and hot climates like in India.
regions in India have different styles and techniques for draping the sari.
There are also different draping styles that are appropriate for different
occasions, including the Bengali, Nivi, Marathi, and Gujarati styles, to name
just a few of them. One of the most popular ways of wearing a sari is the Nivi
style, which pairs the sari with a tight-fitting blouse, called a choli, and a
long skirt or petticoat, known as a ghagra. The choli usually ends below the
bust, in the style of a crop top as women today would be familiar with. The ghagra
skirt, on the other hand, sits right at the waist and falls to the floor.
However, one can actually drape a sari around the body and forego wearing a
blouse or skirt with it altogether. While it
may seem like the weaving, embellishments, embroideries and the many other
different designs that saris are very well-known for are purely for aesthetics,
there’s more to it than meets the eye. Saris are actually specially constructed
and designed with heavier sections in order for it to drape around the body
just right. A sari’s border or side hem is often woven with a heavier density.
The same goes for the sari’s decorative end piece, known as the “pallu” or
“anchal”, which is heavily adorned in order for it to drape beautifully along
the body. The origins
of the sari have clear and close ties to the very history of India. It’s a
brilliant piece of fashion that transcends time and will never go out of style.
Today, more than a long strip of unstitched cloth and more than a part of one’s
wardrobe, the sari is draped around the nation’s identity and woven with its
rich and vibrant culture.
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