The Sari or The Saree

(A traditional garment worn by Indian women that showcases the midriff.)

Is it sari or saree? Does it really matter; after all it’s just a piece of long cloth.Well not quite. Good thing too otherwise this would be very short. 🙄

Let’s deconstruct this item of clothing.

⁃ firstly a saree is nothing without the petticoat. A tad impossible actually😉. The key point to note here is that the petticoat must be tied so tight that it nearly winds you and causes a deep indent around your tummy. The sari will cling onto the petticoat.

⁃ The blouse does what it says ; keeps you decent. But be prepared to go short,backless,sleeveless but try not to opt for the back closing ones. I can’t keep warning you.

⁃ the saree can be anything from 5-9yards in length and 2-4feet in drop (source Wiki and mum’s collection). However to a newbie wearer it can feel like a 100yards😂.It can be available in anything from cotton to chiffon to silk. Most regions of India 🇮🇳 have a type. I can think of Bandini and Benarsi 🤔.

⁃ The ‘fall’ is a protective border that gets sewn onto the bottom and underside to protect the sari and give to some weight. Many an hour was spent following mum around looking just for the right shade to match the sari. Let’s also not forget the fabric quality of the fall. And then the sewing on of fall onto the sari. It was a ritual that went on and on and on.

⁃ The palla is the glamorous element. The section thrown over your right shoulder(in most cases other than if you choose to wear it Gujrati style…don’t try this at home without a Gujrati friend). It is often the most decorated section as it swishes behind your exposed sexy back.

⁃ The pleats . These are the gathered bits at the front that make you look fatter than you are! But look wonderfully elegant if straight and even (fat chance unless you’re an expert or have had them sewn in!). This is also the part where the first safety pin is applied , if you have any sense.

I thought I would remind you (well some of you) of the first time you put on this item of clothing. In brief the sari is going to get tucked into the petticoat and then wrapped around once; followed by making some pleats;these will get tucked in around your bellybutton(Safety Pin 1);the remaining fabric will get casually thrown over your right shoulder (expert wearer) or get secured onto blouse (Safety Pin 2).

There are three scenarios that can take place.

The first is that all the above happens in about 5 minutes and you’re off to the long awaited function.

More likely the second scenario features you and your partner (how very modern of me not to say husband)standing about 6 feet away and the dialogue goes something like this …..”

Don’t move .. I’ll come towards you… no just hold the fabric taught… I’m trying to hold the sari carefullly between fingers and thumb and creating folds 🤷🏽‍♀️shit…that’s not enough pleats …carefully move back just one step. Got it. Now give me the fattest safety pin – yes the one I gave you earlier for safe keeping 🤦🏽‍♀️. Ouch no I didn’t mean to stab myself. Now to hide the tummy and throw the palla over. Right now for other safety pin , no not a big one. Yes I can walk in this, but just pigeon steps though. Let’s go before it all comes undone “.

And the final scenario would be with an expert Draper( normally mum, aunty or smartass friend who knew everything 🙄). This scenario would involve you standing like a statue with your arms up whilst you were dressed – holding safety pins.

Mum and so many women made/make it look so easy as an everyday item of clothing and not saving it for parties and special events. I am that person,but I would like to turn up to the next Sales & Marketing Meeting in one 😉. Wedding red and widow’s white will forever be in our minds. It’s the garment that gave us Mahabharata (those who know just know) and the amazingly beautiful Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sunderam (who cares about the first kiss).

Wanna try … come along and we can explore my collection. The beauty of this garment …. it’s one size.



5 thoughts on “The Sari or The Saree

  1. Hey Seema,
    Although from India , with multiple lectures from mom and aunts I am still trying to fathom the enigma of this saree or Sari . You have explicitly describe this along with the manoeuvre in your fashionista style again!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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