A 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.
The word “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.
Saris 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 Saris 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.
Different 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.
The etymology of the word sari or saree is from the Sanskrit word 'sati', which means strip of cloth. This evolved into the Prakrit 'sadi' and was later anglicised into sari (often spelled as saree).
Indian civilization has always placed a tremendous importance on unstitched fabrics like the sari and dhoti, which are given sacred overtones. The belief was that such a fabric was pure; perhaps because in the distant past needles of bone were used for stitching. Hence even to the present day, while attending pujas or other sacred ceremonies, the men dress up in dhotis while women wear the sari.
The Indian Sari, like so many other textiles, gives the lie to the hierarchical distinction made between fine arts and crafts. The approximate size of a sari is 47 by 216 inches. Although it is an untailored length of cloth, the fabric is highly structured and its design vocabulary very sophisticated. The main field of the sari is framed on three sides by a decorative frieze of flowering plants, figurative images, paisleys, or abstract symbols.
Two of the borders define the edges of the length of the sari and the third comprises the end piece, which is a more complex version of the other two borders. This end piece is the part of the sari that is draped over the shoulder and left to hang over the back or front, known popularly as the Pallu or Anchal.
The pallu usually elaborates the theme found in the two borders and the actual field of the sari, a sort of repetition and amplification in the manner of the Indian musical mode, the raga. This beautiful metaphor thus compares the two narrow borders to the introductory recital of the pure notes and the pallu to the song.
The design of the Indian Saree, whether woven, embroidered, painted or block-printed, needs to maintain the proportion and balance between the actual field of the sari, the borders and the pallu. The pattern creates its own rhythm.
Each sari in the modern era requires a matching set of blouse and underskirt for draping it. All saris in our collection come along with a matching blouse piece. You can also have the blouse and petticoat tailored to your custom measurements, at a nominal extra cost.
To provide your measurements, click on the Buy Now icon of the sari of your choice.
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