When it comes to fashion ensembles, perhaps the most versatile of them would be the classic Indian saree. And why shouldn't it be, a saree is just one piece of cloth which is unbiased, non-judgemental, timeless and ever accepting. A saree never cares about your waist size, your body length, your age, or your draping preferences. So let's say that saree isn't just the 6 yards of fabric, but a lifestyle - because it adapts to every moment of our lives.
Sarees are for all occasions. So if asked the question, when do you drape a saree, women will usually answer whenever and wherever I can. There is a saree for a mom and for her daughter, (which can in fact be worn interchangeably too), a saree for festivities and a saree for casual days, a saree for skinny girls and a perfect one for the curvy divas, a saree for the tall and a saree for the one who isn't so. And then there are so many styles in which you can drape a saree, and feel the sartorial magic every time you drape the saree and enthrall your own senses.
Here is a mini guide to give you a sneak peek into the 5 timeless avatars, handpicked from different Indian cultures, in which the sass and elan of the saree can be closely experienced:
Acing the Bengali look
Traditional bengali style of draping a saree has been very popular these days particularly when your saree has richly a embroidered or a heavily patterned border. The look is considered as the easiest way to drape the saree, however the final look may seem totally the opposite. The mathod engages two wide pleats and a large key ring by keys to grasp down the double wrapped pallu. Handloom sarees are the ideal ones which can carry this style perfectly.
The Flawless Nauvari Style
Drape the saree in the Maharashtrian style if you want to stand out from the crowd. From its dramatic draping technique and a rustic charm, this style has the most unique design to flaunt especially during traditional festive occasions. The Marathi style saree has to be 9 yards (alternative to the usual 6 yards) plus there is no petticoat required to drape it. The saree is usually paired up with a nose ring and floral jewellery.
The Seedha Pallu of Gujarat
The highlight of the Gujarati style draping technique is the pallu on the front side. Again the draping style is common when your saree has a rich patterned pallu which becomes the first feature to show off. In Gujarati style, the pleats are tucked and draped to the left side leaving the left side open and taking the pallu all over the right shoulder, spread across the bodice. Complicated no?
The Contemporary Dhoti Style
Lets move to the newly born styles in sync with the contemporary world, the most common one being the dhoti style
Inspired from the traditional men's dhoti, this style has gained popularity amongst fashionistas. Wearing your saree in this style is an art it itself. Not only does does this style allow extra movement, but becomes the ideal choice of draping a saree if your blouse is too eclectic and something to flaunt.
Belt Up your 6 yards
This style goes straight to the traditions where the Kamarband was an exquisite accessory worn by women. The draping of the saree is just basic. Just the finishing touches of a Kamarband or otherwise a modish metallic or embroidered belt to clinch your waist does the magic, giving a modern and edgy flair to any average saree look.
Sarees are a mask of celebration and reflect the relationship of the Indian women with traditional dressing up. And what keeps us connected to it is its timeless flair and the perfect balance it strikes between powerful and demure, reigning supreme in our hearts, in their original avatars or the fresh quirky makeovers.