Sarees are an important part of every Indian woman’s wardrobe, with many boasting their enviable collections built over several years or sometimes even generations. The draped garment is a go-to for special occasions such as weddings and festivals, as well as for important events at work or college. Sarees are a rite of passage to womanhood in many cultures and hold significant meaning in Indian traditions.
You can never go wrong with a saree – it is timeless, versatile, and adds unmatched elegance. Looking to build your own saree collection? Curious to learn more about why sarees are a must-have? Keep reading as we delve into the reasons why sarees have been loved (and continue to be adored) by generations of Indian women.
Sarees reflect the vast cultural diversity in India, as every state has its own traditional textiles. From Jammu and Kashmir’s Jamawar sarees to Tamil Nadu’s Kanjeevaram and from Maharashtra’s Paithani to Assam’s Mekhela Chadar – the list is never-ending. The styles of sarees also change depending on the different regions in each state. Along with fabrics, every region boasts unique embroidery techniques such as zari or zardosi, gota work, phulkari, kantha, and kamal kadai. Printing methods such as bandhani, kalamkari, patola, ikat, and batik also lend a special touch to traditional Indian sarees.
Religious and Cultural Significance
Sarees are a part of Hindu traditions, as they are offered at temples to goddesses and are considered auspicious. The garment is also part of rituals that celebrate coming-of-age, such as the Ritu Kala Samskara from the South Indian Hindu traditions, where a girl wears a half saree or langa davani for the first time. It is typically celebrated when a girl hits puberty. Wearing sarees is also a rite of passage for many Indian women, as the way a saree is draped often signifies the marital status, and religious beliefs, of a woman. Sarees are also connected to important milestones like Class 10 and 12 farewell events and graduation ceremonies for many women in India.
Sarees act as a thread connecting generations as many women pass down their cherished sarees, especially those worn on special occasions, to the younger generations. Brides often choose to wear handed-down sarees for ceremonies as an ode to their mother or grandmother. You can also start your own traditions as many women are opting to get dresses and other garments designed using the fabric from sarees. Even if you don’t have heirlooms, you can add vintage sarees that reflect your cultural identity to your collection. There are many options available, and the descriptions and reviews are a big help to ensure you are getting the right garment when you buy sarees online.
Sarees undoubtedly give you an elegant look, and the proof is in almost every Bollywood movie! From Sridevi and Raveena Tandon’s timeless chiffon sarees in the 90s to Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na (2004), and most recently Alia Bhatt’s in RARKPK (2023) – the saree looks by the actors are as iconic as these films are as iconic as. The allure of the classy yet sensuous look is what makes sarees so popular among women. From blouse length and back designs to the width of your pallu – you can choose the coverage you want and customise every element of the outfit to match your preferences.
Confidence and Poise
Sarees accentuate the curves and highlight all the right features of your body. Who would not feel confident in a garment like that? The pallu also moves with you, lending a graceful touch to the wearer. You can also decide the vibe you want to go for with different fabrics – light fabrics like chiffon and georgette will give you the ultimate romantic feel, while silk and velvet sarees add a royal touch. Pro tip: Opt for saree body shapers as opposed to the traditional petticoat skirt and wear heels with your sarees so that you can maintain the right posture. This will help you walk gracefully and give your look that added touch of elegance.
You may know the most common way of draping a saree is the Nivi style – pleated and tucked in at the waist and then draped over the left shoulder. This style gives you the option of pinning up the pallu to keep it out of the way or leaving it flowing for a romantic look. You can get many other looks by draping the same saree in different ways. The front pallu drape is most popular in Gujarat and helps you show off the intricate pallu designs. From the traditional Bengali drape and Coorgi style, to double saree draping and the vintage Mumtaz-style layering, sarees are the perfect garment if you love to experiment.
Wearing a saree can never be boring with the multitudes of styling tips and tricks. Cinch your waist with a belt or a waist chain to get an hourglass silhouette. Switch the blouse for a shirt, a cropped top, or a blazer for an edgy outfit. Drape it to resemble a lehenga, or completely replace the underskirt with trousers for a fusion look. You can also completely change the look of your saree with the right jewellery pieces. While traditional temple jewellery and kundan work will add to the classic ethnic vibe, dainty jewellery with modern designs will help achieve a contemporary look. For a cool-girl fit, wear embellished sneakers with your saree.
Don’t know how to drape a saree? For times when you can’t get a trusted helper (or mom), there are many detailed instruction videos online that can help. Pro tip: Experiment with a practice saree before trying it out on the main day. As draping sarees can take time, pre-draped sarees are also gaining popularity among millennials and Gen-Z to get the same timeless elegance with ease. This just proves that sarees can never go out of style as the younger generations are looking for ways to do the garment and even inventing styles.