Contemporary Sari-ing

#SariNotSorry, #IsItTooLateNowToSaySari, #WhatOtherSariHashtagsDidIMiss?

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It is truly a blessing to be able to exist in an ecosystem where traditions are transformed into distinctive fashion pieces. No matter which region in India, the influence of culture (and Bollywood) on fashion has been subtle yet profound. The sari dates way back to the Victorian era (approx 1800-1900) and all these years later, we have myriad renditions of the garment that honestly leave me both fascinated and confused. Having experimented with all options available to me (mostly via mum’s wardrobe) like Kanjivarams, chiffon saris, tulles & georgettes, I put together a handy guide to contemporary sari dressing for the woman in her 20’s:

Fusion Sarry Styles (sorry I couldn’t help it. I will try not to make bad One Direction puns next time): 

 Cold shoulder blouses or cropped sweaters with flowy sari fabrics like chiffon: great way to repeat your sari for a not-exclusively-Indian event.
• Button down shirts/ blouses with stiffer saris like Kanjivarams, Banarasi or a Muslin will be perfect for a simple brunch/ lunch.
 Outerwear pieces like jackets, blazers, vests (both cropped or floor-length) worn even with a solid sari make for wonderful cocktail/ reception options. You can add a belt to cinch at the waist.
 If you can drape a sari with skinny jeans, printed pants, leggings, and trousers in general, you don’t even need to look into pre-stitched options!

Here is a list of cool sari pallu draping ideas.

Sari Blouse Ideas: 

I always get more than one blouse made for my outfits, one for a traditional event, and one where modesty isn’t a top concern. This is an inexpensive, sustainable alternative to buying a whole new outfit. For the traditional blouse, I use the blouse piece that is included inside the sari. For the second blouse, I aim to get statement pieces that I can wear as a crop top with a lehenga or pants.

• Play around with sleeve lengths (sleeveless, half-sleeved, elbow-length, 3/4th sleeve, full sleeve, cold shoulder) and the back of your blouse to create something distinctive. I’ve had backless, bow-tied-at-the-backbuttons-at-the-back and all kinds of blouses made!
 Ask your designer or tailor for beading/ embroidery work to make a heavier blouse. This could be scattered all over the blouse, only on the piping, or fully covering the blouse. My blue-grey blouse was originally paired with a dark blue chiffon sari (yes, monochrome works with Indian too!) but the embroidery on it has enough colors for me to easily pair it with other pieces.
 Bodysuits, collared blouses, high-neck embellished blouses (I’m looking at you, Sabyasachi Mukherjee), peplum tops, and pleather blouses with zippers are all cool, edgy options that you can easily restyle.

Readymade sari

Pre-stitched/ concept saris you need to Google right now: 

 Dhoti sari - you can attempt a dhoti-drape over leggings if you fancy. Poshpride is a current favorite although I haven't bought anything from them yet.
 Palazzo sari - with a matching crop top, you can drape this yourself, too. Rheson has some cool pieces right now.
 Sari with a cape
 Pant sari - Poshpride has some fantastic options