Girl Talk: #SariNotSorry

Welcome to Girl Talk! Every few weeks, Priyanka, Payal and I will get together to chat on this platform. We dedicate the first edition of this series to one of our fave fashion things — the sari. Happy reading! (Feel free to share your sari stories)  

Do you know how to wear a sari?
Priyanka: Yes, but my draping skills need work. I still need help with my pleats and can’t get them to crisply fall in line as they do with my mom. Thank God for the new age designers who are making casual drapes okay again…!

Shradha: Yes! Saris are my jam and as a life hack expert, I have found ways to wear a sari in under a minute, without a mirror and with zero safety pins!  

Payal: For the most part, but pleats can still be a struggle sometimes. I still envy my mother’s ability to get it right in just 5 minutes.

When was the last time you wore one?
Priyanka: A couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t wait for an occasion to break out my new Rimzim chord sari so went ahead and wore it at home. It pairs well with a glass of full-bodied red. :)

Shradha: Last month at a friend’s 40th. The dresscode was Indian but I’m pretty sure I would have worn one even without the nudge. It was a black Sabyasachi from back in 2006 and I tripped on the dance floor only once!   

Payal: Last Sunday. Paired a Raw Mango blouse with my Fatherland sari and draped it the Bengali way.

What kind of saris do you find hard to resist?
Priyanka: Old school kanjeevarams in new colorways. (Am scouting for a gorgeous anthracite grey if anyone has leads!)

Shradha: Jewel tone kanjeevarams but sometimes I have this sudden urge to hoard chiffons. (Schizophrenic, I know.)

Payal: Having lived outside of India for the most part of my life, I didn’t really wear saris a lot. It didn’t help that was a huge tomboy growing up. I am making a conscious effort though to wear more now.  I am drawn to soft cottons as they are easy to wear but you can’t go wrong with a traditional silk. It just makes you feel regal! I will always be a sucker for Orissa Handlooms but currently am on the hunt for a good vibrant Patan Patola!

Your top 5 saris?  

Priyanka:

  • My wedding sari which was a lovely purple pattu with an orange border and pallu. Besides the sentimental value, it also reminds me of the hilarious conversations we all (the family) had during the sari shopping process… The choice of color was quite controversial! :p
  • My first designer sari was a Sabyasachi… It was the classic white with red border one. I felt very grown up when I bought it! I remember throwing around the words “it is an investment”. :)
  • Anamika Khanna printed sari with that Rajasthani motif. It is super easy to wear and drape, and works for multiple occasions. I have worn it with heavy jewelry to a wedding and more minimalistically to drinks. And it gets me compliments every single time.
  • My mom had this red brocade Benarasi sari from her college days which was literally falling apart. I had it made into a skirt and wore it to my mehendi. Besides its vintage appeal, love the fact that we were able to breathe few more years of life into it.
  • My sister’s wedding sari which is a pink pattu with both gold and silver zari and woven paisley motif. I don’t think I ever loved a sari as much as I did/do that one. (Also I think that’s the very first time it hit me, my sister’s all grown-up and that is part of its appeal too!)

Shradha:

  • An ivory fabric from Calcutta. It was originally bought for a suit but it turned into a sari partly because I couldn’t find a good tailor and partly because I was lazy (Okay, mostly because I was lazy). I have worn this ‘sari’ more than 10 times because it’s just such a chameleon and feels new each time.
  • A red Dhakai from my ma-in-law. I wore it on my bou bhat and more recently to my sister-in-law’s haldi. This one invariably wants me to bring out the works — shakha pola, sindoor, big bindi and a gold chain!  
  • A coral Benarasi by Sabyasachi. It was a wedding present from him and I love the simplicity of this sari, its classic border and contrast vintage Benarasi blouse.
  • A black tulle with these supersized, convent work red roses that I inherited from my mom. It looks less fragile than it sounds but I still haven’t had the courage to wear it out!  
  • When I was 10, my dad bought me a ‘serious’ sari from Visakhapatnam. It was a rani pink and gold and I remember looking at it just in passing. My grandmother wrapped it in muslin and kept it away. Years later, it became my wedding sari and also the most beautiful way to commemorate my father.

Payal:

  • My Bichitrapuri ikat silk. It was a gift from my cousins at my wedding.
  • My yellow Sampalpuri inherited from my mother. It’s light as a feather.
  • I have a black and gold Baluchari and I love it, not just for the pallu that says a story but just how striking and timeless the color combo is.
  • My Anavila linen that helped jumpstart my love again for saris!
  • Though one is not a sari anymore, on one of my trips to Cochin, I bought two Kasavu saris and transformed one into a suit. I love them both!

Next on your sari shopping list?
Priyanka:  An Anavila linen or a Rashmi Varma draped number.

Shradha: An ivory tone-on-tone chikankari sari. But like a basic white tee, it’s surprisingly hard to find!

Payal: A Patan Patola. But given that is mostly hot in Texas, I need to find me some soft cottons that I can wear more often. Decisions. Decisions. Le sigh.

Who is your sari icon?
Priyanka: I know this answer seems like a cop-out but I love anyone who wears a sari like I would a jeans and tee… Effortlessly, and  matter of factly. I have grown up surrounded by women who wore saris all their lives without once seeming like they need something fresher, newer, different. Saris were a routine and never once did it seem stale. Women in my life aside, MGD in her chiffon saris- what I want to be when I grow up. Konkona with a cross-body slung across just so, so easy! Roohi (Jaikishan) or Natasha (Poonawala) wearing their saris with a twist and how! Make me want to try too. Shobhana Bhartia who wears hers like a boss! Maria, Mini, Kangana who all make it look easy and fun! These are all names top of my head.

Shradha: My grandmother who never wore anything but a sari. My aunts who wore organza as if it was an easy knit, Manish Malhotra’s heroines who made the sari so sexy on screen and Sabyasachi Mukherjee. I don’t think I would have learned to love and wear the sari the way I did had he not made me rethink the sari. Of late I’m also obsessed with the way Kangana Ranaut wears a sari.

Payal: My mom! As a banker, she would wear saris every day to work and just make it look so easy. I particularly remember her from when she worked in the Middle East, where she would wear these cream saris with the Ganga Jamuna border to work everyday. The bank had this dress code to include red and green somehow to match the flag colors. I remember it  A) Because the work culture then wasn’t very open to women wearing saris. They thought it was too revealing. Eye roll! B) Because it still didn’t stop her from wearing them! She was and still is a rockstar!

What kind of blouses do you love & what kind are you least likely to wear?
Priyanka: Currently am smitten by those old school blouses with sleeves that hit just above the elbow, high-back and a v-neck up in front. I’m least likely to wear a sweetheart neckline that features an illusion panel and sheer embellished sleeves. I saw this recently and am still a little scarred by it.

Shradha: I don’t experiment with blouses at all. I wear either three-quarter sleeve blouses with a modest round neck or sleeveless blouses with a deep back. They are on the opposite sides of the spectrum but the only two styles that work for me. I’m least likely to wear blouses that are ‘over-designed’. (I have to admit that not so long ago, I bought a Forever 21 black crop top to wear in an a SOS sari situation!)   

Payal: I like the classic sari blouse design. Of late, loving the Raw Mango ones. What I don’t like are ones with heavy bling designs or crazy cutout patterns on the back.

PS: Keep up with our sari (and other style) stories on Instagram! Follow us here: Priyanka, Payal and Shradha.

50 Responses

  1. Janvi at | | Reply

    @Payal: Where did you buy those lovely saris in the second and third frame? :)

    Also, I really wish the pics uploaded showcased the saris a tad bit more :)

    1. Payal at | | Reply

      Telephone one is from Brahma Karma. Third black one is a classic Orissa Handloom. It’s a Bitchitrapuri silk.

  2. Devika at | | Reply

    How is ‘a sudden urge to hoard chiffons’ schizophrenic?

    1. Jtp at | | Reply

      I get what she means. Kanjeevarams are such classics and so classy. While chiffons, I dunno, the first thing that comes to my mind is Sridevi rain dance :), kind of dhinchak.

    2. S at | | Reply

      I had the same thought

  3. Jenny at | | Reply

    Ah!Super duper post and endeavour.A visual delight , to see you all in your sari-ed avatars.

  4. Akanksha at | | Reply

    Aww u guys.. I loved reading about all your sari stories and preferences… The way you’ll are passionate about saris makes me want to wear more often too and go sari shopping? so badly.
    I married in Punjab so in family functions it’s a sea of suits and gowns and love to stand out in a sari.
    P.S.- Whatever lil I know about weaves and motifs now, is all thanks to HHC.

  5. Senorita at | | Reply

    so much fun!

  6. Vas at | | Reply

    From your About section – “How come there are no pictures of either of you on the site? Will you show pictures of yourself here so we can see what you look like? Considering this isn’t a personal style blog, no, you won’t see our pictures on here. But you are welcome to follow our personal Instagram pages for more! “…… # justsaying :)

    1. Payal at | | Reply

      Clearly the About section also needs updating. :) P.S. Didn’t think anyone read that page. :P

  7. KC at | | Reply

    Great post. Love sarees and this is exactly my cup of tea. More please on sarees.

  8. fromchi-town at | | Reply

    Tht was a lovely read. Thanks ladies for making my morning cuppa’ more interesting. You have tempted me to don one of my sarees.
    @Shraddha – if you have any leads on the ivory tone on tone chikankari, pls do tell…. I have been hunting for one for a long time.

    1. SS at | | Reply

      Anjul Bhandari does beautiful chikankari. I saw a pink chikankari saree on her Instagram that took away my breath! I’m sure she has some thing lovely in ivory tones too.

  9. The Pizza Ghoul at | | Reply

    Love this feature! Speaking of saris, you need to add a “Bhang” sari to your wardrobe. Please check out the facebook page, the founder and designer is Swathy Jagannathan.

  10. SS at | | Reply

    My top 5 sarees come with stories attached to them (as I’m sure most sarees do!).
    1. My aunt’s soft blue and pink chanderi that I wore to my class 12th farewell! I won a (silly) award for the most popular (ahem ahem) girl. I have never seen a prettier saree and just a few months ago she was ready to donate it and that’s when I put my food down and swiftly proceeded to snatch it from her. It is very delicate and over 25 years old but no way I’m letting it go. I plan to make a dupatta out of it and wear to a summer wedding.
    2. My own Sagan saree that is a lovely white Kota Doria with an ornate hot pink border. I picked it only 4-5 hours before the ceremony (!) and was told off by every woman at home that I have lost my mind because which bride wears white to their own wedding ceremony?! Well, clearly this bride did..with a wispy side bun and chandbalis no less ;).
    3. A haldi yellow chanderi that my aunt and mom picked for me to wear at my lagan pooja. It’s light and airy, with the prettiest gold lotus motifs on the palla and a thin maroon border.
    4. A dusty pink/champagne saree that I fell in love with the moment I saw it at a small boutique in Delhi. I had gone shopping for something to wear to my cousin’s wedding only two days later and I knew that it was mine the moment I saw it in that tiny store in Shahpur Jat. That color looks so beautiful on indian skin tones and the border and palla are embellished with a bazillion tiny motis and sophisticated sequins. It’s not the easiest saree to wear because the heavy border weighs it down but it was a hit with everyone. It’s also a color that can be worn by women across age groups. My mom can wear it with as much ease as my sister who is a few years younger than me.
    5. I’m sure my next favorite saree will be the one that I plan to steal from my MIL when I raid her closet this wedding season. She is one of those women who wears a saree every single day of her life and can drape it perfectly in her sleep. She mostly has weaves and handlooms in her collection, and that’s the kind of saree I want to remember her by forever.

    1. Payal at | | Reply

      “which bride wears white to their own wedding ceremony”… HAHAHA!

      1. Ss at | | Reply

        I should have clarified that this is a North Indian non-Catholic wedding we are talking about. Hahaha.

        1. Payal at | | Reply

          Relatives are like that. I wanted to go simple for my wedding and wear less jewellery. My mom saw one lady arrive wearing a lot of jewellery and went into that mode, “how can the bride not be wearing the most amount of gold at the wedding!”. She piled on every bit she could find and used emotional blackmail so that I would keep it on! :P

          1. SS at |

            I hear ya. I wore only a choker, earrings and small tikka on my wedding day and my cousin was like half the guests and their mother and wearing more jewelry than you are. She was right of course but that’s how I roll and the guests and their mother will have to deal with it. Hahaha.

        2. MK at | | Reply

          Telugu Hindu brides also wear white with red(usually) for their weddings

          1. Ss at |

            I specifically mentioned north-indian wedding. Also, Priyanka it would have been nice to voice your opinion directly to my comment here rather than making a whole Instagram post about it. I thought it was rude. Again, had specified that it was a north indian Hindu wedding where the bride wearing white still remains a taboo.

          2. Priyanka at |

            Sorry you thought that post was directed towards you, it wasn’t. I read the comment where you had already clarified what you meant to say. Also after a decade of blogging, I assure you I’d rather engage directly.

  11. jadine at | | Reply

    I enjoyed this post, thanks! You ladies look lovely. The saree will eternally be my favorite garment, although I can rarely muster the stamina to press and wear one. Drycleaning costs a bomb in the US so the good old ironing board it is.

    I need a long mirror and at least four safety pins to get battle-ready. :) This year I’ve had three saree adventures so far: a black and gold sheer cotton with lotus motifs (emerald green blouse), a royal blue silk with tiny pink polka dots (fuchsia pink blouse), and a yellow floral chiffon (lavender blouse), all with pearls.

    I do admire Kangana Ranaut’s saree style. :)

  12. Rs at | | Reply

    Hi Girls!…I love buying and wearing my saris…but always fear the storage and upkeep part…how do you store your saris…???

  13. DF at | | Reply

    PP&S, Love your Saree stories. You gals are gorgeous and I appreciate that you choose traditional Sarees as your favorites, and not the bastardized version of it , the so called ‘fushion saree’.

    Sarees are like mothers. Forgiving, timeless and has a way of making one feel and look good.

    Looking forward to more Saree stories.

  14. ashwini at | | Reply

    Loved this post. I go for these handloom expos to look at the sarees just to give myself a visual & haptic treat. All our weaving traditions and motifs, each with a story in itself are slowly vanishing because of lack of demand/ patronage. Please do continue the saree thread so some of us may wear them and buy some more.

  15. Shreya at | | Reply

    Being a bengali woman i can drape a sari perfectly even in my sleep…but its hard for me to wear them for more than 3 to 4 hours….

  16. Specimen at | | Reply

    A good read! Priyanka! Would love to see your top 5 sarees, particularly the purple-orange one.waiting for your future posts!

    1. Priyanka at | | Reply

      Thanks! I will post pictures on my Instagram (@lattefiles) very soon.

  17. deepti at | | Reply

    please post a video on how to drape a saree

    1. soso at | | Reply

      :D I keep looking for it on youtube
      finally found one that helped me =D
      look up vithya saree drape..

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