Mom, an avid saree wearer and a textile enthusiast, Rushika of ‘Life In A Saree‘ takes a keen interest in handwoven fabrics. Instead of reaching for sarees only on occasions, she’s been wearing them to work nearly all the time now.
And luckily for her many followers on Instagram, she chronicles the sarees and the stories behind them, one image at a time. You can follow her on Instagram here.
In this column, she shares with us her three picks for sari-wearing beginners.
Three Sarees To Start With If You’ve Never Worn One
It is very difficult for me to pick just three from the vast variety of weaves out there! But if I am to play favorites, I’d say start with one saree that can last a 12 hour workday, one which can transition well from work to after hours, and one which is glamorous enough to be worn to occasions, the common thread between all three being comfort and easy of draping.
1. Kota Doria
Soft, gauzy Kota Doria sarees are a great place to begin with if one is looking to incorporate sarees as work wear. These may be all cotton or cotton silk, though it is best to steer clear of the stiffer and shinier synthetic, factory made mimic called Supernet. With the characteristic square chequered pattern akin to graph paper checks which is technically called Khat, wearing a Kota Doria is as good as wearing woven air! These are a popular base fabric for surface techniques like tie and dye (most leheriya), hand block printing or hand embroidery like Chikankari. The feel and the fall of an unstarched Kota Doria isn’t too different from wearing say, a chiffon, but minus the slipperiness of the latter, which makes them a fantastic starting point to foray into cotton sarees.
In Pochampalli Ikat And Odisha Ikat
For sarees that can go from day to night, work to play, look no further than Ikats! Ikat is a technique of resist dying of the yarns before they get woven which is practiced in places ranging from Uzbekistan to Indonesia and Japan to South America. India has a rich Ikat weaving tradition concentrated in Gujarat, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and parts of Tamilnadu. An Ikat saree may be all cotton, silk-cotton or all silk. From the intricate figurative patterns of Odisha Ikat, to the striking geometric and color block Ikats from Andhra/Telangana, to the exquisite Paatan Patola double Ikats from Gujarat – there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.
In Kota Doria And Tanchhoi
Nothing like a Benarasi silk for days when you need to dress to impress! Did you know that the term encompasses a variety of silks, right from bling fests like the Kataan silk Benarasis to the stunning Khaddi georgettes, to subtle raw silk Benarasis to intricate Tanchhoi silks without a speck of Zari?! Regardless of the variant, a Benarasi has been a part of the occasion wear lexicon of vast swathes of India since centuries and more often than not, you’re likely to find an old Benarasi lurking in your closet. These are such timeless classics that even a decades old Benarasi is unlikely to look dated if styled with a contemporary blouse.
Start with these three and you are well on your way!