When it comes to unstitched garments worn since ancient times, the saree is popularly known as one of the oldest unstitched ensemble that is popular even in modern times. In India, not only does it have a cultural significance and is the preferred garb for most traditional and religious occasions, but it is also known as the most sensual and glamorous wear for all women. It is a good idea to have an understanding of the origin of sarees, their significance in the modern world and inform you about tips to drape them perfectly and pair them with the right blouse.
The Origin Of The Saree And Its Development Through History
During the Indus Valley Civilization, both men and women draped pieces of cloth, which was available mostly in cotton. However, the draping style used by them did not resemble sarees and was more of a loincloth. When the Aryans came to India, they adopted the cotton clothes worn by the inhabitants of the land.
With the passage of time, the women started wearing a cloth draped across the bosom, which was the earliest form of a blouse or choli. The lower part of the garment, called the neevi was now a more graceful version of what the Indus Valley people made popular. The neevi fell to the toes in a graceful way and resembled the pleated portion of the conventional sarees.
Still later, the choli and the neevi were paired with an ornate shawl which was draped around the upper part of the body and resembled a saree pallu. This was decorated intricately and embellished with stones and embroidery as this was the part of the outfit which was most visible. With further influence of the Greek and the Roman styles of clothing, the choli and the neevi kept evolving with the passage of time till it started resembling the way sarees are draped in the modern world.
Saree Dyeing And Designing Techniques
One of the most important reasons for the popularity of sarees all over the world was the beautiful dyeing and design techniques. The brilliant colour and design patterns of sarees that the Indian women draped were the subject of envy for the rest of the world. The luminescent colours worn by the high society Indian women were shipped to various parts of the world and many travellers have left detailed accounts of beautiful saree clad Indian women.
The traditional dyes that were used to design sarees were all naturally made from turmeric, flowers and berries, indigo plants, and several other trees. Some colours like the kesari and purple were considered to have royal significance and these dyes were expensive to make and the hue was brilliant and nothing like the normal dyes used on clothes worn by the normal people.
With the gradual passage of time, several new types of weaving and designing techniques were introduced to Indian craftsmen. For example, with the oncoming of the Muslims, textile crafts such as phulkari were introduced to the common people, while the Bedouins from Central Asia brought new geometric designs and new shades. These new design techniques were used to weave new sarees and thus a combining of several different types of weaving and design techniques took place.
Today, probably each geographical region of India has a certain type of saree indigenous to it. The beautiful silk sarees of South India and the rustic cotton sarees from Bengal are some great examples.
Tips To Drape A Saree Perfectly And Choose The Right Blouse
Similar to the several different types of sarees available in India, there are numerous ways to drape a saree. The style of the drape depends mostly on two things. Firstly, the material of the saree must be considered along with the occasion it is to be worn for. For instance, saree fabrics like silk and cotton are best worn in the traditional way with a voluminous pleated front and a trailing pallu.
Some other fabrics like sarees made from Georgette or chiffon can be draped with a thin, pleated pallu showing off an embellished blouse. Some important tips to keep in mind when draping a saree are that the petticoat must always be tied firmly in order to ensure that the pleats don’t come lose after some time. It is a good idea to wear heels and then start draping the saree for better judgment of the length. The blouse must be chosen with care as it can make or break the look of any saree.
With fashion designers pushing the boundaries of traditional designs and fashion norms, it has resulted in the emergence of new and different designs of sarees. From artistic weaves done on traditional handlooms to the new embellished designs from modern factories, the saree has most certainly come a long way.