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The Sari

The ultimate in feminine dress

sariThe Oxford English Dictionary in 20 volumes, is perhaps the most comprehensive and authoritative lexicon in any language. It describes the sari in the following manner:
“A long wrapping garment of cloth or silk, usually of a bright colour, worn by Hindu women.”

It further goes on to say:
“In use one end is passed several times round the waist to form a kind of petticoat and the remaining end passing across the bosom and left shoulder is thrown over the head.”

The dictionary too acknowledges the subtle nuances involved in he draping of this ancient garment. The result of the hard work entailed in wearing it is that the sari wraps itself around like second skin, making the woman constantly aware of it and of her femininity.

Rather than perceive the world in black and white, Indian philosophy recognizes the harmony of good and evil inherent within each of us. Similarly, the gods are understood to incorporate both male and female aspects, and power is an attribute that is both good and bad. This is a complex, bi-polar world, which women know only too well. To be married or to have a child is simultaneously a huge gain and a burden, a loss and a becoming. Such ambivalence is not a failure to understand existence with all its obvious divisions, but a realistic rationalization and representation of our world that is itself full of contradictions.

By gracing themselves with the sari, women express their acceptance of this existential ambiguity. It is one garment which does not conform to the dictum that “it either covers the body or does not.” Though draping over the major portion of the female form, it leaves many sensuous spots uncovered, like the abdomen area centered on the navel. The free limbs also underneath its many folds and pleats lead to a curious sense of vulnerability and exposure, constantly reminding the wearer of her femininity.

In addition, the sari is both functional and alluring. This is in contrast to the salwar kameez which has only the former attribute characterizing it. ‘Functions’ here mean the ‘natural tasks of life’ rather than mere ‘work.’ This not only emphasizes the sari’s practical convenience when having to pee or cook (in the latter case the dangling frills and dupatta of the salwar kameez present a real danger), but also simultaneously speaks for its capacity to veil oneself quickly with the pallu (head scarf) when an outsider enters a room. This same garment provides the maximum functional efficiency when making love with one’s own spouse. The sari is also the best drape to camouflage the body when it temporarily bloats and sags after the immediate delivery of a child, it is also the ultimate when it comes to breast-feeding – the head of the baby can be just tucked into the bosom and covered with the pallu.

Experience the variety of textures (cotton to silk), the brightness of the colours, and its clinging feel. Drape yourself with exposure.

kota doria sari

A kota doria sari

Silk is sumptuous, exotic, erotic and sensual. Most of all, it is sheer beauty. ‘Silken’, ‘soft as silk’, ‘smooth as silk’, are all images and metaphors for something desirable and esteemed. It is soft and fluid, and no other fabric falls on the body in the same way as does silk. It can be pleated, folded, or swirled in a bias-cut from the body’s axis, to conform to and delight the most demanding wearer – all of which make it an ideal fabric for the sari.

On a practical level, the isothermal properties of silk make it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It can be dyed at both ends of the spectrum – with infinite subtlety or with spectacular boldness of colour.

Throughout history, only the best weavers and the most skilled dyers have worked on silk saris.

Free instructions on how to wear a sari, and when you purchase, you get a complimentary blouse and underskirt, delivered worldwide.

View current stock and purchase or read about the history and development of the sari.

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