Sari is undoubtedly the most elegant attire a woman can put on. To a sari novice like me, it’s all about meters of fabric and loads of safety pins. But women who wear the ensemble to work everyday swear by how comfortable it can be. Apart from the fact that it needs the right draping technique and some fare amount of practice, a sari has the ability to transform effortlessly from casual to formal and that’s just one of its amazing qualities. We spoke to seven women from various backgrounds who wear a sari every single day, to tell us how they last through the day and here’s what they had to say.
Geeta Sridhar, Regional Celebrity Chef and Food Blogger
Geeta was upfront in stating that she is most comfortable in a sari. In fact she’s been wearing a sari for 40 years now. “I have been draping a sari since I was eight when we had to attend religious festivals and pujas. I can cook for 50 people in a sari, run a 5 km marathon and even do Bharatnatyam,” she states.
For 48-year-old Geeta, years of practice has made her a pro. She needs no pins to keep her drape in place and can wear it in seven different styles. All she suggests is “Wear it with confidence and make sure the pleats are tight enough. Practice draping it a few times to get it right. In fact if you get the drape right, carrying a sari is easy,” Geeta adds.
Neha Srivastava, HR Professional
Neha emphasises on the ability to relate to this attire as it adds a unique flavour to ones personality. "I think it defines a woman like no other apparel can and demands respect," she adds.
Being a sari wearer for years now, she says it is important to drape the sari in a way that it fits to your body. Neha's sari stays put on just four pins all day long without an inch of movement. She continues, "I make sure to tuck it in properly with no crease around and align the circumference at the bottom so that you don't have the lower ends of the sari at different levels. This and pinning it up in four different areas is pretty much what helps it last all through the day."
Swati Mukund, Teacher, Classical Singer and Marathon Runner
Swati is one of those many Indian women who have grown up seeing women in their house do everything clad in a sari and thinks it’s the most comfortable garment. “To me it came easily as I’ve seen my mom and grand-mom do it all my life,” she says. But the 28-years-old Swati admits to being a messy draper. “It’s important to choose the right kind of material that will stay in place for a long time. I love handloom as its light and easy to drape. In fact you need just one pin to keep it in place.”
She also adds, “I have run marathons in a sari and managed with equal ease. So it’s all about finding your comfort zone. And once you start wearing it regularly you’ll get the knack of holding it up.”
Simmi Sood, Hospitality Industry
For Simmi who has been wearing the sari everyday for eight years now, it is like second skin. She is absolutely comfortable wearing a sari and can do as much running around as possible. But the one thing she advices is to wear the right footwear. “Some women make the mistake of wearing very high or uncomfortable heels with their sari. This makes it difficult to manage the drape especially while getting down steps. So choose kitten heels or block heels when wearing a sari that will let you hold grip on the floor,” says the 38-years-old Delhi-based Simmi who is currently working with Hyatt Gurgaon.
Malthi Kembhavi, Branch Head at an NGO
Malthi’s first job was in the hotel industry and so her uniform was a sari. As part of her grooming sessions at work they were taught five different ways to drape a sari and a few tricks that have been extremely useful to the 36-year-old ever since.
“Always make sure the sari is six and a half meters long. The length, breadth and texture of the sari are extremely important,” says Malthi. According to her what type of a drape you want, what level do you want the petticoat to be, how you want the pallu to fall are important factors to consider.
“Make sure to tuck at least three and a half inches inside the petticoat for a proper balance and always wear your footwear before you begin to drape,” she concludes.
Gowri Ramesh, Teacher
Gowri has been donning a sari for over 25 years now and believes that the sari has a charm of its own. A teacher by profession, the sari is the most elegant attire that commands respect and for Gowri it comes automated. “My mother and all my sisters would wear saris and I have grown up looking at them. So I can drape a sari in less than a minute and wear it for 24 hours straight without any complains,” she says.
Gowri also emphasises on the importance of practice. “Everytime you wear a sari you get better at the art of draping. For me it’s also about comfort and there is nothing more comfortable than starched cotton saris that are easy to drape as well as hold on,” she adds.
Smita Vidya Nathan, Image consultant and life coach
For 50-year-old Smita the sari is a symbol of elegance and class. She loves wearing a sari at all times be it a function, a party or even a simple dinner outing. Having worn a sari for 30 years, Smita is extremely comfortable with the drapes but one thing she always does is match the petticoat with the colour of the sari. “This is important as sometimes the fabric can be transparent and wearing a matching petticoat can spoil the look of the sari and make you extremely conscious too.”
Another thing she suggests is to draw a double string on the petticoat for heavy saris so that it stays on the waist and there are no slips leading to any unfortunate or uncomfortable events.
Kalyani Rajaram, Fashion designer
27-year-old Kalyani whose job is to try out the fashion latest trends loves her saris. “I get fascinated with beautiful colours, patterns and fabrics in saris that are now available. In fact I love them so much that I’ve begun collecting them and have all types of saris from every state of India,” says an excited Kalyani.
About keeping the sari intact all day, she states, “Safety pins are your best friends. If you feel like your drape is going to slip off pin it up. Once its secured with a pin you will be more relaxed and confidence.” She also emphasizes on the importance of the correct posture to carry a sari and suggests it should always be worn with a pair of comfortable heels.