Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How NOT to Wear A Saree

The wedding is magnificent and colorful. The scent of exotic, tropical flowers wafts around the excited participants, lifting and enlivening the celebration. Loud, boisterous music fills the crowded room. You have chosen to wear a traditional Indian dress. But something is terribly wrong. As you enter the hall you see and feel the weight of glaring eyes upon you, especially those of the mother of the bride. A twisting knot begins to form in your stomach as you finally realize that your clothes may not be as appropriate as you first thought. And then, as you step back to exit the scene, your heel catches on the material that you so haphazardly slung over your left shoulder when dressing. The fall, which was loud and disruptive, was caused by the improper length of that fabric. While attempting to stand up and recoup some form of dignity, the top of the dress falls off your shoulder, inviting further gasps from the stunned guests. Furthermore your cleavage stands out like Dolly Parton's because your blouse was too low-cut. And finally, the remaining un-even pleats you made fall out completely because your petticoat was too loose. This scenario is a good example of how NOT to wear a saree; that simple but elegant time-honored Indian traditional dress. So, avoid these embarrassing fashion faux pas by following some easy tips.
The saree comes in many different styles and materials and there are various ways of wearing it depending on the location. Choosing one that fits a particular personality and character won't be a problem. When buying this beautiful garment you should remember the following tips. Always purchase a nicely fitting petticoat to go under the dress. By that, I mean a tightly fitting petticoat that cannot be seen while standing. The wearer will accomplish two important fashion standards by following this advice. First you will avoid the taboo of showing your petticoat under the dress and secondly, you will be able to keep your dress tucked in properly, including the pleats.
The blouse or choli is also a very important piece of your outfit when wearing a saree. Traditional fashion in India dictates that the blouse should sufficiently cover the breasts of the wearer. Usually the blouse is short, exposing the midriff. This is fine. The blouse also serves another purpose. When wrapping the dress, a part of it is worn over your left shoulder reaching down to about the back of the knee. This section usually exhibits the beautifully decorated pallu. The blouse provides an area to pin that extra material on the left shoulder so it does not fall off. It is considered in bad taste when the dress falls off the shoulder.
There are a few other equally important tips to consider when wearing a saree. While wrapping the dress, the pleats which are worn toward the front of the garment are folded and tucked into the petticoat. These pleats should always be neat and evenly folded. Additionally, don't wear your dress too long or too short. Just barely exposing the toes means the dress is just the right length. Finally, put these tips into action to avoid embarrassment when wearing your traditional dress.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a Wrap - Try These Fun Saree Styles for Variety

The colors, sounds, and flavors of India literally explode upon the senses of all its visitors. The wonderful Indian people display all manner of traditional clothing and fashion. Time and culture have transformed the art of wearing India's traditional dress into many different forms and styles. Sarees have been a part of Indian culture for 5000 years. Its longevity can be attributed to its simplicity, elegance and ease of wearing. Today you will have a chance to learn about two styles of dress from two different regions of India. From Andhra Pradesh we'll learn the Nivi style. From Gujarat we'll learn the Gujarati style. So, pour out some tea, relax and try these fun saree styles for variety.
Sitting low on the eastern coast of India is the celebrated state of Andhra Pradesh. This lovely area draws over 3 million visitors each year. The beautiful Nivi style of wrapping the saree originated here. The Nivi style is actually the most popular of the styles. It is necessary to have a properly fitting choli and petticoat with any style of wrapping. Begin the Nivi style by wrapping the material around the waist once in a counter- clockwise direction while tucking as you go. This step must be done with the plain end at the top while making sure that the bottom touches the floor but does not drag. Put the remaining material into your right hand and begin making the 5 inch pleats starting at the tuck. You will make about 10 pleats. Hold the finished pleats in your right hand to even them out. Now, tuck these into your tight fitting petticoat below the navel. Wrap the garment once more in a counter-clockwise fashion while tucking as you go. Pin the rest of the garment with the decorative end over your left shoulder. This decorative end is called the pallu and adds great elegance to your sarees when worn properly.
Now imagine yourself on the western coast of India, in one of the most diverse states in the country. Gujarat is that state well known as the homeland of Mahatma Gandhi and other legendary activists. Now imagine yourself at one of the more than 3000 fairs and festivals each year in Gujarat wearing a saree in the stunning Gujarati style. Here is how to bring that amazing look to life. Begin just as you would with the Nivi style by wrapping the material around your waist one time in a counter-clockwise direction and tucking it in so that the material just barely touches the floor. Fold the pleats while making sure that the folds are even. Tuck them in just below the navel. Then, wrap the rest of the material around the back and bring it forward over the right shoulder. Lastly, wrap the pallu around the back of the waist before pinning or tucking it. Sarees worn in this fashion are elegant and beautiful.
We have crossed the sub-continent in search of differing methods of wrapping a saree and found a great variety indeed. As we walked the crowded streets of each region we breathed in the distinctive images and sounds of lives full of traditions passed down through thousands of years. And we have benefited from those same traditions by joining in the fun of learning how to wear sarees.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lehengas, Tall Tales and Short Stories

The alarm clock chimes waking you from a sound sleep. The inevitable yawn and stretch allow your body to adjust to being awake. The bathroom looms before you as you suddenly realize that nature is calling loudly. The bathroom door closes as you look into the mirror with a start! "How did this happen?" you yell. There was once a very shapely young woman staring out of the mirror, but now someone slightly different is there. This story occurs countless times around the world. The truth is that time is just not that kind on the human. When the body changes, so does the style of clothing. There is hope, however. Lehengas are made with different materials and styles that compliment every shape. Just follow these tips on how to buy the right one. You'll look wonderful in your lehenga when you do.
Having children has changed your body dynamics. Perhaps you aren't as slim around the middle and that beautiful, maroon brocade lehenga from a couple of years ago just won't fit. The first thing to do is to stay calm. The great number of available fabrics and colors and styles will allow you to choose the ones that are right for you. In this case you want to create the illusion of slimness. Choose lehengas with a single cut panel. Also wear colors that are slightly darker. Choose a garment made with softer materials. Heavier fabrics are true to their name and probably wouldn't make a very good match. Chiffon is a wonderful match for you. Your choli can be longer and don't be afraid to accompany your outfit with a dupatta. The most important thing to remember is that any woman can find just the right garment to compliment her own beauty.
A slimmer, taller woman requires a different approach. When considering your lehenga use fabrics that add some thickness to your line. More choices may be available to you as your figure lends itself to a wider range of fabrics and colors and styles. A shorter choli with a slightly lower cut can enhance the longer neck line. Brocades are fine when considering any piece of your attire. Lehengas with heavier embroidery will definitely help to enhance your slim and tall figure. You can afford to use more material in your outfits as this will not take away that elegant appearance you are trying to perfect.
Lehengas come in a dazzling array of styles. They can be made of materials like silk, brocade, cotton, net, chiffon, or georgette. Luckily for the modern woman, many styles have been developed to fit every need. The straight cut is the more traditional style that fits just about any body type and shape. If you are still unsure about the style that fits your personality, start with this one. The mermaid style was "tailor-made" for the woman with the extra curvy figure. It really follows the contours of the body and will gain the attention of everyone in the vicinity. The A-line style lehenga is more or less shaped for the woman with wider hips. The circular style and the panel led style are the last two we'll mention. Use the tips above to buy the right one for your personality and body type.