A Sari is an Indian female way of hiding their private parts of the body. It is a garment that consists of a drape varying from 3 to 9 yards in length and a breadth of 2 to 4 feet. The sari is wrapped over the waist, and one end is draped over the shoulder, barring the midriff. The sari is worn over the Petticoat with a fitted upper garment called the blouse, which is half sleeve and is cropped at the midriff. The sari shows out the Indian culture and its grace.
The history of sari says that the sari was derived from the Sanskrit word śāṭī which means strip of cloth. The Origin of sari goes back to the Indus valley civilization, during the 2800-1800 BC, in the western part of the India. The earliest known work of art of the sari goes back to the western part of India, where the statue of the Indus Valley Priest wears a drape. Ancient Tamil and Sanskrit poetry describes about women in sari. The ancient stone inscription from the Tamil scripts has a reference on hand weaving. In the ancient dance, the Supreme Being is considered as the source of life and creativity; hence the midriff is left without being covered. Many sculptures from the olden times, that is in the 1st to 6th AD, many Hindu Goddess statues are seen with saris, which is the dhoti wrap, in the fishtail version of sari wearing, which covers the legs loosely and flows into a long, attractive drape within the legs. Other sources says that, in the ancient times women wore a dhoti with a breast band, and occasionally a wrap to cover the head or the body, which later was combined together in a long decorative garment called the sari.
The Blouse is otherwise called as the Choli which is an evolved form of clothing from the 10th century AD, and the Chloi’s covered only the front part of the women’s body and the back part was left bare. In South India, especially in Kerala, ancient women wore saris and exposed the upper part of the body till the 20th century. But due to the upper part controversy, the culture changed and the upper part was covered by the one end of the sari. Although in ancient India, women wore saris leaving their midriff uncovered, in some states, women should wear saris in such a way that the navel would never become visible.
There are totally 80 recorded ways to wear a sari, coming from different parts of the India, and the most common way of wearing a sari is to wrap it round the waist and then the loose end of the drape is worn over the shoulder. Here are some of the categorized sari drapes from the different families
- ‘Nivi Style’ – Origin is from Andhra Pradesh. This gives a free movement while covering the legs.
- ‘Bengali or Oriya’ style
- ‘Gujarati or the Rajasthani’ style, where the back part is covered well.
- ‘Maharashtra style’ – here the drape is similar to the male dhoti. In this type, full part of the body is covered well, except the midriff. This method was followed by the Brahmin women.
- ‘Madisar’ – here 9 yards sari is used and the wearing method is the same as that of the Maharashtra style.
- ‘Kodagu’ – It is followed in Karnataka; here the pleats are created in the rear instead of front. The loose end of the sari is wrapped on the right shoulder, and then pinned to the rest of the sari.
- ‘Gobbe Seere’ – This method of wearing was followed in the central part of Karnataka.
- ‘Gond’ – Sari style found in the central part of India.
- ‘Malayali’ style – the sari covers the body except the midriff, and it is usually made of cotton with a golden color lining.
- ‘Tribal’ style – it is worn tightly across the chest, covering the breast.
- ‘Kunbi’ style or ‘denthil’ – this method was followed by the people who have migrated from other states.
The modern style of draping is far away from the ancient times. Due to migration to the western countries, many women started wearing saris below their waist, exposing their navel, which is known as the low hip sari, and because of this, the space between the bottom of the choli and the top of the petticoat began to increase, which lead to the exposure of the navel. Since the change in the fashion trends, the saris are proving to become a wear which can expose as much as it conceals. Transparent and semi transparent saris have become more popular now a day. Some don’t wear sari over the petticoat, but they wear it over the trousers. Some even wear a sari and then wear a navel jewels over the navel part to draw the attention of the navel. All these style became popular when the Bollywood actress followed some ways of wearing the sari, and showed of their navel and the cleavage through their saris. The modern way of wearing the sari is followed by educated upper class rich women.
The professional way of wearing the sari is also called as the Air Hostess Style. Due to the harsh extremes in climate, women tend to wear saris in India. The sari is not only cooling in summer but also warmer in winter. The loose fitting of sari have helped Indian women move freely, who are up to their daily works. The Air Hostess style is the same as that of the normal wearing style, but has its pallets firmly held together with the help of pins. This type of sari is worn by professional people, and is followed by women working as Air Hostess, hotel staff in a five star hotels to show the Indian Culture.
The disadvantage of sari is that
- Modern sari is no protection to cold in the winter season.
- The bottom part of the sari will become dirty sooner, than the other modern wearing.
- It cannot be worn during sports.
- Time consumed in wearing a sari.
Women have get used to wearing saris and that too in certain way, buy yes, it will consume certain time, against going with trousers and a top. The number of women wearing sari is declining in the metros, because both the partners going for work. As the younger generations go everywhere now a day, the sari is proving to become a burden for their mobility.