Sarees as work-wear - The do's and don'ts
It is indeed ironical that, while sarees are the quintessential Indian women’s attire, most women shudder at the thought of wearing it daily to work. While some feel that they would not be comfortable enough in it, most others avoid it due to the uncertainty of choosing the wrong saree to wear for a workplace. When it comes to parties, weddings or even outings, choosing a saree is no big deal as one can completely follow her own choices and instincts. But when workplace ethics are concerned, certain things should be kept in mind when choosing your attire, and this applies not only to sarees but any kind of clothes or garment.
There are certain offices and professional areas where wearing a saree is mandatory for women. Or, even if that is not so, you might like to wear a saree once in a while to your workplace for a change and to bring about a variety in your regular life fashion statement. After all, a woman is said to look her very pretty in a saree, and once in a while to surprise yourself as well as your colleagues sound like a bright idea after all. Corporate wear saree can be of any fabric, be it pure cotton, silk, chiffon or georgette. Choose fabrics that will not crumple easily as you need to stay in the sari all day long at office, so it should look good till the last hour. Shiny textures, garish prints and sparkles should most definitely be avoided. Refreshing handloom printed or plain cotton sarees as the most favourable for regular wear, as the soft, light and airy quality work well for all weather conditions and work situations. You can also go for a simple silk saree with delicate designs and prints that look soothingly beautiful, and not too overdone as corporate wear. Neatly done embroidery, appliqué or patch work in mellow, pastel shades will lend you a graceful look that you can carry off on a daily basis.
South silks with its gentle, summery fabric come a close second in preference, as they are well-suited to beat the long, hot Indian summers. If you have a corporate meeting, you can go for a silk sari with bright designs such as block print which look appealing yet not too tacky for a professional arena. For presentations and seminars, a colour block saree is an apt choice. You should also make sure that your blouse design in such that it gives a perfect fit, but does not reveal too much of skin, though sleeveless blouses can be permissible. Bared midriffs, halter necks, deep necklines etc. are a strict no-no, when you are walking into your office. The makeup should be subtle and minimal, the accessories should best be limited to a delicate necklace and subtle earrings, and hairdo should be a subtle balance between stylish yet not very gorgeous. If it is an office party, however, you can be a little more liberal in choosing your saree and blouse pattern, say a chanderi with zari or resham border, or a super net with multicolour thread work or sequins.
Contemporary or traditional, it is the entire look of a saree and you carry it with poise and decency that make a difference. Looking good while conforming to the limits of ‘modesty’, as laid down by the written or unwritten code of a particular professional front, is the trick. In winter, blue, black and brown are good colours to settle for, while adding a dash of colour with a contrast blouse or scarf. Summers should bring out all your pastel shades! In most office situations, it is also advisable to pin up your saree, though in such a way that it doesn’t show. When it’s work, the mantra is to dress smart and look good, while sticking to the guidelines!