The modern sari
The sari may be one of the most elegant, figure-flattering garments among Indian attire, but one must admit that it cannot be worn in a hurry! For that perfect look, petticoats must be stitched and blouse material must be selected in coordinating shades, else there will be a clash and the sophisticated look of the sari will be ruined. Those accustomed to buying and wearing saris are also quite adept at picking out matching colors for their petticoats and blouses, which are integral to the ensemble. This advantage however, does not lie with those who elect to avoid wearing saris except for special occasions and much time can be wasted on color coordination, finding the right cut of a blouse, searching for a reliable tailor who can stitch a blouse in accordance with individual measurements and so on. The time taken for all of the above can extend up to one week, and for the modern woman who is always pressed for time, this is unacceptable. Designers and local retailers therefore, have stepped up to the challenge of modernizing some integral aspects of wearing and draping a sari in 5 minutes or less!
The blouse which complements the sari, offers a number of opportunities to the wearer. From a host of colors to choose from, to a diverse range of cuts and designs, a blouse can lend a sensual or sophisticated look to a sari by hiding or revealing the back. While customizing a blouse was previously very time-consuming, given that each piece was tailored, the modern blouse is now pre-stitched, has elastic bands and zippers in lieu of hooks, and can be worn easily by women of varying body types. The elastic stretches as per requirement, and fits under the bust, providing both stability and support. This reduces the time spent on selecting material, stitching and subsequent issues faced due to non-stretchable fabric. Long sleeves, choli-styles, and halter style blouses are also available pre-made, and come in all shades and colors.
The petticoat can make or destroy the effect of a sari, with emphasis on chiffons and georgettes which have a sheer or semi-transparent appearance with delicate prints. A clashing petticoat will never do, and must be of a complementary shade, and should end approximately 3/4th of an inch above the length of the entire sari so as not to show beyond it. In this case as well, the modern petticoat gets rid of the tying aspect where one must tie the petticoat; it now comes with an elastic option which accommodates slim and generous waist sizes. One can now simply slip on the petticoat as one would do with a long skirt, and drape the sari over it. Some women of very short stature have also praised the advantage of wearing a modern petticoat with elastic, as it can be folded to accommodate their needs, and will not slip.
Once the blouse and petticoat have been acquired and slipped on, it is now a matter of deciding whether to make the necessary folds of a sari by hand, or to select a draping style which does not involve making folds. Tutorials and step-by-step instructions are available for those who wish to wear a traditional sari. For those who wish to save further time, modern styles are around, which allow minimal draping around the body. The modern sari therefore, saves time, and allows women to explore traditional wear on a multitude of levels.