As a Westerner, I did struggle to learn how to wear the sari when I was back living in the United States. I watched a few Youtube videos to try to learn, but there is nothing like wearing saris often to get used to the movement of the garment. This can take time and patience to get used to walking, but the end result leaves you feeling elegant in a variety of fabrics.
One day, while wandering in the library as I tend to do, I came upon this book:
I wondered if this would help me wear the garment comfortably. The book presented a lot of information about the history of the sari, the ways to drape the sari, statements made by types of saris, social interactions with the sari and much more. There also were gorgeous pictures demonstrating these subjects, along with sari prints, the sari making process at the textile mills and movie stars wearing glamorous saris.
I really enjoyed this book, because it made me feel like wearing a sari is an art. I have never experienced that with a garment before, and as the book says, women seem to have a story attached to each sari they own. They often receive them for new festivals, like Diwali, and often the person who gives them a sari demonstrates a sort of relationship.
I have begun to develop my own stories with the vast amount of saris I shipped home from India. I pick them out to make certain statements: fancy, relaxed, day wear, evening wear, colors for particular festivals (Diwali demands oranges, reds or bright pinks to match the diya lights and rangolis, and fabric to be most comfortable in the weather.
For example, season depending I will stay warm or cold. For summer, I like chiffon, net, cotton blends and sometimes regular cotton.
For winter, I am looking forward to heavier silks and thicker cotton. I also see women in temple pairing their saris with cardigans to keep warm.
Since I have a trousseau from India, I will pull them out during festival season (Diwali is in a couple weeks) and it will add to the nice memory. I also might even do it for Western holidays like I did last year for Christmas.
In my next post, I will tell you a story about a sari I bought.