The ultimate in feminine dress
The Oxford English Dictionary in 20 volumes, is perhaps the most comprehensive
and authoritative lexicon in any language. It describes the sari in the
"A long wrapping garment of cloth or silk, usually of a bright colour, worn by
It further goes on to say:
"In use one end is passed several times round the waist to form a kind of
petticoat and the remaining end passing across the bosom and left shoulder is
thrown over the head."
The dictionary too acknowledges the subtle nuances involved in he draping of
this ancient garment. The result of the hard work entailed in wearing it is that
the sari wraps itself around like second skin, making the woman constantly aware
of it and of her femininity.
Rather than perceive the world in black and white, Indian philosophy recognizes
the harmony of good and evil inherent within each of us. Similarly, the gods are
understood to incorporate both male and female aspects, and power is an
attribute that is both good and bad. This is a complex, bi-polar world, which
women know only too well. To be married or to have a child is simultaneously a
huge gain and a burden, a loss and a becoming. Such ambivalence is not a failure
to understand existence with all its obvious divisions, but a realistic
rationalization and representation of our world that is itself full of contradictions.
By gracing themselves with the sari, women express their acceptance of this
existential ambiguity. It is one garment which does not conform to the dictum
that "it either covers the body or does not." Though draping over the major
portion of the female form, it leaves many sensuous spots uncovered, like the
abdomen area centered on the navel. The free limbs also underneath its many
folds and pleats lead to a curious sense of vulnerability and exposure,
constantly reminding the wearer of her femininity.
In addition, the sari is both functional and alluring. This is in contrast to
the salwar kameez which has only the former attribute characterizing it.
'Functions' here mean the 'natural tasks of life' rather than mere 'work.' This
not only emphasizes the sari's practical convenience when having to pee or cook
(in the latter case the dangling frills and dupatta of the
salwar kameez present
a real danger), but also simultaneously speaks for its capacity to veil oneself
quickly with the pallu (head scarf) when an outsider enters a room. This same garment
provides the maximum functional efficiency when making love with one's own
spouse. The sari is also the best drape to camouflage the body when it
temporarily bloats and sags after the immediate delivery of a child, it is also
the ultimate when it comes to breast-feeding - the head of the baby can be just
tucked into the bosom and covered with the pallu.
Experience the variety of textures (cotton to silk), the brightness of the
colours, and its clinging feel. Drape yourself with exposure.
Silk is sumptuous, exotic, erotic and sensual. Most of all, it is sheer beauty.
'Silken', 'soft as silk', 'smooth as silk', are all images and metaphors for
something desirable and esteemed. It is soft and fluid, and no other fabric
falls on the body in the same way as does silk. It can be pleated, folded, or
swirled in a bias-cut from the body's axis, to conform to and delight the most
demanding wearer - all of which make it an ideal fabric for the sari.
On a practical level, the isothermal properties of silk make it cool in the
summer and warm in the winter. It can be dyed at both ends of the spectrum -
with infinite subtlety or with spectacular boldness of colour.
Throughout history, only the best weavers and the most skilled dyers have worked
on silk saris.
Free instructions on how to wear a sari, and when you purchase, you get a complimentary blouse and
underskirt, delivered worldwide.
View current stock and purchase
or read about the history and development of the sari.