A sari is one of the biggest examples of what the history and heritage of India stands for. That coupled with the vast industry India has of handloom weavers and needlepoint craftsmen, gives women a fabulous pick of traditional sarees. Essentially, a traditional sari is one that is made of handloom fabric, usually cotton or silk, and showcases conventional motifs and designs of a certain handicraft type.
One of the greatest examples of an Indian traditional saree is the Banarasi silk saree. Produced in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, women from across the country love this saree because of its fine heavy silk weave, excellent brocade work and impeccable zari embellishments. Within this broad category of silk there are many different varieties, starting with the pure silk variety known as Katan, which is the most famous of all. Those who prefer silk blends go for the Organza or Kora variety blended with silk and zari. There are a number of design types within this one saree and this gives it such diversity that it appeals to many key demographics in India. Some of these design processes are Tanchoi, Butiar, Cutwork, Jangla, and Vaskat.
Tussar silk sarees are also a leading variant among the traditional sarees of India. Produced majorly in West Bengal one of its biggest attractions is the Kanth type of stitching it displays, which also originates in West Bengal. Kantha work Tussar silk sarees are some of the most sought after sarees because of the excellent needlework displayed on the garment, in motifs such as flora and fauna. Orissa’s Patachitra work is one among the many traditional saree designs that can be worked onto this traditional fabric.
Zari work is perhaps the most traditional of all forms of traditional saree designs in India. Worked onto saree types from the north, south, east and west, zari basically refers to the use of thin metallic fibers such as gold, silver and copper in the embellishment of a saree. In fact such is the popularity of zari work that designer traditional sarees make use of this type of embellishment more so than any other. Women look for fine zari work in the latest traditional sarees whether it is minimal or extravagant in terms of the amount of work on one saree.
Indian women in many states, whether in the urban areas or rural, prefer traditional sarees for wedding ceremonies. Since a wedding is a formal occasion, silk is the preferred fabric of any wedding saree. There are many states that have unique sarees that are meant to be donned at the time of a marriage. The Panetar and Gharchola in Gujarat are two significant wedding sarees that India boasts of. In the southern parts of India, the Kanjivaram or the Kanchipuram saree is one of the most popular wedding saree. However, the appeal of the Kanjivaram saree is not restricted to the southern states alone and women from across the globe wear this saree for many formal occasions besides weddings. These sarees are generally inherited and feature special motifs, embellishments and elements of construction that are used because of their auspiciousness or religious significance.
There are many other types of traditional sarees that India boasts of such as Mysore silk from Karnataka, Bandhej or Bandhani which is a tie and dye type from Rajasthan and Gujarat, Jamdani Sarees from West Bengal, Bhagalpuri saris of Bihar and Chanderi sarees from Madhya Pradesh. The gamut of prints and embroidery techniques that is indigenous to India is truly fantastic.
Ways to Style a Traditional Saree
One of the basic pre-requisites to wearing a saree is a blouse that goes well with it. When draping a traditional saree, blouse designs and styles become extremely important. Although a lot of women stay true to the conventional style, the culture of experimenting with the silhouette and the embellishments is also quite popular. The cut of the back along with additions like the dori tie or the sleeve button are traditional yet elegant. More recently, the fashion of three-fourth sleeves has picked up greatly. Brocade blouses look excellent in this style.
A traditional saree usually requires traditional jewelry to go with it. Some of the most ancient types of Indian jewelry such as Kundan jewelry, Meenakari jewelry sets and Polki jewelry pieces are ideal for these types of sarees. However, for a saree which majorly features zari work in traditional motifs (as is the case with south Indian saree varieties) pure gold jewelry with designs like temples, gold coins, crown, temple dome, leaves and mythological characters are better suited.
Contrary to popular belief, assembling a traditional saree look needs as singular an attention to the footwear as the styling of modern sarees do. It is best to opt for high heels sandals with some ethnic decoration such as crystal work, beads work or embroidery done on it.