5 essential sarees every Indian woman must own

A saree for the Indian woman is not just six yards of fabric, it is much more than that. Sarees are pure elegance, and years of culture, history assimilated into that one piece of clothing. Often sarees are also keepsakes and memorabilia handed down from mother to daughter. Sarees are much more than just a piece of clothing, but even as a piece of clothing, they are incomparable.

One can never go wrong with a saree. Be it a casual event or a wedding party, these six yards of pure luxury and elegance can fit into every occasion. There are so many kinds of sarees that it is almost impossible to note down each one of them. But here I will tell you about the FIVE kinds of sarees that every Indian woman should own. These are specifically my favourites and there is not one occasion that either of these five cannot cover for you, and do so in style. Let’s start the list with the quintessential red-and-white Tant saree from Bengal.

Red-and-white Tant saree

There are very few attires that can outdo the red and white Tant saree in its sheer elegance and beauty. Tant sarees are usually very light and easy to carry. They have a sheer quality about them and are made of pure cotton hence do the sultry summers justice. A red and white Tant saree is as versatile as it gets. This elegant piece can be worn to a party, a ceremony and is always the best choice for any festival in the Bengali household.

  • Especially known for: light-weight, breathable fabric, sheer texture
  • Best for: festival wear, important ceremonies, formal occasions

Mysore silk sarees

These silk sarees are one of the finest silk sarees ever known. Mysore Silk sarees have been in circulation ever since the 18th and late 17th century and were the favourite of the Mysore royals. These sarees indeed look royal with their minimalistic design, rich colour, intricate and luxurious zari work. Not only are these sarees amazing to look at but also very easy to wear. It is perfect for an evening look and can be coupled with traditional jewellery to give you that royal look.

  • Especially known for: elegant zari (embroidery) work, minimalistic design
  • Best for: Evening wear, formal occasions

Jamdani sarees

Here is yet another saree fit for royals. A Jamdani saree is as elegant and luxurious as it gets. Jamdani refers to the intricate motifs and floral patterns that are woven on the saree. Jamdani sarees are made from the finest muslin cloths and are practically weightless. These beauties are so intricate that one saree can take up to one year to make. These sarees come in beautiful pastel shades, with opulent designs. Wearing a Jamdani saree can be daunting, but trust me it is every bit worth the effort. Jamdani sarees look best when worn with traditional jewellery, a tidy bun and simple makeup.

  • Especially known for: luxurious fabric, intricate design patterns and pastel shades
  • Best for: traditional ceremonies, brunches, summer wear

Chiffon sarees

Moving away from the traditional sarees are chiffon sarees. They might be a new addition to the list but are equally beautiful and elegant. Chiffon sarees are light and airy and give you an effortless chic look. This fabric has its own beauty and grace and is a perfect fit for the amateur saree wearer. Couple a beautiful floral chiffon saree with minimalist pearl jewellery, a stylish handbag and light makeup and you will be sure to turn heads wherever you go.

  • Especially known for: light fabric, easy to wear, chic look
  • Best for: Office and casual wear, dinners and social events

Benarasi sarees

Last but not least here is another royal saree which dates back to the Mughal Empire of the 14th century. The word Benarasi comes from the name of the city in which these sarees were made: Banaras or Varanasi. These sarees rank amongst the finest Indian sarees and are famous for their intricate zari work, opulent embroidery and fine silk. These sarees are truly works of art and are finely woven by master weavers. These beauties are to be reserved for special occasions. These sarees come in a variety of rich colours and till date are a quintessential part of an Indian bride’s trousseau. But, you do not essentially have to be the bride to adorn a beautiful Benarasi saree. You can wear one of these beauties to a wedding party or an evening party. Couple a gorgeous Benarasi saree with traditional light jewellery and elegant makeup to own the show.

  • Especially known for: opulent fabrics, intricate designs
  • Best for: wedding wear, evenings and parties

Pro tips

  • Always remember to tie your petty-coat on the side to avoid bulking up near the torso area.
  • Wear your desired pair of heels before wrapping your saree. This will ensure perfect saree length.
  • Avoid pinning your saree in too many places, it gives a stiff look to the entire dress. Instead, opt for using fewer pins to maintain the natural flow of the fabric.
  • Keep all your pins on the dressing table, within arms reach, before you start wrapping the saree.
  • The optimal length for your pallu (the portion that goes over the shoulder) is at knee length. Lower than this can create a not-so-good overall look and makes your saree difficult to handle.
  • The pleats in front should not be too small. Instead, opt for having fewer, but bigger pleats to give a neat look to your saree.
  • To ensure the longevity of your saree, always choose to hand-wash. Using a washing machine can damage the fabric.

These are some of the sarees that I personally own and treasure. It has taken a lot of trial and error, mix and match to get the perfect look for the most appropriate occasion. I sincerely hope this will serve as a guide to many of you so that you have a great saree for every occasion. In my next post, I will cover an in-depth guide to pairing your sarees with the most appropriate jewellery and styling options.

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