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aaronruslee Jun 19 '23

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The Evolution of Saree Fashion: From Classic to Contemporary

Saree, the quintessential Indian attire, is not just a piece of fabric draped around the body but a timeless legacy passed down through generations. From being worn by goddesses to gracing red carpets across the globe, saree fashion has come a long way. Over time, it has evolved from classic styles to contemporary designs that cater to modern sensibilities while retaining its traditional charm.

Introduction to the History of Indian Traditional Saree Fashion

The saree is a staple of Indian fashion, with a history that dates back centuries. The classic saree is a simple, elegant garment that can be worn in various ways. The contemporary saree is more experimental, with new styles and materials used to create unique looks.

The saree has been an essential part of Indian culture for centuries. The earliest known reference to the saree was from the 3rd century BC when it was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. The classic saree is a simple yet elegant garment made from cotton or silk. It is draped around the body in various ways and can be decorated with embroidery or other embellishments.

The contemporary saree is more experimental, with new styles and materials used to create unique looks. Designers are experimenting with different silhouettes, fabrics, and colors to create modern takes on the classic saree. Some contemporary styles include the lehenga saree, which combines elements of the lehenga (traditional skirt) and the saree; the dhoti saree, which drapes like a dhoti (traditional Indian loincloth); and the fusion saree, which combines elements of Western fashion with traditional Indian designs.

Classic Indian Sarees: A Brief Overview

There are few garments as elegant and timeless as the classic Indian saree. Women have worn this traditional attire for centuries, which remains one of the most popular choices for special occasions. If you’re new to wearing a saree or are simply curious about this iconic piece of clothing, here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.

The saree is a long, unstitched piece of cloth draped around the body in a specific way. It typically consists of three parts: a long skirt-like bottom called a lehenga or dress, a fitted blouse called a choli, and a dupatta or scarf. The saree is usually made from silk or another delicate fabric and can be adorned with intricate embroidery, sequins, and other embellishments.

To wear a saree properly, first put on the lehenga or petticoat. Then wrap the main cloth around your body, starting at the waist. The Dupatta is then draped over your head and shoulders like a shawl. The final step is to tuck the loose end of the saree cloth into the waistband of your lehenga or petticoat.

There are many ways to style a saree, depending on the occasion and your preferences. You can go for a simple and elegant look by keeping the Dupatta off your head, or

Contemporary Types of Sarees

Many different types of sarees are available on the market today, from classic to contemporary styles.

1. The Bandhani Saree: This type of saree is characterized by its colorful and intricate designs. Bandhanisarees are often made with cotton or silk fabrics and feature a variety of colors and patterns.

2. The Kanjeevaram Saree: This type of saree is characterized by its heavier weight and richer colors. Kanjeevaramsarees are usually made with silk fabrics featuring gold or silver embroidery.

3. The Lehenga Saree: This type crosses a traditional saree and a lehenga (skirt). Lehengasarees are typically made with lightweight fabrics such as chiffon or georgette and feature vibrant colors and designs.

4. The Bollywood Saree: This type of saree is characterized by its flashy designs and bold colors. Bollywood sarees are often made with Silk fabrics and feature heavy embroidery or sequin work.

Ways to Style Your Sarees for Different Occasions

When it comes to saree fashion, there are endless possibilities. You can style your sarees for different occasions to suit your taste and style.

1. For a classic look, traditionally drape your saree with a pleated skirt and pallu over your shoulder.

2. To give your saree a modern twist, try wearing it as a lehenga-skirt combo. Tuck the pallu into your waistband and let the skirt flow freely. Add a crop top or fitted blouse for a chic look.

3. Wear your saree as a dhoti-style bottom for a fun and flirty look. Tuck the pallu into the waistband of your dhoti and pair it with a crop top or tank top.

4. Drape the pallu over one shoulder and let it flow down your back. Add some drama with bold jewelry and smoky eyeshadow.

5. For an elegant evening look, drape your saree in an asymmetrical style with the pallu draped over one shoulder and flowing down your back. Pair it with nude heels and understated jewelry for a sophisticated vibe.

Famous Designers and Their Take on the Traditional Saree

Saree is a traditional Indian garb that is draped around the body. It is usually six to nine yards long and is made of various fabrics like cotton, silk, chiffon, etc. Women in India and Pakistan mainly wear saree. The saree has different regional variations, like the Bengali saree, Gujarati saree, etc. The traditional saree is usually plain with no embellishments and has a simple border.

With the changing times, the saree has also undergone a makeover. Nowadays, sarees are available in many designs, colors, and fabrics. They are also adorned with intricate embroidery work and beadwork. Designers have devised innovative ways to drape the saree to give it a contemporary look.

Some famous designers who have given the traditional saree a modern twist are Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra, Ritu Kumar, Anita Dongre, etc. Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s collections feature beautiful handwovensarees with intricate embroidery work. Manish Malhotra’s designs are all about glamour and elegance. Ritu Kumar’s collections offer a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Rajasthani textiles and crafts inspire Anita Dongre’s designs.

Where to Buy Authentic Indian Sarees Online?

Several online retailers sell authentic Indian sarees. Some of the most popular include,, and

When shopping for an authentic Indian saree, it is essential to consider the garment’s fabric, design, and construction. The most common materials for Indian sarees include silk, cotton, and georgette. Silk sarees are typically the most expensive and are considered to be the most luxurious option. Cotton sarees are more affordable and ideal for those who prefer a breathable fabric. Georgette sarees are also quite popular and offer a flattering drape.

When it comes to design, there are endless possibilities.

Traditional Indian sarees typically feature intricate embroidery or beadwork and may be adorned with sequins or other embellishments. Contemporary sarees often have a more simplistic design with less decoration. It is also essential to consider the construction of the saree when shopping online. Make sure to look at photos of the finished product to get an idea of how the garment will look once it is complete.


The classic saree has evolved due to different cultures, traditions, and trends. From its traditional roots to its contemporary interpretations, this timeless garment is a testament to fashion’s power to transcend geography and time. Whether you opt for a simple handloom or an ornate designer drape, there are countless ways to wear this classic dress.

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