Answer by Raakhee Venugopal:
Thank you for the A2A.
I always tell people that they should wear something they feel confident in. But the sari is one attire that needs a certain grace to be able to carry it well. I am not so skinny myself and hence I speak from my personal experience of having experimented with saris for over 20 years now 😉
No.1 – Avoid LOUD patterns.
No enormous paisleys.
No enormous roses. No over sized geometric patterns. No horizontal stripes! Hell No!
And definitely no checkered patterns either. I would suggest saris with small floral patterns, small geometric patterns or small yet elegant zari works. This goes a long way, trust me!
No.2 – If the sari is opaque, it’s best to avoid wearing the pallu in ‘floating’ style.
Nope. No. Nada. Or just plain No! Trust me. Been there, done that. The floating style of wearing the pallu is the easiest way to do it, I agree. But if you are wearing an opaque sari and if you’re not exactly svelte, you’d probably end up looking like a burrito!
Which is what I looked like when I tried this style. It’s a different story if the sari is partially transparent. The wearer’s body-shape is subtly visible and the burrito image goes out the window 😉
No.3 – No Gujarati style please! Unless it is totally unavoidable, that is. This is a rather unflattering way of the wearing the sari, especially for those on the wrong side of the weight scale.
There is absolutely no hint of the body shape from the front and this makes the wearer appear to look bigger than she actually is. There is only a slight view of the midriff from the side and from the backside, and this is also sometimes completely covered up. And if you have a rear you are not too proud of, you’d not want unwanted attention to those areas either. The Gujarati style looks stunning on a normal sized woman who has a pretty waist to show off. And this is the best way to show off those elaborate zari works.
But then you’ve gotta decide if you would flaunt your zardosi or your best overall look.
No.4 – Stick to simple blouses. Plain silk blouses are the best! Keep the sleeves to just above the elbow…sleeves that are too short or too long are highly likely to make you look…umm…huge!
No.5 – If the sari is gaudy, the blouse has to be toned down. There is a likelihood of the wearer looking extra-large if they wear a gaudy sari and an equally gaudy blouse.
I have this flashy bottle green sari with extra heavy gold zari work on it and the blouse came attached with the sari…so obviously it had the same heavy gaudy work on it. It was probably one of the most stupid decisions I have ever taken, but I decided to wear the sari and blouse as a set, thinking that if they have attached the blouse with it, then it was meant to be worn together. Oh what a disaster I looked like that day! I looked better suited to go as a mascot for the Australian Cricket Team rather than for a wedding! *facepalm* I did wear the same sari and the same blouse on several occasions after that day…but I wore a plain silk blouse with it. And it looked fabulous!
It also works the other way around.
No.6 – If you are putting shoulder pleats, make sure the pleats aren’t any broader than the width of one full palm of your right hand…the entire width from the left edge of your thumb to the right edge of your little finger. You could take this as an unspoken rule of thumb. Never fails. Don’t make the edge of the sari droop over your shoulder.
No.7 – Try to make a few broad pleats in the front, so that the part you tuck in does not add to the size of your waist.
No.8 – Undeclared fact. Your feet WILL BE noticed. Especially since they do the continuous hide-n-seek act. Try to wear heels if you’re okay in them. The beauty of the sari is enhanced if the wearer has a graceful gait. Call it magical but I find my gait becoming very feminine the moment I am in my high heels.
And always remember to wear your footwear before you wear the sari. This helps in getting the length right. You don’t want to look like you’re dressed to face the floods with an ankle high sari. And adjusting the height afterwards is a pain. I get scared that the sari would just tumble down from the waist with all that tugging and pulling!
No.9 – I choose dark colors and stay far away from whites and off-whites.
Dark colors seem to confuse the beholders about the size of the person wearing the sari. I wear a lot of dark hues of green, blue, maroon and plenty of black! 😉
No.10 – Narrow borders also go a long way. Like this…
As opposed to this…
This can however be overlooked if the sari has a border only on one edge…the bottom edge. This style of sari is usually seen in the Kanchipuram silk saris of Tamil Nadu. ‘Single-Side Border’, they call it.
No.11 – I prefer to stay away from stiffly starched cotton and Georgette saris. Maybe it’s just psychological, but I have a feeling I look like a kathakali artiste when I wear a cotton or Georgette sari…if you know what I mean.
I prefer to wear saris that are flowy and easy to manage. I do wear a lot of heavy Kanchipuram saris as well but they need to be controlled and this needs a bit of wearing experience. I prefer wearing light silks and thick chiffon for regular wear.
I’m from Kerala and I’m required to wear our traditional saree at times, mostly at festive occasions. It’s basically a hand-woven cotton saree with a border made of pure gold threads. This is the only cotton saree I wear and I like wearing as well. It’s very light-weight and extremely comfortable to wear.
Phew! I hope that sums up most of the stuff I follow. I will edit this answer if I remember anything else 🙂 Hope this helps.
Happy Dolling Up! 🙂 🙂 🙂
P.S.: A little disclaimer. All the above women look gorgeous and I love all of them, especially when they are in a saree. I may appear to be heavily biased towards Vidya Balan, what with the picture overload…but I can’t help it. She is my ultimate fashion idol 😀 And I can’t get anyone else in my mind when I think of a saree. Most of what I have written are rules I have set for myself based on my body type and based on what looks good on me. It may be different for you. Keep experimenting with various styles until you arrive at what you like. Cheers!