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"Signature Indian dress : Saree or Salwar?"

Discussion in 'Clothing & Apparels' started by Malini Iyer, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. Malini Iyer

    Malini Iyer Senior IL'ite

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    An ongoing debate in most Indian fashion circles has been regarding the representation of a signature Indian dress: Is it the saree or is it the salwar? The saree seems to win hands down for a number of reasons. The salwar falls into the second place but there is a wide margin between the two. So why is the saree considered to the true Indian outfit? The reasons are many.

    Years of existence: the saree has been around for decades and decades. Its existence can be traced back to the mythical times of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Did you come across even one of the characters in these tales wearing a salwar kameez? Unlikely. Thus people across the globe have got tuned to seeing Indian women wearing a saree whereas the salwar kameez is an adaptation of another regional dress which has morphed over time.

    Continuity in pattern and design: the accompaniments of the saree are the blouse and the petticoat which have more or less been constant for so many years. The designs might change and the fabrics, textures and embroidery may go over a period of change but the three things: saree, blouse and petticoat remain constant. The saree is still six yards long somehow suits almost anyone who wears it. The salwar on the other hand has gone through many changes. Some come with dupattas, some with stoles; some are just two piece sets. Some are short, some are very long and some are like the standard western dress of shirt and trousers. The core identity of the saree has not changed much over the years whereas the salwar kameez has a new fashion statement with each New Year.

    Grace vs comfort: Ask a woman who has worn sarees all her life on what she thinks of a salwar kameez and it will come as no surprise that her opinion of the dress is not very high. She will find sarees comfortable and will continue to wear them even if she is given an option to wear salwars. Ask someone who has worn salwars all her life regarding sarees and her response is going to be similar. Thus it is a matter of getting used to a particular dress. However, it goes without saying that sarees bring in infinite grace to a woman (and not just the Indian one. Even Cherie Blair looks nice wearing a saree! ) and a salwar is definitely ideal for someone who has to work and find them easy to maintain and comfortable to wear.

    Longevity and durability: In many Indian families sarees are like heirlooms which are passed down from one generation to another and preserved with love and care. I can’t even begin to imagine a similar situation with the salwar! A saree can really last for a long time and you can keep it away and bring it out after a decade and still wear it without looking out of place. Such is the durability of the saree both in terms of fabric and usability.

    Sarees are also sign of sexuality and Indian origins have plenty of it from time immemorial. Though the volume of fabric used in a saree is probably the highest used in any single garment, it still manages to make a woman look appealing. The complete outfit of a saree clad woman can utilize as much as 9.5 meters of fabric!The small nooks and crevices shown in a saree look more provocative than cleavage exposed by women in western outfits and that is another reason why the saree has strongly stood the test of time even in this ever-changing fashion scenario.

    Urban and rural India still has predominant saree wearers, and the saree has also been accepted internationally as it has been worn by political bigwigs, fashion queens, and Hollywood style icons with equal aplomb. Thus it is only fair that the saree is referred to as the signature Indian dress whereas the salwar can safely be called a distant cousin of the saree. It is in recent times that the salwar has been made popular by fashion designers and urban work force but the saree remains the undisputed symbol of the Indian dress.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2007
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  2. archukoratty

    archukoratty Junior IL'ite

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    Nobody can object the fact that saree is the Indian dress.
    As the lifestyle changes, women switch over to salwar as most of them feel it comfortable. But those who are used to saree won't feel so.
    Each and everybody's point of view will be different. Afterall selecting a dress code lies on ones comfort.
    Both saree and salwar has its owm plus and minus as in the article.
    Archana.
     
  3. srisailaja

    srisailaja New IL'ite

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    Saree - is special. has always been & truely makes you feel so.
    Salwar - is ok. very much doubtful if it can give that extra.

    But as rightly said, it depends on where your going & how you want to go there. :mrgreen:
     
  4. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    saree always

    For me, the special dress is saree especially in cool cottons, handlooms, rustling silks. Nothing to beat the feel of a gentle fabric draped around.
     
  5. rathi

    rathi Bronze IL'ite

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    My choice is Salwars

    Hi,

    My choice is Salwars. I feel they are more comfortable, easy to wear and very decent in terms of not exposing even a small portion of our body.

    I have always found tying and maintaining the sarees to be difficult. Especially trying to wear a silk saree it easily takes an hour for me. Also, saree makes feel very conscious whether it is perfect on me fully covering.

    Vidya,

    I agree...sarees look good especially those cotton ones - provided tied neatly and known how to hold it.

    Love,
    Rathi
     
  6. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    rathi- so right

    Rathi,

    I agree with what you say- cotton sarees are fine as long as one can drape them well and hold them. I prefer cotton sarees after one wash (preferably without much starch) since newer ones tend to puff around me.

    Over the last month, I learnt to wear the nine yards saree properly, from my mom who is an expert in tying it for brides. It feels good to wear it on my own now. Also love wearing saree the Gujarathi(?) way pallu in front.

    Salwars- top too though I prefer churidars.

    cheers
    Vidya
     
  7. vidhyalakshmid

    vidhyalakshmid Platinum IL'ite

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    Saree

    Hi,
    I prefer saree over salwar, but sometimes if I wear saree to the parties
    I may be an oddwoman out. Everybody prefers salwars now a days.

    Another thing what I felt was, I look much younger in salwar than in saree.
    Body curves and shapes are more exposed in saree. Salwar takes less time to
    wear and easy to move around.
     
  8. sunitans100

    sunitans100 New IL'ite

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    Saree wins hands down

    [FONT=&quot]I would say that Saree is the signature Indian dress. A signature dress is something that's exquisite, very unique, elegant, and suitable for all ages and something that can blend in the surroundings or choose to be a show-stopper depending on the occasion. A saree fits the bill perfectly.

    Revival of sarees - I would like to think that the expanding saree-clad population has to thank the designers and of course in [/FONT]<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /><st1:country-region><st1:place>[FONT=&quot]India[/FONT]</st1:place></st1:country-region>[FONT=&quot] to a large extent to Balaji Telefilms for this<?xml:namespace prefix = v /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape id=_x0000_i1025 style="WIDTH: 12pt; HEIGHT: 12pt" alt="" type="#_x0000_t75"><v:imagedata o:href="http://www.indusladies.com/forums/images/smilies/tongue.gif" src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\srinivas\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    While the designers are experimenting with fabrics, colors, drapes, detailing and such, and also reviving ancient Indian embroidery forms and motifs on the sarees to lend it that 'wow' factor, Indian soaps are showing PYTs (pretty young things) looking extra glam in sarees.

    Even traditional silk sarees are becoming contemporary to woo more ladies. Gone are the days of heavy sarees with so-boring borders, these days you have crystals doing peek-a-boo in sarees, you have faces of Cinderella, lord Krishna and others peeping out of your borders. Don’t like too much of gold, why these days you even have silver color zari in kanjeevaram sarees. Some of them have meenakari work 'colored thread work' that resembles the meenakari work on gold. The motifs also are so unique. And shops offer light weight pure silk sarees to suit those formal occasions in office, without giving an 'over-the-top' looks normally associated with silks. Even [/FONT]<st1:City><st1:place>[FONT=&quot]Mysore[/FONT]</st1:place></st1:City>[FONT=&quot] silks are getting very trendy and are attracting the teens and the twenty something crowds. The saree shops have probably thought of all people. There are some of us, who think killing silk worms to wear a saree is a sin; well for such people many shops in Chennai stock Ahimsa sarees. These Ahimsa sarees are the ones that are manufactured from silk procured from worms without killing them. Apart from silks, you have sarees being designed out of very available fabric and embellished with very contemporary themes and prints.

    Saree is thus making its presence felt as a garment that could suit all shapes and sizes of ladies, fit the requirements of various age groups and also fit in a wide range of budgets. Why not give the crown to this multi-faceted garment that says 'signature dress of Indian women'?

    I rest my case.

    Sunita

    [/FONT]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2006
  9. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Hai,
    The article is a good one. The saree is a wonderful outfit no doubt. It is more sexy than a western outfit. An old saree can be used for many purposes, as a doli for the baby, as bedding when folded and many other uses. In old days, a teenager gol her first half saree from her mother's old sari.
    But I prefer the salwar kameez or churidar, which can cover the body well and also is very convenient for today's women. It is good for travel, we can climb to the upper berth in a train without any embarassement. While driving a two wheeler, when carrying heavy baggage, the salwar sure is a convenient dress. The dupatta gives it more respectability. And it is easy to walk in a salwar than in a saree.
    But one thing is sure, whatever dress one wears, it should be modest and should not be an eye sore. I am witnessing women who wear a nightie with out undergarments or petticoat, salwar kameez with out undergarments or dupatta or a proper shimmi and women wearing saree with out bra and proper lenthed petticoats, blouses without proper hooks and very open necks (back and front), T shirts which are a size too small and what not.
    If a women wears a saree clumsily, nobody gives a damn, but if other dresses are worn like that, people object. And I would say that the saree exposes the human boy more than any other dress could.
    I used to wear sarees mostly before and salwars occasionally. But now I prefer salwar most of the time and saree only for special occasions.
    Both my sils prefer saree at all times. After all, a dress should be comfortable to wear.
    With warm wishes,
    Varloo
    varloo
     
  10. Vaijayanthi

    Vaijayanthi New IL'ite

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    saree and salwar

    Must it be Sari OR Salwar ? Can't it be sari and Salwar -- which is what most of us -- wisely-- use . The sari's elegance & dignity can never be denied , while the universal popularity of the salwar for its convenience , is here to stay ! Thus , like needing both our eyes , I say let us continue as we are , using them both according to occasion .
     

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