Saree – The quintessential Indian women clothing


Saree is a cultural icon and an epitome of India’s rich and traditions. Sari is the most graceful Indian ethnic outfit and the quintessential Indian women clothing. It is perhaps one of the oldest and the only unstitched garment from the past. Over the years, it has become a sensuous all-time-wear for Indian women, but it has always been the ‘canvas’ for weavers and printers to create motifs that resonated their regional culture and traditions.


Saree is one of the oldest forms of Indian clothing, with references that can be traced back to centuries. Throughout history, women wore different types of regional sarees made of silk, cotton, ikat, block-print and embroidery for festive and everyday occasions. Today, sarees come up in different fabrics, styles, prints and embellishments. Indian women prefer to wear a variety of sarees for different occasions.

History of saree

Each region of India has its own unique style of weave or print of sari. Tant, Jamdani, Baluchari, Ajrakh, Bandhani, Ikat, Pochampally, Chanderi, Maheshwari etc are some of the distinctive varieties to name.

Maharani Indira Devi of Cooch Behar, née Shrimant Maharajkumari Indira Raje Gaekwad of Baroda

Maharani Indira Devi of Cooch Behar popularised chiffon saree into high fashion. She had her white silk chiffon sarees woven in France to her personal specifications. The chiffon sari homogenised fashion across the country. Its light, soft and elegant drape made to ideal for the Indian climate.


There are a variety of draping styles. The most popular style of today’s saree draping known as “Nivi” that originated in Andhra Pradesh where the cloth is pleated and tucked into the petticoat or inner-skirt at the waist,  with the other end draped over the shoulder. Ṛta Kapur Chishti’s book ‘Saris: Tradition and Beyond’  documents 108 ways from across fourteen states of wearing a Sari.

The saree is worn with a fitted bodice known as blouse/choli forming the upper garment. Women prefer to wear elaborate and highly embellished saree with zari, resham, beadwork etc for weddings. Brocade silk sarees like Banarasi, Kanchipuram, Uppada, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Mekhela are worn mostly during festive occasions.

Saree is a versatile and elegant dress for all seasons and occasions making it the most preferred garment by the Indian women.

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