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The elegant sari FALLS

The sari has been relegated to a once-in-a-way wear in everyday dressing.


Wearing a sari makes me all dolled up. With trousers I can work and move about freely. Saris have been reduced to wedding wear. Usha, businesswoman



OUT OF FAVOUR: The sari is deemed impractical wear today

Generation X has rejected the traditional sari to being only a festival wear. Convenience and comfort is the dictum of contemporary fashion scene and so one finds very few sari-clad women these days. Most of them wear the more practical salwar kameez. "A salwar kameez is the ideal wear for office and for travelling in city buses. It is not at all revealing and gives away nothing to ogling eyes. Besides a sari is a sexy dress in all respects. We are exposing a little here and there," says Menaka Ravindran, a bank employee.

Impractical

With fewer women wearing the sari it looks like practical Indian ladies are donning comfortable western wear and discarding the traditional counterpart en masse.

"Once you master the art of draping a sari it takes just five minutes to wear one. But time, being the main criteria this draping is turning impractical. And looks like it will be difficult for the sari to sustain in the matter-of-fact world with better options like western outfits and the salwar kameez," says Shruthi, a student of fashion technology.

"If there were alternative ways to wear a sari more contemporary women would come forward to accept it in the name of convenience. I saw this fashion show in Dubai, which showcased 100 wears to drape a sari but that is practical till the ramp only. Now the sari has been largely reduced to wedding or an eveningwear. Wearing a sari makes me feel conscious and dolled up. While with trousers I feel I can work and move about freely," says Usha a businesswoman.

Another reason for the sari to lose out to other attires is because it is not ready-to-wear. The colour of the blouse has to match and the blouse has to be tailored to perfection. Not to forget the matching petticoats to accompany. Salwars and other western outfits are akin to ready-to-eat meal like "select, buy and wear".

Not cool

Most women are of the opinion that sari does not give a casual and cool look suitable to the current fast paced life. "It even slows down a person's practical movement. Once you experience freedom of movement in trousers and salwars you don't want to pick a sari for daily wear," says Ms. Usha.

" The sari gives one a very traditional look. Most of the time we don't fancy that. We want a modern and hip look ," says Sangita, a college student. With salwars each time the trend keeps varying, making room for array of collection. To many sari has become synonymous with monotony.

Time consuming

The Indian market is flooded with casual western outfits and designer wear. It's easy accessibility is another reason for the decline of the sari. "Life has become much faster than ever before. Designers are bringing in a variety of saris but they are not affordable for the layman. Moreover, people are not willing to be adventurous and experiment with new styles of drapes. I believe nobody has the time and energy for it. This was the response I got while I conducted a survey for my academics in parts of Kerala," informs Ms. Shruthi.

Special place

But the sari is not an endangered species. It is unquestionably here to stay as the most coveted outfit of the Indian women. Whenever an Indian woman is referred to in the international scenario its always a sari clad woman. "Moreover, most Indian men like to see their women dressed in a sari as this gives them a very traditional look. This was how the men responded to my survey," adds Shruthi. So the sari may not be the most worn garment from a wardrobe but it is a must in an Indian wardrobe to be taken out for that special occasion.

JESSINA ABOOBACKER

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