The saree is the traditional outfit of women in India and the Indian subcontinent. The word saree is a derivative of the prakrit word Sattika. This glamorous, yet demure outfit first originated in southern India and today has gained enough popularity to symbolize itself as an Indian heritage and legacy. The reputation of the saree has spread so much that even women from other parts of the world, of different nationalities and cultures are also taking an active interest in it.
The saree is an extremely versatile outfit. The length ranges from 5 yards to 9.5 yards, depending on the style in which it is meant to be worn. Usually the more gorgeous sarees such as kanjeevarams or benarasis are longer than the daily wear sarees.
The different regions of India each have their own traditional clothing. The Punjabis have their Patiala salwar, marwaris have their lehenga, gujratis have sarees as well as lehengas and so on and so forth. But in spite of this the saree has encompassed the entire country so that women wear it in all parts of the country.
The saree can be draped over the body in numerous ways. The usual style is wrapping it around the waist so that it covers the midriff and runs over the shoulder. But, no matter how you drape it, the fact remains that the beauty of a woman is best showcased when draped in an elegant saree.
The saree is preferred as the de rigueur attire for all formal occasions and festivals. A travel through the various regions of the country highlights the numerous versions of the saree available in each state. West Bengal has its famous cotton tangails and dhaniakhalis along with Murshidabad and baluchori silks. The average Bengali women prefer simple printed cotton sarees for daily use. Cotton sarees are easy to manage and are very comfortable during the hot summer months. The silks are used as formal wear.
The specialty of Orissa lies in their ikkat, sambhalpuri and kotki saris. The kanjeevaram silks of southern India is a must have for every Indian woman. However, the most expensive of all Indian sarees is the benarasi which is woven in silk with golden or silver threads. This extravagant saree is woven in Benares in Uttar Pradesh. It is typically worn by brides on their wedding day.
One of the most important components of the saree is the blouse. A well designed blouse effectively enhances the look of a saree. The blouse is usually low necked and short sleeved and made to complement the saree. It completes the entire ensemble. Modern designer blouses are tailored in trendy styles such as halter neck, backless, strapless and off shoulders for a different look.
Whether it's a party, wedding, anniversary or festival, you are sure to see beautiful women decked up in gorgeous sarees. Sarees are also a reflection of the status, religion and economic condition of the women who are wearing it.
The saree is significant of Indian culture and encompasses the everlasting charm of Indian women.