Of cotton yards that spin many a yarns

Last Updated 15 February 2013, 13:15 IST

Cotton sarees are one of the coolest picks this summer, writes Vinaya Govind.

Whether or not Sridevi’s English Vinglish made waves for its powerful message, for a lover of cotton sarees, she certainly did bring out the everlasting charm of cottons. The elegant sarees with golden borders and pallus made her look graceful even at her age.

My mom’s Sunday regimen included washing, starching, drying and pressing of cotton sarees. We, as children then, helped her in drying them by holding the ends of the saree, stretching it to remove all the wrinkles, waving it aloft, laying it down on the terrace and placing stones on the four corners. In about half hour, these crispy sarees would be brought down and steam-ironed by mom. These sarees, in a way, reflected her persona. Cool and charming. I was next in line to flaunt my cotton collection.

Cotton sarees are said to be perfect for summers because its weave is such that it allows air to pass to your body, keeping you cool. Earlier, cotton sarees were worn only by middle or old-aged women. Now, young ladies feel it is chic as they are available in a plethora of designs and colours. Teachers and office-goers make sure cottons are part of their wardrobe. And yes, cotton sarees resembling silk ones are definitely a hit among party lovers.

Cotton sarees woven across India differ in their texture, borders and colours. Sarees woven in Tamilnadu, called the ‘Kanchi Cottons’ are well known for the border and pallu which have either thread or zari weaves. Motifs, checks or dots cover the body of these sarees. Sarees with rich gold borders and pallus are dearer. From Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Venkagiri Sarees’ woven from fine cotton yarn have rich golden borders. Motifs for the body can be parrots, coins and leaves, or sometimes simple stripes of colour. The simpler-looking sarees have contrasting block prints. ‘Khadi Sarees’ made from hand-spun cotton yarn are simple yet elegant.

They are woven in subtle shades and have delicate designs and borders. The Bengal cotton sarees, known as ‘Taant’, are a must-have for saree lovers. Taant means ‘made on the loom’.

These are traditionally worn by Bengali women. The Gadwal sarees are off-white with thread embroidery. Earthy browns and shades of grey for the basic body enhance the beauty of the embroidery. ‘Kota Doria Cotton Sarees’ made in Rajasthan, are probably the most light-weighted and delicate sarees. The specialty of these sarees is that they have a checkered look in the weave.

These sarees are expensive for the exclusive tie-dye, embroidery, and appliqué work. ‘Jamdhani Sarees’ from UP are woven in colourful shades with stripes or flower patterns adorning the body. ‘Sambalpuri Cotton Sarees’ of Orissa come in ikkat patterns in contrasting geometric motifs. Cotton for these sarees are first tie-dyed and then woven. These sarees are expensive because they are handwoven and the huge amount of labour involved in their production.

Orissa’s ‘Vichitrapuri Cotton Sarees’, used as wedding sarees, have ikkat patterns on them. To enhance their beauty, they are woven with both gold and cotton threads. ‘Ikkat Sarees’ of North Karnataka too are available in bright colours and much sought after for its classy look. Down South, the ‘Kashavu Sarees’ of Kerala are elegant and impressive for their golden borders and floral designs on the basic body.
These sarees are the best not only to beat the summer heat but also for any formal occasion.

Since ages, the versatile saree has been rendered one of the classiest and elegant clothings for women, never going out of fashion and never failing to make a statement. As Bangalore summer hangs around the corner, cotton sarees are sure to be the choicest wears this season.

 Young or old, women and girls of all ages have been drawn to this long piece of versatile Indian clothing.

 The grace, charm, and elegance that it oozes remain unchallenged by any other type of clothing. Whether you want a traditional or chic look, elegant or bubbly look, somber or grand look, a cotton saree lends itself to every kind of personality. All this, while still retaining its comfort-wear status! What’s not to like about it, women ask.
Needless to say, cotton sarees are an embodiment of the typical Indian woman who is modern by thought and traditional by beauty.  


* Pair earthy coloured (red, maroon, brown, dark green, and dark blue) cotton sarees with terracotta jewellery and a pair of simple sandals with traditional lace work on it. This look is great for a formal occasion or even as an everyday look.

* For marriages or parties, wear traditional jhumkas and neckpiece with small white pearls and coloured stones. For an afternoon event, choose bright and sunny coloured cotton sarees in red, or yellow, or orange. For an evening event, choose dark colours like maroon, dark blue, or black.

* Cotton sarees yield the best of traditional beauty when accessorized with gold and white pearl bangles. They add the perfect desi touch to your entire gait. 

*  Apply dark red nail polish on well-groomed nails for a cotton saree of any colour. It will always remain a classic and never fail to make a statement.

(Published 15 February 2013, 13:15 IST)

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