Classic sari gets bold new tweaks

It is now being worn with trousers, belts and jackets, and the trend again testifies to its extreme versatility.

Fashion blogger Nandini Swaminathan says that draping experiments offer fun takes on the regular sari.

For generations, the sari has been considered the most graceful garment a woman can wear.

The nine-yard classic can be draped in various ways and styles, with its timelessness intact.

Thanks to its versatility, today, designers and fashionistas are opening up to experimenting with saris. 

They are using leggings and belts to jazz up the traditional outfit. 

“I usually wear saris with a blazer or a formal shirt,” says Nandini Swaminathan, fashion blogger. 

The draping experiments offer fun takes on the sari, which in itself is a versatile garment, she says. You can wear saris as daily wear and workwear, and also to cocktail parties and weddings. 

“During summer, pastel colours like powder blue on cotton saris look refreshing. Ace this look with crop tops, embroidered crop tops or halter neck tops. If you want to experiment with blazers, go for cotton, lightweight ones. You can also wear an oversized belt over a sari,” says Nandini.  

She recommends repurposing what already exists in the closet, but it is important not to overdo it.  

“For example, if you are wearing a sari with a belt, avoid wearing pants and crop tops all at once,” she says.


Palazzo pants paired with a sari designed by
Rishi and Vibhuti.

In Bengaluru, this trend is catching on but only among a few.

“Women are still sceptical to wear, say, a sari with pants every day. The work culture is changing and so should our fashion choices,” she says.   

Most fashionistas are influenced by celebrities like television actress Hina Khan, who often experiments with drapes.

Indo-Western saris, as they are called, have been in vogue for a long time and are making a conspicuous comeback this year. 

Designer Pria Kataaria Puri says, “With ethnic-athletic fashion becoming a trend, a modern sari teamed with a pair of trousers, leggings or belt becomes practical.”

These styles can be worn by any body type. The only thing women need is a positive and confident attitude, she says. 

A large percentage of NRIs wear saris. And they are always on the lookout for designer creations with modern and practical tweaks. 

“There are a hundred ways one can wear a sari. These days, the conventional underskirt is being replaced by jeans, shorts, leggings or stockings. One can also wear a normal sari with a jacket, blazer or a waistcoat and give a twist,” says Priya. 

Designer Rishi of fashion label Rishi and Vibuti says comfort is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the sari. 

“Dark colours and light-weight fabrics make one feel breezy, and you can pair up a sari with skinny pants. Avoid using a dupatta and always wear a full sari, if you are planning to wear a sari with pants,”  he says.

A monochrome look where the colour of the sari and the pants is the same can look stylish and elegant. However, if one wants to experiment, contrasting colours come in handy. 

“Wear it to a formal event, lunch or farewell and make heads turn,” says Rishi. 


Pria Kataaria Puri, Designer

Tips to slay the look 

Accessorise and match makeup with the style of the sari you are wearing. For example, if you are wearing a sari with a white linen jacket, keep your makeup as minimal as possible (black eyeliner and nude lips with a ponytail), and complete your look with ankle-length boots and geometric jewellery. 

Make sure your entire look is contemporary. Don’t try to pull off a bindi and loud Indian makeup with a contemporary look. 

Pria Kataaria Puri, Designer

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