The six yards are my cape! Anyday!
As a child, if you have seen your mother step out every single day for her workplace in the most graceful sarees, it is very natural to grow up absorbing a warm affinity towards the six yards. No wonder when I started working, saree it was every day to college. Years later too, with a small child and despite a war-like situation every morning, I remember wrapping myself in crisp cottons in summers and lush silks in winters in gross 5 mins and almost running to make it on time to be there for my school assembly every morning. Delhi allows you to indulge in the luxury of having a different wardrobe every season and I made the most of the six years that we stayed there.
My long sabbatical from work was also a sabbatical of sorts from sarees. I’m back with a bang to draping them again in my second innings as a writer and Spoken Word Performer for most of my events now. Most of my collection of exotic silk and crepe sarees are hand-me-downs from my Mom and Mom-in-law. It feels like a fortune that I have inherited from them. Over the years, I have shopped myself mostly for cotton and linen sarees and love teaming them up with quirky blouses from ‘Muchukalis’. Their high necks, straight cuts and a comfort fit is just the way I want my blouse to be.
Fab India suits and dupattas (silks and cotton both) are my other go-to attire. My wardrobe has dupattas as old as 16 years brought from Fabindia stores in Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Kolkatta- places that we kept moving to over the last 20 years of our married life. The one in the picture is an absolute favourite Lucknowi suit with a pink floral cotton duppatta. (Fab India)
Lest I forget, once in a while when the mood is western, my inches oblige and I’m ready to make the effort of pulling a dress down my pleasantly plump frame, it’s always a Marks & Spencer. Cuts that camouflage my love handles and all that is buxom are the best cuts- anyday 😉
(Jasmine Khurana was an economics professor and has now found her calling as a writer and a spoken word artist.)
I normally shy away from bright colours, but this neon green shirt with gold buttons is something that the offspring shoe horned me into yesterday. “Why do you only wear black and dull colours?” he grumbled, and I was forced to concede he had a point. Why do I only wear black and dull colours, what is the mind block that makes me think I draw too much attention to myself if I wear a bright colour? This is something I need to examine and conquer, and wear bright colours with panache.
The rest of me was rather drab, I concede, dressed up in a rush, with my standard denims, tan T Strap Bata faithfuls and a yellow Woodland square shoulder bag.
The blouse though, added all the colour I could ever need. Tell me, do you shy away from bright colours too?
Pardon the blurry photography skills in this one, it is the offspring clicking, and I must concede he always makes me look just that bit more softly and indulgently into the camera.
While denim is my standard go to look for every single thing–I think I’m going to write it into my funeral instructions that I go off to the electric crematorium in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers-I try to jazz it up a bit for times when I’m on display. This is a royal blue empire line top in chiffon with some diamante at the waist, of indeterminate origin bought off some store in Lokhandwala market, worn with a pearl and blue stone chain (which of course has gone awry given I can never keep all parts of self in coherent assemblage). The bag is a huge black Zara which fits in everything plus the kitchen sink, and some more. Sometimes I suspect if I fall into my handbag, I might just emerge into an alternate universe. Does that happen with you too?
“I can’t really call myself a fashionista but have always loved to look fashionable in every attire without being too obsessed about the idea. I have always been known as a pant/jeans/t shirt/top kind of woman since my teenage for both casual and work look mainly because I loved the comfort wear both at home and work. Even though I always admired women in sarees for me personally it was nothing less than a nightmare and then getting married to an Army officer and wearing sarees for every other formal parties became my biggest worry I spent hours perfecting my drape and eventually lost interest in attending such parties.
With time things changed as I crossed mid forties having more time to myself with kids grown up and husband busy in his own world. I started enjoying the experience of draping the six yards to my pleasure and in the bargain collected sarees from different states, weave, material and work from all over the country wherever my husband got posted from Valleys to deserts to mountains. Having touched my golden era, the 50’s, recently I realised that I am absolutely crazy about draping a saree for any occasion matching them with beads, pearls, semi-precious and precious jewellery along with silver, gold and diamond. I do wear my long gowns and anarkalis for certain stage performances or semi formal occasions too but sarees are my all time favourite which I feel surely adds the feminine charm and grace at my age.”
(Madhumita Sinha is an HR professional and a corporate trainer by profession , a published author of a book of poems ‘Heartbeats ‘ 72 random beats , a performing poet by passion and contributes regularly to international and national literary journals. She is part of four anthologies published by different publishers so far. She is also an avid Toastmaster.)
Rajeshwari wears a creamish ivory cotton silk saree from Pallam Silks with a blood red and blue border accessorized with Kemp temple jewellery, sporting the traditional South Indian look and finished with a mogra gajraa hair accessory for her bun.
A pastel yellow chiffon shirt with minimal accessories defining her Corporate look.
(Rajeshwari Ashish Jain runs an organisation that empowers women.)
Janice Goveas, Josephine’s daughter writes about her mom’s style:
“My mum attracts some lovely sarees. And she has a penchant for matching it up with some perfect blouses. This is mum in coffee shop in South Mumbai looking very elegant in her Kolkata cotton silk saree. Again note the no makeup look and hair tied in a bun and only her interesting saree blouse as accessory.
As a teacher her cotton sarees were her hallmark and all her students identify with the impeccable way she drapes her saree. This is my mum in her Kolkata cotton saree which has thread ‘butis’. One thing to note is my mum will never wear make up but ties her salt and pepper bun in her signature style to look understated by yet oh so chic. “
I love to combine gypsy style skirts/ghagras in earthy block prints or bright chintz prints with smart shirt style kurtas, jackets etc. Tribal accessories such as big glass work rings, gypsy earrings & necklace, anklets with shells and bells, and Doc Marten Boots complete this look. I have a tribal dots tattoo on my chin and like to paint more of those on my neck. The idea is to keep it fun, bright and eclectic to keep the girl in my alive!
My most usual way of dressing and also my favourite- combine a simple handloom saree with a contrast, bold and colourful blouse. I play with tartans, floral and Kutch mirror work. Also seen in the photos here is a backless blouse (which is very bohemian and playful) which I wore with a plain lime green linen saree.
All the sarees in these pics are traditional weaves from local weavers of Kerala, Bengal and Rajasthan.
I usually wear antique or arty silver earrings and a big statement ring with this ensemble.
This style brings out the sensual woman in me while asserting my love for the local and everything Indian ️
(Atika Gupta is 47 years young. A Corporate PR Communications professional with a keen eye for innovation and detail, she has successfully spearheaded launch of luxury boutique hotels, bookstores and an art gallery. Her passion for art and literature has led Atika to effectively curate and strategise events across various international platforms. She is a self-proclaimed workaholic, perfectionist and foodie. When not working, she likes to pursue her interests in singing, dancing, cooking and reading. She’s the proud mother of two sons, 24 and 18 years old.)
I look for quiet and calm amidst chaos. Therefore, comfort rules my dress code.
And my wardrobe consists mostly of sober cotton, handloom and silk kurtas. I end
up wearing black more often especially when I don’t want to think through colour
schemes. My collection of traditional dupattas/stoles from all over India blends
perfectly with my salwar suits. And the latest addition to my collection is an
Assamese handwoven ‘tongali’ (worn by the farmer as a waistcloth). In this
picture, with a plain silver coloured kurta, I have wrapped a stole embellished with
kantha work around my neck. This stole is from Bengal.
For any kind of meetings and get-togethers, I prefer the Assamese mekhela sador
(mostly the handwoven ones). And for formal gatherings I prefer a paat silk
mekhela sador. Paat silk is probably one of the lightest silks. In this photograph
clicked on the streets of New York, I am wearing a white cotton mekhela sador
with blue and purple flowers. The flower motif is a traditional design called king
khap. The Halloween pumpkins in the backdrop almost seem like an art
(Teresa Rehman is an award-winning journalist and author based in Assam. She
loves collecting ethnic accessories from different corners of India and the world.)