If you’re a western woman whose penchant runs toward baggy jeans matched with your favorite faded T-shirt, you will feel very out-of-place if you visit the remote district of Kutch, Gujarat where the women there take their dressing to a very high standard and the influence of western fashion hasn’t as yet had much impact. Every aspect of the female attire is carefully and lovingly considered. There is one meandering lane that I enjoy strolling down that caters to the fashion needs of all women and where the art of dressing is not a dying art.
The buyer makes her selection. If the sari doesn’t come with its own “blouse piece,” she then chooses fabric to coordinate with the sari that a tailor will stitch into a short blouse or choli . In the photo above the salesman is helping the woman match the precise color she requires. You can see that he is holding a corner of a sample that the woman needs matched and is indicating a few possibilities to her. Sometimes in addition to the blouse material, lining is even matched up if the outer blouse is sheer.
Wherever you look there are stunning piles of fabrics tempting you to touch them. Though the Indian male tends to dominate in nearly all aspects of life (and that could easily be the subject of a different post) – there is no doubt that you have clearly entered a world that caters to women on this lane. Sadly because this region is
so remote and conservative, all the sales people are men.
The petticoat is the foundation for the sari. The modern sari gets tucked into and elaborately wrapped around, pleated and tucked into the waistband of this undergarment. Most women buy them ready-made though some have them stitched to order by a tailor. Most saris are sheer and lightweight so the petticoat acts like a lining too. The petticoat has a drawstring waist. Sometimes petticoats have ornamented hemlines. When a woman moves and a flash of her embroidered petticoat shows, it looks very alluring.
No sari in India is complete without perfectly matched rows of bangle bracelets to complement its color and design.
When I am in India, especially in Kutch, I tend to pay much more attention to my appearance and what I wear than any other place. It is the pleasure and right of being female. A pleasure that perhaps is lost in the west and feels more like a burden but when exercised and embraced is ever so enjoyable as demonstrated by the women of Kutch.