One thing I was interested in with coming to India is the different clothing is the different clothing. Most Indian women do not wear clothing that is shorter than their knee and usually keep their shoulders covered. Although I have seen other girls wear jeans and a t-shirt, it still is not as common. Indian women wear what are called kurtas. These are basically longer shirts, usually with slits on the side and sometimes come with pockets. Most kurtas are very brightly colored and have matching leggings and scarves called duppattas.
For more formal occasions sarees are worn. When you go to purchase a saree, there are many different pieces to buy and steps to go through before it is able to be worn. The saree usually comes as a 6 to 9 yard piece of fabric with a special end piece that is used to make the blouse. You also need to get a petticoat to tuck the saree into. When you take the fabric to the tailor he will measure you and make the blouse to your body. This part was especially neat for me because I got to see the different tools they use for constructing outfits and compare them to the ones we use. About a week later you get your blouse back from the tailor and you finally have all the pieces! Indian women may have anywhere from 20 to 70 sarees and many get quite a few when they get married.
Once you have the saree, putting it on is a whole other obstacle! I brought mine to school and asked some of the ladies from the custodial staff to wrap me. I could attempt to tell you how they did it but I would not do it justice. Wrapping someone in a saree is an art form and everyone does it differently. All the folds and tucks and pleats had to be perfect and these women really were amazing. A saree is not complete without jewelry and Saumya kindly lent us some of her beautiful jewelry for the day. After applying bindis to our forehead, we were ready!
I felt like a princess! There is something about wearing a saree that makes you sit up a little taller and walk a little bit more graceful. Walking up stairs was a different story for sure! I can’t count how many times I stepped on my saree walking up and down the stairs, thankfully the women who wrapped my saree did a very good job! I can understand why wearing sarees everyday isn’t as common anymore, although I personally enjoy the chance to get all fancy every so often!