The most gorgeous colors and patterns are found in the most inexpensive, hand block printed cotton fabric in India. Here are two hard working gems from my wordrobe, a timeless handwoven tussar and another in hand block printed border and pallu. Somehow they seem to have new life in them all thanks to the blouses that I wore them with.
I have to start with this saree. It is a Himroo from Aurangabad that my son and his girlfriend had chosen for me when they had traveled to India a few years ago. What really makes it special is the weave and the colors. The understated palette of a very mellow yellow that is almost beige with the silvery thread work. What master weavers we have in our country. I paired it with this beautiful silver choker that I had bought in Bangalore years ago when I used to live there. It’s my favorite piece and really complements almost everything I wear. I’ve worn it with a white dress shirt and jeans and on occassion to work in non Indian clothes even. Here it’s pulling the silver from the thread work and sits heavy and snug on my neck, that I really like.
I have to say that I like looking at a stylish salwar kameez but I have got away from buying too many/ any when I travel to India. It’s just that the styles and fashions change and I end up looking like a period piece heroine/ character actress from an old film after a few short years. Needless to say the give or (more likely) take of carb filled months does take it’s toll on the general appearance! Here is one of my favorite rather ‘Jhatak’ suit that I had bought a few years back. The gota and stone work does give it a pretty shine and paired with a beige dupatta and churidar with gold khadi work, it really needs very little to amp up the look.
We moved to the US because of my husband’s work. I wasn’t crazy about the move at all. However the children were very young at the time and it seemed a great opportunity to be able to travel and expose the children to the wide world out there.
Everyone has a favorite saree boutique or will tell you awe inspiring stories of their favorite ones. Among those greats in boutiques/design house names is Kanishka from Kolkata. I have personally never been there, I have only visited their stall here in the US. I really liked this saree, the color the design and Mr Kanishka told me how he designed it with circles and stripes! Well here I am in Barcelona where I wore this saree one evening, stripes circles and all!
Sometimes a milestone in life is so special that you need months to celebrate. Here we are on our 25th anniversary, both gray and older and so happy to have made a wonderful life together. Both of us have known loss early and that love is not enough to make it together. His father died at 44 and my mother at 39 in terrible accidents. And the fact that we both were ready to kill each other for the fist five years of our marriage! I celebrated with this beautiful green cotton with a begampuri weave with kantha stitches running through the body. And we also adopted this desi dog, a quintessential part of India a week before the event.
Here is one of my favorite sarees, a maroon and gold Kanchivaram. It’s gorgeous without being over the top. Who would say it is over twenty five years old! The thick silk has kept up it’s patina and drapes like a dream. Sometimes you need a little warmth in the cold climes of the East Coast here in the US. That’s when this hand embroidered shawl does finish the look. It’s a pashmina and a gift from my sister several years ago. It does double down as a long scarf sometimes being of fabric that folds down to shape very well.
It was Thanksgiving in my house when I wore this simple polycot saree. It was really about being able to wash the saree should I accidentally drop something on it. As usual that favorite silver choker is compensating for all the glamour that the saree is missing. And there is so much to be said for the blouse. Its a simple hand block printed cotton in vegetable dyes. It’s not even a good fit because it was one of my first attempts at stitching. The colors simply take a lovely hue and unexpectedly breath new life into a boring or dull saree. I’ve worn it with other sarees to the same effect. Doing the most good to my ensemble! The picture couldn’t have been complete without the masterpiece that anchors everything, my handwoven Indian carpet. Sorry couldn’t resist the pun!
my 25+ year old thick cream and pink Kanchi.
I’m always on the lookout for unusual pieces of jewelry. Nothing is high or low end, it’s only about beauty! On principle I don’t buy diamond and gold jewelry. I cherish what I have of course! But that has left me free to splurge on silver and other beautiful sets that might be considered low brow for a few. It’s always worked to my advantage because you can never guess what might work with which outfit (or Saree in my case) and end up stealing the evening for you!
Here is Mita’s recommendation on must haves in every Indian woman’s wardrobe :
“You can never have enough sarees ever. Having said that if I had to recommend only three, I’d say they would all have to be handloom sarees.A tussar silk for almost any event, a glorious Kancheevaram for when you have to look spectacular and a cotton tant for summer.Saree is hard to wear and requires the under skirt and a blouse. However with some help they all would like to wear one for that very special occasion. I do think everyone would like to own at least own one. ”