Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Summer Sari in the Workplace - 7 tips to help you take your sari from the wardrobe to the workplace with confidence

We’re back with another post from the Summer Sari Series. Saris and summer, they belong to each other, irrespective of all those myths and notions we swathe this concept in (“I can’t wear a sari when it’s muggy and hot – it adds to the discomfort!”).

Photo credit: Byloom

And the sari can serve you just as well at the workplace when the season turns up its heat. Whether you work a 9 to 9 job in a 2 by 2 cubicle, you hunt down stories in the villages of India, you work your craft in a home studio or you spend your day in a classroom, a sari can bring a good dollop of style, professionalism and comfort within the cottony folds of its fabric.

So, here are a few ways to wear it to your workplace, wherever that may be.

1. Choose fabrics that don’t crinkle up in a snap. I prefer Kota dorias, Chanderi cotton silks, Maheshwari cottons and Garden chiffons over the crispest of Bengal cottons for the days when I have to spend my days traveling around town interviewing people for stories or when I’m seeking out stories in the villages of India.

Rajeshwari Iyer, a blog friend & sari aficionado, in one of her 'work saris'...

2. Choose saris that provide plenty of movement and feel easy on your being. The quickest way to shun the sari as workwear is to wear one that slips off in a jiffy / feels cumbersome / restricts movement / seems unmanageable. I make it a point not to wear my heavy cottons/party chiffons/slippery silks to the workplace, which I find unpractical for a day filled with traveling and meetings.

3. Wear a sari that looks professional. Oh yes, each sari has a look of its own. Party. Confernecy. Brunch. Evening out. Wedding. If you wear a sequin-encrusted sari or a net sari that belongs to a teeny-tiny halter blouse, you’re not going to earn any brownie points for wearing a sari to the workplace. I prefer wearing handloom saris as well as the practical & pretty Garden chiffons to work over blingy polyesters and butter-soft chiffons.

4. Drape your sari well. By this I don’t meant that you have to work yourself into a tizzy creating perfect pleats. Perfectionism isn’t the goal, but neatness is. Use a few safety pins to hold your pleats and pallu in place, lest the former unravels or the latter falls off your shoulder.

5. Team your saris with the right kind of blouses. Halter blouses and backless cholis look great when you’re wearing your sari to a party. But for work wear, choose blouses that are sensible. Not boring, but smart. Keep those blouses with deep necks and backs for the evening, and invest in a few that you can wear with saris to the work place. Choose moderate cuts, simpler designs and smart prints or neutrals. I like to have 5-6 blouses in my work wardrobe in maroon/black/bottle green/blue/dull gold/beige with embroidery or some interesting elements that I can mix and match with several of my saris.

Priya Kadapa Shah in a sari + blouse combo that's smart + chic

6. While accessorizing, keep the ‘Christmas Tree’ look at bay. Keep those chunky gold and kundan sets for parties and weddings. Choose jewelery made with natural material like beads, silver, wood and fabric that’ll complement your outfit. If your’re a diamond and gold kinda girl, choose small pieces for your work wear.  

7. Get comfortable in your sari – it’ll reflect in your stance. This won’t happen overnight. But if you persist out of love for the garment, there will come a day when you can wear a sari with ease and carry it off with confidence.

So, here’s wishing you the best as you step into the work world in your gorgeous saris. Join this sari conversation at my blog page – Chandana Banerjee: a journal & a journey.

#100sareepact #summersari #sari


  1. enjoyed reading the piece and loved the sari pics even more. :)

  2. Totally agree with you there! I wear a lot of sarees to work and I have some similar rules for myself.

  3. Kanchan & Parul - thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed the sari piece :-)

  4. Very true.. It's like sari 101 for office wear.

  5. I recently came across this saree fetish you and I am one among you. Loved the article and the beautiful women in the pics carrying their saree with èlan.


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