Friday, September 30, 2016

Sari Love - Meenakshi Gupta talks to us about Your Saree for Dignity campaign

Hello sari-lifestylers! I am honored to introduce today's guest - Meenakshi Gupta, the co-founder of Goonj. I love each of Goonj's campaigns - well-thought out and practical, these impact people's lives in so many different ways. While you can know more about all these campaigns here, today we talk to Meenakshi about the Your Saree for Dignity campaign. About how your sari can make a difference to someone's life. How it can clothe a woman and preserve her dignity. How that sari goes beyond her clothing needs.

A note and a request: My earlier post about 5 ways to share/donate a sari sparked off some interesting discussions on certain forums. About whether one should give a new sari or a gently-used one. I gather, some of you may want to only give brand new saris and that's applause-worthy. But let that not stop us from sharing and giving from within our current stash of saris, considering that each sari that we donate can actually make a difference to another woman's clothing needs.

Just imagine, if all of us shared even 1 gently-used (or new, if that's what you'd like to buy and donate) sari, how many women we'd be able to help through this simple gift. #share1saripact

The organisations I mentioned in the blog post happily accept gently-used saris. Gently-used would be saris that you've loved and worn for a while. Saris that aren't threadbare and torn. Saris that are clean and washed. If you're still wondering whether to give a new or gently-used sari, feel free to contact any of the organisations and ask what they'd like.

Here's our conversation with Meenakshi Gupta.

Why is Goonj collecting saris?

Meenakshi:  Sarees is an integral part of women wear in rural India. Even though urban India has slowly transformed to a suit salwar duppatta or western wear etc. rural India is still closely attached to this distinctly India garment. The reality around sarees is that- Typically in far flung deep interiors of rural India women still survive on 2-3 sarees. Like in urban India most rural women tend to put their own needs, whether cloth, food, health education, as a last priority so sarees for themselves don’t really come up as priority. Talking about clothes.. women tend to use even what they have in terms of last shreds of sarees, petticoats, blouses to address the most basic monthly need of menses.

Please give me an overview of this campaign and how do you think it will impact women.

Meenakshi: Women in rural India still live a life bound by a lot of traditions and customs thus their attire, unlike urban Indian women is slow to change. Thus a big part of rural India still wears sarees unlike urban India. Whenever we talk of reaching out clothing for women in rural India we find that in many regions women still wear sarees or the traditional attire of the place. The big gap in clothing for women comes up because women in urban India are more into wearing salwar suits, skirts or western wear. Thus obviously that’s what they are discarding and contributing to Goonj as well. Sarees in cities has largely become occasional wear and thus the wear and tear is much less. As a result the giving of sarees is also infrequent. While its true that many women in cities are now contributing sarees but in comparison to the demand and need of rural India this is minuscule. As a result many a times we have to buy sarees to fill this gap. That’s why we started this campaign about sarees asking urban women  to think of her sari as a symbol of dignity and self respect for another..

Would you have a personal story or two to share, based on what you’ve observed about poverty and the lack of proper clothing, and how the gift of a saree has impacted their life?

Meenakshi: Cloth is commonly used by women in rural India as a sanitary pad and most often the little cloth they have is some old saree, blouse or petticoat pieces.

One example of what a saree means is that in many disasters where women traditionally wore sarees like Bihar, south India, we notice that even though they lose everything in a disaster it’s very difficult for them to wear a suit etc in dire need because they feel embarrassed wearing something they have never worn.. Women in such situations prefer wearing the one saree they have over changing into a salwar suit given to them even as disaster relief. We also come across many cases in rural India where buying sarees and other clothes for a daughter’s wedding is a big burden on the parents who struggle for the basics in their life. There are many cases still of people in rural India, taking loans for buying new clothes on festivals and special occasions and because of their meager earnings and big interest, are not able to pay back..

What kind of sarees would you like people to donate?

Meenakshi: Women in rural India wear cotton/semi cotton sarees but for formal occasions like marriages synthetic and mixed material sarees are also used commonly.

Where can they send them to?

Meenakshi: Please look up for a list of Goonj dropping centers in many cities, where you can contribute your sarees. If you don’t live in any of these cities, you can send us a courier or better still organize a saree collection drive in your office, residential area etc. and then send a big consignment of sarees to the nearest Goonj office. Do write to us if you plan such a collection drive, we could help you and guide around you apart from sharing communication material etc.

Please share a contact number + email id that people can access if they want to know more or start their own collection drives?

Meenakshi: Best would be if you could connect with us on or call the nearest Goonj office.. contact details of our offices are on

Is there a deadline till when people should send in their sarees or this is a continuing program?

Meenakshi: This is an ongoing work throughout the year.

Where will you distribute these sarees?

Meenakshi: These sarees will become a part of our family Kits or disaster relief kits which basically include many items including clothes for an entire family’s needs. These family packs are reached out as part of our cloth for work initiative, in which   rural communities identify and work on their own local problem/issue like a broken road, digging up a well due to water scarcity etc. and in return for the efforts they receive these kits with dignity and self respect rather than as charity. Our work is spread out to parts of 21 states where we take up cloth for work initiative and reach out family kits.

How can someone start a collection drive for sarees – what kind of information should we share?

Meenakshi: Please connect with us before organizing a collection drive and we will guide around how to organize a collection drive as well as share communication material to help you publicize the drive.

If you are doing a drive in any city where Goonj has an office, then we explore a pick up based on the quantity of material collected but if you are in a city where Goonj doesn’t have an office the best way would be to courier your saree to the nearest Goonj office.

Anything that you’d like to add?
Meenakshi:  Saree is a attire but also a symbol of a woman’s dignity.. It signifies a certain tradition and culture for many women. When you look at your collection of sarees just sitting there in a box, think of all the women whose days would be more dignified and full of self respect with a nice saree. Getting a new saree is no less than a celebration for a woman.. imagine the joy your saree lying idle in your home can bring to another..

So, are you with us as we share a sari this season to help someone? If yes, let us know how you plan to help with your saris. #share1saripact

Hope over to our Facebook Page for regular updates.

#sarilove #saristyle #donateasari

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 ways to share a sari and make a difference this festival season

What’s not to love about the festive season? The laddoos and the lights, the sparklers and the smiles, holidays and wholesome fun. And for some of us, it’s also about new saris for ourselves and new outfits for the entire family.

While I’m not sure whether I can stop myself from splurging on a handloom sari this season, what I can promise is to make place for the new six yards by giving away at least one gently-used sari. And this time, not to the maid, who I realize has enough and more, but to a woman in a remote village whose ‘wardrobe’ is the only sari on her back.

Sitting here in my house with all the comforts of a modern life, and trunks full of gorgeous saris, I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have enough – not enough food to fill one’s belly, not enough clothes to cover up one self, not enough money to buy even the most basic of needs. But if I can make just a little difference to someone’s situation, add a little sparkle to someone’s life, then let it be through something I love and cherish so much – a sari. A sari that I’ve loved, a sari that I don’t wear anymore. A sari that will offer a shred of dignity to a woman who is struggling to cover herself up with the only tattered sari that she owns.

If this is something that you’ve been thinking of doing – sharing a sari (especially, after sorting & sifting through your saris last week), then here are some good ways to do so.

1. Join the ‘Your Saree for Dignity’ Campaign by Goonj. You could start a sari collection drive in your locality or even share a few of your own. While parting with several of your saris may seem heart wrenching, all of us can share at least one sari that we’ve not worn for ages. Goonj sends these saris to women in remote villages, who welcome them with wide smiles and open arms.

If you wish to send your saris directly to the Goonj’s various dropping center, here is the list of places:

Contact Goonj: For more information, email them at or call them up at 011-26972351.   .

Sister Lucy with women at Maher

2. Donate your gently-used saris to destitute women's homes across India. If you’re in Pune, you could get in touch with Maher, a group of homes for destitute women, young un-wed mothers and mentally-challenged women that’s run by Sister Lucy Kurien. Saris are what most women wear and it’s the most challenging to source in urban India, considering that a lot of us wear salwar-kameez, trousers and skirts more frequently in our daily life, and thus, that’s what we donate to organizations. 

Contact Maher: Email Maher at  or get in touch with Mita Banerjee, who runs Team Miracle that works closely with Maher and will help coordinate this sari drive in Pune. Email Mita Banerjee of Team Miracle at or call up at 09850309598.

Image source: Craft Canvas

3. Share your saris with women in tribal areas through self-help organizations that work with them. If you’re living/working in Pune, and looking for another organization to donate your saris to, you might want to think of Poornam, that’s run by Dr. Rajesh Manerikar that works to improve the environment through several ways + helps women in tribal areas through self-help programs and resources.

Contact Poornam: Email Arundhati or Dr. Rajesh at or call them up at 94053-91980. Alternatively, contact Mita Banerjee of Team Miracle who is coordinating the sari drive for Maher and Poornam in Pune. Her email id is and phone number is 09850309598.

Nalini at the clothes bank in Hyderabad; Image source: Outlook

4. Share your saris with a clothes bank in your city. Here’s one run my Nalini Gangadharan in Hyderabad. While they welcome all kinds of gently-used apparel, it’s saris that they find difficult to source.

Contact Nalini: Email Nalini at or call up at 040-3414603.

Vandana Agarwal at the sari library; Image source:

5. How about sharing a sari with a sari library? Yes, a sari library that rents out the most beautiful saris to women from the lower-income group for a mere Rs 20. This way, expensive saris are not just for women who can afford to buy them, but the beauty and joy of a gorgeous sari is shared with every woman who dreams of wearing one but can’t afford the cost. Vandana Agarwal from Gramshree in Ahmedabad has started two such libraries in the city – one in Ranip and the other in Chandlodia, and is planning to spread the sari love by opening a third library. They could always use more saris from generous sari lovers.

Contact Vandana: Email Vandana at or call up at 079-32954140. You could visit them at Gramshree, 4th Floor, Shoppers Plaza, Opposite Municipal Market, CG Road, Ahmedabad.

With the Joy of Giving Week kicking off on October 2 through October 8, 2016, here’s a great way to not only share some of that abundance, but also ring in the festival season by spreading love and cheer.

If you have any questions about how to go forward with this, email me at

How are you planning to share a sari this season?

Join us on our #share1saripact to spread some sari love.

And for regular blog updates, hop across to our Facebook Page!

#share1saripact #shareasari #100sareepact #joyofgiving #joyofgivingweek #handloomsari #saree #sari


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sari Love - Payal Talreja and her penchant for handlooms

Hello sari gals! I’m back with a sari guest from Delhi – Payal Talreja, a poet, handloom and handicraft curator + creative director at Tvam, and the co-founder of SaReal, a sari group on Facebook, where it’s also about making a difference by donating a sari or raising funds for a cause through saris. You can visit her at her online store, Tvam or at The Sareal Pact on Facebook.

Here's Payal Talreja with her penchant for handlooms and giving back to the community of weavers and to those in need.

Question. Please tell us about yourself - what you do, where do you live, your interests, family etc.

Ans. I live in Delhi. Right now, I curate loom crafts - sarees and dupattas, and handcrafted jewelry. I run a small FB page called Tvam .

I also write actively, on groups:

I am a published poet and continue to write poetry:

At this stage of my life, I would say my interests are quite varied and numerous. Chief among those I would put Spirituality, Women’s issues, Parenting, and Travel.

I am an absolute convert to handlooms and am working in a very small way with weavers and WCS to promote loom crafts. This is of great interest to me, and I am happy to say that I am putting a lot of effort and my personal savings behind this in a small way. I think it is an imperative that we save our crafts from dying out. I think my interest was sparked when a visiting relative from abroad, who commented on two recent aspects of India Society -
1. She said people were hardly wearing sarees any more and everyone seemed to be in western clothes.
2. She remarked how ‘bling’ had taken over aesthetics.

I have worn, and do wear my share of other outfits, but I started a group called the SaReal Pact with my friend Annapoorni S Trichur with three main aims -
1. Promote saree wearing but in a stress-free and non-competitive way.
2. Use the social media to connect in a more honest and ‘real’ way, and for a community of women who network and connect just as in real life, going beyond the ‘fake’ happy world of FB.
3. Use the SaReal platform to provide an opportunity for giving back to society through Charity. Last year we donated over 250 sprees to GOONJ.

Ques. I absolutely love your sari style. How would you describe it?

Ans. I have always been bohemian at heart. I am pretty much a non-conformist and I think my saree style reflects this. I staunchly wear cottons and handlooms. I could wear one to a wedding, quite happily.

I have worn sarees with shirts, with zara blousons, with Forever21 tank tops as blouses. The most important thing is to ‘own it’ - I have written about this here

See, there is a certain comfort level and ease which comes from accepting your body in totality - and that reflects in my saree style I think. And comfort matters most to me.

Ques. What kind of saris do you enjoy wearing, and what kind of occasions do you wear them for?

Ans. Handlooms. Preferably cotton. I haven’t got rid of my silks yet, because though the cruelty behind silks does bother me, I am not sure if I will add to the ‘waste’ by discarding what I already have.

I wear them for many things - including pub crawls. School visits, friend’s homes, parties or sometimes just at home. Always make me feel wonderful.

Ques. I’ve noticed that you wear some fun blouses. Do you have tips for sari aficionados about how to come up with unusual combinations while using what they already have in their wardrobe?

Ans. The biggest problem girls and women have about wearing a saree, especially a traditional handloom or khadi saree, is beating the ‘behenji’ image.

Today’s woman is bold, brave, articulate self confidant and she expresses who she is through her clothes.

For me, style has to evolve and change with the times. So if I am comfortable wearing a strappy top with jeans, why not with a saree? Why not a favorite shirt with a saree? The saree is an extension of who I am, and so the blouse gets replaced sometimes, with something new age. It’s not a big deal.

It’s just a ‘top’. Pick from what you have, and mix and match. We just have to re-calibrate our thinking of ‘what’ a saree blouse ‘should be’. Everything won’t go with a saree. But some things will add a unique dimension.

I think a lot of people are instinctive about what suits them. Others need guidance. Ask a friend/sister - someone on the same wavelength who understands your vibe and will be honest.

Ques. What’s an interesting way to accessorize without collecting a huge amount of jewellery?

Ans. Here’s how I do it:
- Have something in silver (not necessarily real silver)
- have something in black
- have something in red
- have something with wood
- have a pair of earrings/ bracelets or bangles that standout

I would wear only two pieces at a time - earrings/ring, necklace/bracelet, bracelet/earrings, nose pin/necklace…but that’s me.

This will pretty much take you across the bandwidth. Choose pieces that reflect your personality.

As for me, I always have Tvam jewelry at hand. Let me reveal though - till last year I was an absolute no-jewelry person. I guess, it interfered with my job and idea of who I was. Now I my philosophy is - ‘bring it on’. Am still not fond of bling though. Chunky, tribal, unusual - I guess that reflects in the range I display on Tvam.

Ques. What’s your best tip for those who love the sari, but are hesitant about wearing it more often?

Ans. Wear it to a place/occasion where you are most comfortable, to begin with. Wear it at home. Today I can literally wear a saree for anything, in 5 minutes flat, without a mirror.

I would urge all ladies to wear sarees. I do believe this is an Indian woman’s unique salute to her country. Think about it - it’s the one garment recognizable the world over. We have a rich textile heritage. We owe it to ourselves to preserve it. Everyone can buy one saree - it’s not that tough. There is always something handloom, cotton and beautiful to suit your pocket.

Thank you for joining us here, Payal!

(Psst…in case you missed our chat with our first sari guest, here’s Sunanda Sastry’s sari feature.)

Note: If you wish to be featured here in our Sari Love section, please message us via our Facebook Page /mail us at Please tell us about your sari love + send us a link to some of your sari pictures. 

This is what we're looking for:

We're looking for women who wear the garment in a quirky/interesting/bohemian/spunky i.e. different from the usual way.


We'd love to hear from you if you're making a difference with your saris (example, helping others with the ones you don't wear anymore or working with weavers etc.).

#100sareepact #sarealpact #handloom #handloomsari #sarilove #saristyle 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

7 ways to create a simple and sustainable sari lifestyle

Just the other day, I was looking through the black steel trunks that house my saris. While it’s exciting to know that I’ve reached the #100sareepact in a different way - with about a hundred saris ensconced among the bundles nestling in those trunks, it’s also a little overwhelming. As decadent as it may be, owning an abundance of saris can be draining. All that sorting and arranging, the packing and carting across the country, the space that they need and the guilt that I need to care for them better.

The quest for a sari lifestyle

Don’t get me wrong – I’m ever grateful that I have had the good fortune to buy and receive these gorgeous saris. But I do wonder if I need them all. With an ongoing quest to pare things down and keep things on the simple side, here is my method in this happy madness to pursue a sari lifestyle without going overboard or getting overwhelmed.

1. Take time out to sort through your saris as the seasons change. Bring out 10-20 saris that you’d like to wear in this season. Get these ironed, pair them up with their respective petticoats and if you like, choose the blouses/tops that will go well with these. Arrange them on hangers and when you want to wear one, just pull one out as per what you feel like draping. It takes the stress out of last-minute ironing and the frenzy of putting together a sari look.

2. At the same time, care for and pack up the saris that you’ve worn in the previous season. Tuck in a sachet of fragrant herbs  and let them rest till you’re ready to wear them again.

Bye-bye summer saris

3. Check all your saris while you’re at it, and see if any of them need any special care. A coffee stain that you missed? A little tear that can be mended? Too crumpled for your taste? Too musty? Give them the care these saris need and then pack them up.

4. As for brand new saris – those that call to us from sari shops, think really hard if you want that one because your friend has bought a similar sari or if it’s something you can’t live without. Sleep over it if you can. Riffle through your existing sari collection and see if you have something similar. Here’s a great post about buying saris by Payal Talreja, a poet and founder of SaReal. Buying after a lot of soul searching can seem painstaking but very satisfying at the end of it.

Bringing out the heavy cottons for mid-season wear

5. Once every year (or more, if you wish), take a good look at your saris. If there’s a particular sari that you don’t wish to wear anymore, think of gifting it to someone who barely has a sari to cover herself with. You may want to think of reaching out to Goonj with your old saris to help women in villages who do not posses even a single decent sari to cover themselves with (details mentioned below).

6. And, every season, as you bring out new saris or gaze lovingly at the ones in your trunks and cupboards, think of new ways to create sari ensembles with what you already have. If a blouse doesn’t fit you (because we change with the seasons too), try an old top or a t-shirt. If those bead necklaces broke, make one with magazine beads or polymer clay, or repurpose those beads and baubles into new jewellery. Try new footwear combos and bring in more flare as you wear those old saris in a new way. Here’s my post about recycling and reusing what you have to create new sari ensembles.

Mixing-and-matching to create new ensembles

7. As for accessories and footwear, and the brouhaha of blouses, see how you can keep things simple. Instead of a large jewellery box overflowing with baubles, can you pare it down to a handful of classic pieces? Can you weed out the shoes and sandals that you don’t wear anymore, and limit your shoe collection to a manageable few?

The art of a sari lifestyle is about keeping things simple yet interesting.

It’s about making the most of what you already have and adding a few pieces, lovingly, the slower, more contemplative way.

It’s also about caring for the saris you have, and sharing what you don’t need anymore.

If you’re part of a sari lifestyle, here’s how you can share your gently-used saris with Goonj and be a part of the Saree for Dignity Campaign.

1. Keep aside 1 or more gently-used sari(s) that you wish to share with women in villages.

2. Check here to see if you have a Goonj drop center in your city:

3. If not, see if your budget will allow you to courier the saris to the nearest drop center.

4. If you have more questions, mail me at or message me here.

5. If you’d like to ask the Goonj Team directly, mail them at .

Together, let’s create a sari lifestyle thats sustainable and includes some sharing!

Message us via our Facebook Page to be a part of this gorgeous and giving sari life.

#saristyle #sareefordignity #sarilifestyle #100sareepact #sustainablesari

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sari Love - Sunanda Sastry and her quirky sari style

Hey Sari Gals out there! Here’s a new sari series called Sari Love with picture profiles of sari aficionados across India and the world. Women who wear the sari with pride, passion and panache. Ladies who let their saris go out and play i.e gals who don’t keep their saris caged up in closets or pegged into standard ensembles.

So ladies, get ready to find dollops of inspiration in these posts – enough to nudge you to bring out those handloom saris and wear them with a playful twist. Hop on as we cruise into this interesting sari territory!

Meet our very first sari guest - Sunanda Sastry, a sari czarina with a quirky, crazy style of her own.

Q. Please tell us about yourself – what you do, where do you live, your interests, family.

Ans. To 'Precis' into 6 lines about Oneself is the toughest thing to do but lets get down to it:
I am an Architect who Designs Interior Spaces (70%of my time under -Sunanda Sastry & Associates)
and loves to work with All that is Earthmade/Handmade and Vintage (30%of my time under-Sutradhaar)

I call myself a Hardcore (kattarr) Mumbaiite!

My brood comprises of :
a) A Travelling Husband
b) A 14 yr old Son
c) A 12 yr old Daughter...

Q. I absolutely love your sari style. How would you describe it?

Ans. My Saree Style varies from Boho to Elegant Ethnic to Experimental!
I can wear a Cotton to the most Flamboyant South Indian Wedding/ A Boho Ensemble to a Casual Chai Meet or An Elegant Ethnic to An Exhibit..

Q. I’ve noticed that you wear some fun blouses. Do you have tips for sari aficionados about how to come up with unusual combinations while using what they already have in their wardrobe?

Ans. Yes, you did notice that I have 'Fun' with the blouses and the Intention is exactly that- To Have Fun' with various Styles and Combinations!

Q. What’s an interesting way to accessorize without collecting a huge amount of jewellery?

Ans. The following pics can explain better on how to accessorize without huge amount of jewellery and to come up with a New look with sarees that already exist!

One Saree and different looks!

Experimental whether in a saree or a half saree around the Lankan Coast!

Accessories in the form of large Jhumkas are just enough!

South Cottons that I sometimes sneak into a wedding space too again with chunky or out of the box necklaces!

What I consider Effortlessly Elegant sometimes with a bold neckpiece or just bold large earrings!

Sometimes Quirky in a Formal Space stands Out!

When there was no matching or the right blouse to go with the purple benarasi i dished out a west side Top that happened to be the same color( wearing matching for the first time).

And Finally different lengths of blouses can spruce up the most simple sarees and take it to a festive level!

Q. What’s your best tip for those who love the sari, but are hesitant about wearing it more often?

The best TIP is: To Be You and Be Confident in what you wear irrespective of Body Type/ Saree Cost/ presence or Absence of Accessories..... And to Just let Your Personality shine through!
Cos " Beauty Begins The Moment You Start Being Yourself"- CC

Note: Rta Kapur Chisti s workshop is a must and urges u to experiment if you think you know all about Sarees.

P.S. If you love your sari and would like to be featured here, drop us a line at or message us through our Facebook Page, and tell/show us how your sari style is quirky/crazy/interesting!

#saristyle #sarilove #100sareepact #saree #handloomsari #loveyoursari

Monday, September 5, 2016

9 ways to recycle and reuse what you already have to create an eclectic sari look

So by now you know that I’m a sari gal. You probably also know that I favor a crunchy and eco-licious lifestyle. And, top that with motherhood and remnants of my pre-mom wardrobe, and you’ve got this article packed with 9 tips to recycle and reuse what you’ve got to create a style that’s all about spunk and creativity. 

As a work-from-home writer and a mom with a hurricane of a little boy to chase after, I’m often attired in a pair of comfortable pallazos/pants/leggings and t-shirts, and so when I do have to change into a sari, I like to carry over some of the casualness of this wardrobe into my sari style.

Another factor that has kept me on this quest to create a sari style that’s effortless yet interesting is the amount of time I have to get ready. And often that’s less than 10 minutes if I’m lucky. So, the idea is to create an outfit in a jiffy with what I already have while adding a unique look that’s totally me.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to turn into a ‘rational minimalist’ by consuming/buying/shopping more consciously. This means, that before I purchase a gorgeous and expensive sari blouse or splurge on a pair of sandals, I must come up with creative ways to wear what’s already residing in my closet. 

If any of this resonates with you or even if you’re just curious about creating a sari style with the different elements of your wardrobe, here are some of my tips.

1. Just pick up a t-shirt, shirt or top from your wardrobe and match it with a sari. Don’t overthink the combo or if the colors or patterns match. You’ll be surprised at how eclectic such a put-together look can be.

2. Mix two different kinds of styles. For example, once I wore a kitschy indigo collared t-shirt with a traditional white-and-red Tangail sari. I teamed this with camel-colored boots and a big red bindi, and it was quite a hit at the party I went to.

3. Wear those tops in neutral shades as blouses to go with your block printed, handloom saris. I wear my black or white sleeveless tops with saris, instead of a blouse.

4. Don’t be shy of teaming up those slightly-tight shirts with your saris. These are perfect to wear during the cooler months, and go well with cottons and silks.
Halter tops or spaghetti tops look perfect with chiffons.

5. Keep a few necklaces made with wooden beads in warm wood tones handy. These can be worn with your kitschy combinations, and will complement the outfit rather than make it look too crowded. So grab one o these when you’re in a hurry or can’t decide what to wear with one of these crazy combos.

6. Wear jewellery that you’ve made. I have this necklace that my mother and I made with multiple strings of hand-rolled magazine beads and wear it whenever I want to notch up the craziness of my outfits ;-). You could even try jewellery made with painted macaroni or polymer clay.

7. While it’s fine to have a jewellery box overflowing with all kinds of earrings, all you need is a few pairs of ear baubles - dangling or clip on, to wear with your saris. I keep a couple of pair of silver earrings on hand as well as a few others made with beads. I team these up with different kinds of saris and don’t really feel the need to buy pair after pair to create my sari look.

8. Think out-of-the-box when it comes to footwear. You don’t have to always wear Cinderalla’s impossibly beautiful glass slippers aka the fanciest of footwear to make your sari look good enough. If you’re wearing a cotton sari, try teaming it up with a pair of slip-on sneakers (yeah, you heard right). Or, if you’re wearing a raw silk sari, try slipping into a pair of boots. Bring out those kolhapuris and mojris when you’re in a light chiffon or just wear your favorite flat leather sandals.

Just one or two jholas/batuas are enough to complete your look. I particularly favor a handmade tote crafted out of patchwork cloth as well as a small gold crochet batua that I use for some of the fancier occasions.

9. Don’t ‘ladyfy’ the sari so much that you have to put together a separate set of accessories and footwear just for it. The sari is versatile and willing to adjust, so do give it a chance to do so.

What kind of eclectic styles do you sport with your sari?

And while we’re on the topic of reusing and recycling, here’s a way to even reduce that pile of old saris tucked away at the back of your closet. Check out our Facebook Page to help with what you don’t need.

#100sareepact #sari #saristyle #sareemovement #sareefordignity

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Doodle Drama

Ever since I could grasp a pen, I have been drawing and doodling. 

Some of my earliest sketches peak out at me from old family albums and from within the folds of crumbling notebooks. Friends and family in the form of stick figures, geometrical houses, whirling dust storms and flower-filled gardens, renditions of the kinds of things I would see around me.

Over the years, I’d move through phases when I’d fill sketchbooks with my drawings and then set the whole thing aside for months at a time, depending on what my father expected from my art skills. A self-taught and accomplished artist himself, he had a certain idea of art and how it should look, all of which I flouted and rebelled against by putting aside my drawing tools and letting the artist in me hibernate. So there’d be chunks of time when I’d draw and draw, filling up pages with pictures of my current favorite storybooks or comic strips, followed by a barren phase, when paper and pens would be stowed away.

That pattern of prolific drawing interspersed with long periods of hibernation continued till a few months back, maybe out of habit or because I’d move on to another new project to keep me occupied. It’s only recently that I decided to draw more regularly, daily when possible, weekly when I could. I also decided to get an art education. Not the art college kinds because I know that would bring back the rebel in me, but the kind where you learn from an artist whose work you enjoy.

So here I am today, finally letting myself be the artist I always thought I’d be, learning, absorbing and drawing from my daily life. Flowers from my garden, leaves and sprigs from my potted plant collection, curly-haired girls in breezy summer frocks, clouds that roll in with rains on their shoulder.

I’m sharing some of the pictures here and will post more every now and then. If you’d like me to draw a flower from your garden or illustrate a story you have made up, drop me a line here in the comments section or message me via my Facebook page
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