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: http://goonj.org/page_id=22873/index.html

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 banerjeechandana30@gmail.com or message me here.

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

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


  1. Nice read. I really like the idea of taking out 10 - 20 sarees for seasonal wear and tucking away the rest.

  2. hope a lot of girls go through this.. it s a very detailed and beautifully wroungt one


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