From ancient Rig Vedic times, Indian women have been dressed in sarees and have enjoyed great respect and femininity in them. However, these days when winds of change are blowing our way, women want just a little twist on the old saree model. Fashion designers put on their thinking caps and came up with the half-saree that is worn by teenage girls in south India until they get married.
The Place of a Half Saree in Society
Half sarees are prevalent in South India and are considered traditional wear for young girls from the time they attain puberty till marriage. After marriage, they move over to wearing sarees. This conventional dress is both simple and elegant and when worn for a social outing, it adds grace and charm to one who wear it.
Recently, thanks to Bollywood, the half-saree has come out of its regional space in the South of India and has traveled into the hearts and minds of women all over India. This ensemble is also worn in the south on festivals such as Pongal and Onam. Now, it’s interesting to note that young women looking for a change from sarees have switched easily. It’s also a fashion statement too, with designers giving it their touch to re-create it in various designs. What was once the simple silk or georgette langa-voni, is now visible in a wide range of colors and fabrics.
What was earlier a formal dress for young girls to wear on festival occasions or in their teen years is now an elegant dress worn with generous amounts of zari and mirror work for formal dos. You can see them now in vivid colors like orange, purple, yellow, red and hot fuschia pink, apart from grey and black. This dress is now imbued with style and sophistication and brings out the woman in you.
How Is It Worn?
It comprises a lehenga tied at the waist, a dupatta or see-through material that is draped in a slant over the choli. These three components make up the half-saree and moreover it’s easy to wear with no hassles of making pleats and tucking them in at the appropriate spot.
The fabrics used to create are no longer silk and cotton but georgette, chiffon or nylon and crepe. There are endless combinations of materials, styles, cuts and colors to suit any discerning woman’s tastes with designers, so the choice is up to the individual.
Colors, Designs and Embroidery Used
It is the choice of women for all social events because of their dramatic contrasting colors, use of unusual embroidery and different fabrics. If you’re invited to a high society party, go in for a designer half-saree in bold and dramatic colors, perhaps with a lot of zari work, and a langa ending interestingly with tassels.
The recent trend of having the entire dress in one color–monochrome–has caught on very well, with shades of the main color being spread all across. It is very pleasing to the eye and makes the wearer stand out in a crowd.
Once you’ve matched the half-saree with an appropriate designer blouse, it’s time to accessorize. It’s good to wear just the minimal jewelry, like a necklace with a pendant. However, ensure that the dress matches with your choice of jewelry.
It’s nice to team up your dress with a pair of sandals. For a traditional look, wear a bindi and tie your hair in a bun or plait it. But overall, keep simple. Wear all three parts of this dress in contrasting colors, if you wish. At best, you’ll look colorful.
Reasons for its Popularity
What was so far known as traditional wear for young, unmarried girls has now been transformed into party or wedding wear. Brides now see it as an option to wearing a lehenga or a saree to their reception or one of the bridal ceremonies–all because of its novelty right now and because it’s mix of being a saree, a lehenga and something in between.
The half saree is easy to wear because you don’t need to pleat it as in a saree. Just tuck it in and drape it around your waist once and you’re dressed.
You can also mix and match it with other dupattas, sometimes contrasting ones too. You don’t mandatorily have to match the dupatta with the lehenga. This flexibility is also a big plus point in choosing to wear the half-saree.
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