One of the best places to buy a saree in Bangalore is the marvellous Mysore Saree.
Two floors crammed with amazing materials – you can buy suiting material, beautiful scarves and dupattas and everything is unfurled and thrown on the floor in colourful arcs for you to inspect.
One of my first memories of being properly abroad at about 12 years old, is sitting in a Zainab Market in Karachi and watching my mother being smothered in hundreds of unfurled table cloths. If you’re not used to it there’s a strong urge to ask them not to, to slow down to let you look.
Apart from anything else, there’s all that folding up to do afterwards. but of course there are people who do that. professional folders at every store in fact.
Goldy, my style blogger accomplice, of course, being the consummate host, was concerned I’d get overwhelmed – as often happens to foreigners in places like this – you see them standing in glassy eyed horror as bolts and bolts of cloth are unrolled in front of them.
Not me, I’m used to it now and I like to have a proper look at the length of fabric as you have to with a saree.
Sarees are sold as the main length of fabric – traditionally 9 yards – which comes in a plainer bit that goes closest to your body as you wrap it round, and then gets fancier for the outer bit to very fancy for the bit that goes over your shoulder and then really fancy for the end, which is called the pallu.
Then you also get a matching ‘blouse piece’ that is the same fabric, or similar that you make up into a the blouse that you wear with the saree. All very matchy matchy. Or you can take your saree to a matching shop and get something there – but good quality sarees usually come with something already. Particularly in the case of fancy going out wear – they’ll have some of the embellishment for the sleeve and neck line.
So under Goldy’s direction we made a couple of good choices – a white one that was from the ‘designer’ section, and two black ones. Both glittery as glittery things, of course.
Next stage after you’ve narrowed it down a bit, is that a lady from the shop ‘drapes’ you so you can see how the saree and blouse might look.
Witness the picture above of me looking rather smug in my first ‘draping’.
And why pray tell am I looking quite that smug? Well what you can’t see in this picture is that as Goldy was taking the pic, the very small lady who had wrapped me and tucked the sleeve of the blouse piece together was utterly thrilled that I was trying it on. She kept indicating the fashion model in the picture of the style book and saying ‘madam, you are more beautiful’. Well no, but thanks for saying it.
And as I was being photographed, there this tiny lady stood, bobbling her head at me and pointing at the book and saying ‘yes, Madam’ meaning that she was disagreeing with me, and I was every bit as lovely as the drop dead gorgeous Indian super model in the glossy pics.
Hence the liz shaped smirk.
But, lets be honest – it does look pretty good, eh?
No sign of looking like laundry in that lot.
Thanks to Goldy, I felt confident to face a room full of gay men dressed to the nines and clutching champagne. Bring it on.
Next stop – getting the blouse made up…
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