Madam - my first saree - just a tiny bit smugSmirking Liz again, you’ll note.

But then I was rather pleased with the final result.

And I was at quite the most fabulous wedding I’ve been to in years. With all of my very favourite people there as well, so no wonder I look particularly pleased with myself.

Anyway, this is part 3 of a 3 part post.

As I mentioned in the last post, when you buy a saree, it comes with a special piece of material to be made up into a matching blouse.

If it’s a fancy saree, these will have embellishments on them that match the main decoration – perhaps something fancy round the neck line.

Or, as in the case of the one I bought, some sparkly stuff one the sleeves.

My plan was to have long sleeves as it would be winter in the UK. I’m not good at the cold at the best of times, let alone having lived in India for years. I get very, very chilly at home.

I don’t have a tailor in Bangalore – my fabulous chap is where I used to live in Kerala. Which means he’s known me for years, is cheap as chips, but not what you might call local. He’s south of Trivandrum, and Trivandrum is an hours’ flight from Bangalore…

But Goldy to the rescue and she fixed me up with someone she knows. We hatched a plan for long sleeves, a wide slash neck and a longer line to hide my stomach. It may be a saree, but I’m in my forties, white as the driven snow, and wobbly round the midriff. Frankly, no one wants to see that over dinner.

So over all, the whole look was very slightly reminiscent of Grace Kelly. Chic, lovely and rather fetching.

Well you know, if Grace Kelly had ever actually worn a saree blouse. Ahem.

Madam - my first saree - side viewThe tailor assured us she was on the case. But somehow I had my doubts – it didn’t feel like she’d quite ‘got’ the concept. There was some tension over the length I wanted… it all didn’t feel quite right.

But either way, she was also going to stitch the saree so that the complicated folding bit at the front was permanently held in place and there would be no unfortunate unravelling at the wedding. Again, something we can all be thankful for.

Time marched on and as the time to come back to the UK got nearer, Goldy very kindly picked up the finished items and drove it out to my place. Really she is one of the kindest people I know – as it’s an annoying and horrible drive.

Anyway, she arrives and has me practise putting on the saree. Even stitched it took a bit of getting the hang of it all. There’s a lot of wrapping and tucking.

Incidentally, all that is managed by cunning use of the petticoat as an aid to tucking in and holding it all in place. Bet you didn’t know there was a petticoat in there as well, eh?

So, all is good in the tucking department. Now time for the blouse. Goldy takes it from the bag and we stare in horror at it.

It is not long, it is short.

The sleeves are reassuringly long, but the neck is not wide.

And although the sparkly stuff at the wrist looks good – it is joined by a totally unasked for silvery edging stitched through the long seams round the neckline.

As there is a slight sheen to the material, it looks like a slightly sparkly bin bag.

Grace Kelly it is not.

Dolly Parton it could quite easily be.

We are dumb struck. Or rather I wish I had been – as the utterly ungracious ‘that is fucking hideous’ falls from my mouth. This is particularly unfortunate as Goldy has gone to such incredible lengths to help me, to find the tailor, to ferry the thing out to me.

She wants me to be as fabulous at this wedding as I do – I am being rude. But really… it was hideous. Really, really hideous.

Poor Goldy looks crushed (she really is the most fabulously caring person I know). But ever upwards and I had been formulating a plan to wear a fantastic evening going out corset anyway. Very Marie Antoinette (well in my head anyway). And certainly something that is going to suck in middle aged wobbly stomach.

And that’s what I did, soon as I got home I rushed to this beautiful retro lingerie shop where I got this amazing silk corset with a long line and a high sided front so there was no risk of unwitting boobage escaping. Threw the saree over the top of it and frankly apart from a little farting about with the pallu slipping off my shoulder every thirty seconds (as there was nothing to pin it to in my corseted outfit), all was remarkably good.

I had some lovely compliments, I clashed with no-one else there, as I was indeed the only one in a saree. And as it was lovely (thank you Goldy!), no-one commented on it’s last season-ness.

Frankly the whole thing was a triumph. And it’s converted me to the form. I’m ready to try another. Though I confess I don’t really have that many events to wear really dressy sarees to. But I’m ready for the next invitation when it comes my way.

Next step, learn to wear heels with them – I was too much of a coward to risk 9 yards of silk and heels on the first trip out. I was concerned trip would be the active word…

I can utterly see why foreign ladies get hooked on them. It’s a beautiful form and when you’ve got some idea how to wear them, they look astounding.


This is part three of three
Read part one – Finally, I try my first saree
Read part two – No, I really would like it in black, please


If you’ve enjoyed this post why not read another ever so vaguely related one:

But Madam, aren’t you very lonely?
Things you don’t expect to find round the corner in India
If your maid’s so rubbish – why employ her?

Or share your thoughts on foreigners in local dress below…

And do hop over and read Goldy’s fabulous style blog I am the nice girl