When it comes to casual clothing, women look for certain typical characteristics, like comfort, breathability and low maintenance. A common misconception is that ‘causal’ necessarily entails a sacrifice of beauty and elegance. In fact, casual clothes can be very stylish and attractive and moreover, they offer a great chance for women to express their individual fashion sensibilities. In many ways, casual clothing is where the true stylishness of a woman emerges, since it is worn on a daily basis and is part of her life. A great example of an Indian garment that can look sophisticated and put-together even in its simplest form is the saree. Casual sarees are extremely popular in India, especially amongst older women, for day to day or office wear. With the emergence of innovative and modern designer casual sarees, even younger women are opting to make the sari a part of the daily life.
A casual saree is similar to formal sarees in terms of its structure – the long cloth wrapped around a blouse and petticoat – but differs in the types of fabrics and designs used. Typically, comfortable and light-weight fabrics like cotton, chiffon, crepe and georgette are the preferred fabrics in a casual sarees’ collection. Though silk is usually considered a fancy fabric, certain silk varieties are considered appropriate for daily wear as well. For instance, raw silk has a coarser look and feel and is affordable too, while cotton silk is both comfortable and stylish. Artificial varieties of silk, crepe, chiffon and georgette are also widely used to make casual sarees. The latest casual sarees are often made of rediscovered indigenous materials like khadi, cotton jute and silk jute blends.
Women often think a casual saree collection has to be quite plain or boring, but in fact, casual sarees come in infinite varieties of colors, designs and patterns to suit individual tastes. They may be printed, embroidered or woven, or even plain, with borders or without, neon hued or black and white. Then again, a casual sari can be traditional or western, conservative or modern. It can be easily used to create a funky, artistic look or a classy, elegant look. There is something for everyone.
Perhaps the most popular type of casual sari at the moment is the printed saree. Printed casual sarees are typically made of relatively thin materials like cotton or georgette that are absorbent and show up the prints well. The prints can be typical Indian motifs of fruits, flowers, peacocks, trees and mythological figures or artistic depictions of village life. They can also be modern and western, showing abstract shapes, stylized animal motifs, simple lines and waves or polka dots. Many of the latest casual saree designs are inspire by tribal hand prints like Batik, Madhubani and Warli. The hand printed ones tend to look more authentic and colorful than machine printed fabrics, but women prefer the latter for casual wear as they are not only less expensive, but also more long-lasting.
The classic casual saree is the plain saree in a beautiful color, with or without an attractive border. Such sarees can be made of stiff and formal fabrics (like crepe or linen) or flowing, feminine fabrics (like chiffon or rayon), and come in all colors, from muted red and blues to pretty pastel and neon shades. Casual sarees can also be dual toned, combining different colors that are either complimentary or clashing.
Wearing Casual Sarees
A casual saree is necessarily low-key and less flashy, therefore affording an excellent opportunity to use accessories to make the over-all look distinctive and completely personal. The scope for experimentation is large, but at the same time, there are certain tips which come in handy when picking out the right accessories and sari blouses. For one thing, it is best to avoid daringly cut sari blouses with halter necks or spaghetti straps to wear on a day to day basis. Instead, printed cotton blouses in bright colors can be used to color block the sari and thus create trendy look. This type of color blocked look can be completed with jewelry in dark colors, such as terracotta jewelry, wooden jewelry or black beads necklaces.
With casual sarees, both western and Indian jewelry can be worn, depending on the designs on the saree. Tribal jewelry matches particularly well with artistically printed saris made of art silk or jute silk while a simple pearl necklace can add some class to a plain chiffon saree. Both these looks are office-appropriate and can be matched with Indian handbags in muted shades. On the other hand traditional jewelry like gold pendants, Meenakari earrings and glass bangles pairs beautifully with almost all types of casual sarees. A pair of kitten heels in a matching or neutral shade will complete the look.