Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics for sarees across India. Since cotton has been produced in India for many years, it was natural that many different types developed which were widely employed in the creation of the traditional saree. However, nowadays, cotton sarees have become internationally renowned for their low-key elegance and extreme comfort. A common misconception is that a cotton saree can only be worn as daily wear, or that it is not formal enough for evening occasions. The truth is, like all ethnic garments, a cotton sari comes in a wide range of designs, colors and patterns, with the fabric itself changing from one region to another depending on the methods of weaving and artisanal skills prevalent.
The reasons for the popularity of cotton sarees in India are many. This material is light and comfortable, and offers a great amount of breathability, which makes it perfect for hot and humid Indian summers. At the same time, cotton is a very soft material that usually does not cause any allergies. Moreover, cotton can easily be dyed, embroidered, printed or embellished, which is why there are so many wonderful options to choose from.
There are many traditional, regional and contemporary varieties of cotton sarees. Every region has its own specialties, determined by the type of cotton used and the methods of weaving. For instance, these garments are immensely popular in Bengal, and therefore there are many fine varieties of Bengal cotton sarees like the Tant sarees and theJamdani sarees. They tend to be quite fine and gauzy looking, with artistic designs, and typically come in muted shades of white, brown, beige, cream or yellow. The most distinctive are the Calcutta cotton sarees, with the bold red borders which contrast with a pure white cotton fabric. These have to be draped in the distinctive Bengali dual shoulder style and are worn for festivals or ceremonies.
Cotton is also very popular in the south of India, so there are many different types of south cotton sarees. The Uppada cotton sarees are known for their stiff texture and distinctive, colorful pallus. This is one region of the country known for its prolific textile and handloom industries. Handloom cotton sarees tend to be quite costly because of the amount of labor involved in their production. Sambalpuri, Pochampally and Bomkai are just a few of the fancy cotton saree varieties from states like Odisha and Kerala.
Other luxurious cotton varieties include Lucknowi Chikan sarees, the fine and translucent Chanderi cotton sarees, colorful Kota sarees and the gold work Zamdani sarees. Silk cotton sarees are the most luxurious looking, produced by weaving fine threads of silk into delicate designs all over the cotton fabric. These sarees have the slight shimmer of silk without giving up with the softness and comfort of cotton.
There are also more contemporary cotton saree styles, like the printed cotton sarees which come with funky tribal prints, simple western dots, stripes, waves and abstract geometric patterns. Often feminine designs like floral, fruit and birds patterns are used on these garments. In terms of color, too, one can find a lot more variety nowadays beyond the typical reds, greens, blues and muted peach, yellow and white shades, including grey, black, purple or lilac.
Styling Cotton Sarees
Styling cotton sarees for daily wear is quite simple as this is a much loved look and there are many source of inspiration. The latest cotton sarees with bold and funky geometrical prints will pair best with cotton saree blouse designs that are more daringly cut, like halter necks and sleeve-less. The look can be completed with some large beaded necklaces, dangling earrings and silver bangles. In fact the cotton saree blouse design is a great way to experiment, as can be seen with the kinds of looks donned by actresses in movies and television shows. A dramatic way to accessorize is by going for a black cotton saree and pairing it with a metallic blouse in gold or silver.
Women might get stuck when figuring out how to wear cotton saree in a way that makes it suitable for formal occasions. The answer, first and foremost, is to go for a saree style that looks formal to begin with. Pure cotton sarees from the south tend to be very fine looking, with a relatively stiff texture and this makes them perfect for formal office wear or for business meetings. In fact many women love to fill up their wardrobe with printed cotton sarees in bright colors from this region to wear on a daily basis. They can be paired up with elegant pearl jewelry, stone studded pendant sets and chunky Indian necklaces.