It’s too much fuss — this is the first thought you have when you have to wear a saree to work. For women who need to get work done, wearing a saree to office is a tedious task. But Deepa Mehta is hoping to change that notion with her latest range of 18-hour sarees designed specially for working women.
“Women lead busy lives. They are at work all day and they socialise with friends, colleagues and family. What they wear at 7 or 8 in the morning has to last all day long, looking crisp and fresh until after midnight on some days. Most of us don’t have the liberty of changing into party wear in the evening. I like making their life easier and therefore thought about the 18 hour saree,” says Mehta, founder of her brand Queen of Hearts.
Keep it fuss-free
This collection of 18-hour sarees is aimed at women who love wearing the six yards but find themselves uncomfortable in the garment a few hours into the day. Mehta’s message to all women who want to ‘power-dress’ to office is, “The saree is not tedious or fussy. It wouldn’t be the choice of millions of women in India else. The saree is designed to be airy, elegant and all encompassing. To make a saree absolutely comfortable to wear, the blouse has to be perfectly stitched.”
Thus the six yards are specially designed as workwear. It has lesser embellishment, cleaner lines and simpler silhouettes. Mehta loves getting into the six yards herself. “If it is 5.5 m of good cloth, it is a saree for me. My job is to make a saree from the diverse range of fabrics that India makes. There are no rules. Borders and pallus are not compulsory. The saree should hug and frame your body, feel good on your skin, there must be flow and comfort. That’s a saree for me,” says Mehta.
Wear a saree to work
Talking about what type of saree one should wear to the workplace, Mehta says that the decision depends on the place of work. “Your saree should enhance your personality, be it formal, casual, stylish, glamorous or functional. Tussar silks, khadi, linen, Chanderi, Maheshwari, cottons, flowy georgettes... anything actually. Our standard nylon printed sarees are the backbone of the working women force of India,” says Mehta.
Giving tips on how to drape a saree if you want a corporate look with maximum comfort, she says, “There are two things you must remember — first, you must choose practical and classic footwear, and second, don’t be afraid to pin up your saree in a way that it stays intact throughout the day. She adds, “Wear cleaner lines, no fuss and nothing jarring.”
To finish the look with elegant accessories, Mehta says, “Less is more for me. One or two pieces of jewellery is enough. A well-matched bracelet or earrings, a broach, a good watch, a good bag and comfy footwear is perfect. Experiment and arrive at your style that suits your day at work. You don’t want jangling bangles.”
What works for work?
“All colours work at work,” says Mehta. She adds, “You can wear a green bangle or a fuchsia pink to work as long as you don’t overdo it. It’s a thin line when it comes to making a saree work wear. Breathable cloth that crumples less is preferable.”
A majority of women in India, across classes, wear the saree to work right from the house help to women who work in corporate sectors, creative, educators and social workers, to name a few — the saree is everywhere. But a woman who wears a saree and teaches kids has different demands from a woman in a boardroom or someone who uses public transport a lot. “You have to choose what works for you the best through trial and error,” suggests Mehta.