The 100 Saree Pact : How to wear a Saree feat. Uttara

After numerous hashtags about the great Indian Saree like #BringingSareeBack and the likes, only one stood out – The 100 Saree Pact.
Saree never went anywhere nor did it fade out of colloquial trends because it’s something that’s much bigger and greater.
But the 100 Saree Pact did get some people excited about wearing a Saree and documenting it on social media.
 Meet Uttara, who was our senior in our undergraduate days. We had always known her as a chirpy, outspoken and opinionated girl. After discovering that she had taken up the 100 saree pact and given her own spin to it, we decided to a bring a bit more Saree Style to Street Style Delhi. So, we talked about this very popular hashtag in a no holds barred conversation. She shared with us her interpretation of the 100 Saree Pact, how she breaks stereotypes by doing the challenge while casually spilling some tea on how not to wear a Saree.

“I read about the 100 saree pact somewhere on Instagram three years back, had no idea what it was about, so I googled it – I got to know that there were two women who started this pact. The idea behind this was to wear 100 sarees within a year. Obviously, at that point, I wasn’t going to do it the way they had planned to do it. It was the same time when I was beginning my work with schools. So, there you had to wear sarees on each PTM. The first time I wore the saree, I put up a picture and I thought “let me just put the hashtag” like a thing that I followed with social media, you know, trends and all,” said Uttara when asked about the 100 Saree pact.

Like many, her journey with the Saree had been one with stereotypes and the breaking of them. “There was one cousin’s wedding and I told my mom that I wanted to wear a saree on the wedding. She said, “nahi, tu badi lagegi umar mein, baaki sab suit pehen rahe hain, wear a suit or lehenga.” I said “no I want to wear a saree” and the saree that I chose was a block printed raw silk saree. So, I wore it and in the wedding, my cousins said that you look like a journalist, you know those typical journalists who wear a jhola.”

However incidences like these haven’t stopped Uttara from draping the 9 yards beauty. “I keep hearing different stereotypes and see raised eyebrows, so somewhere it’s been a challenge for me to wear sarees. Initially, I was really conscious about it, but after a while, I started owning up to it. Right now, everybody knows for a fact that, “oh, Uttara’s going to wear a saree.” When I say that I am not wearing one they always wonder and ask why.”

These stereotypes aren’t often based on prejudice and are often a concoction of a lack of information and fear. “The current generation has this very strong perception that a Saree is supposed to be uncomfortable, restrictive and you are only supposed to wear them on a special occasion like a farewell or a family function.”

Saree tying is also business for a plethora of parlors. How are the prejudices getting affected, was one thing we never thought about before, “It’s a very specific thing I am telling you but If a parlor lady ever ties your saree, she will tie your petticoat very tightly because the idea is that it’s going to fall open. That I feel is one of our biggest fears when it comes to wearing a saree.”

“The first time I draped my saree for a wedding function in a parlor, the parlor lady tied the petticoat so tightly that I couldn’t even breathe properly.  Then I realized this isn’t how it should be. When I started wearing sarees more regularly, I tied my petticoat as per my comfort. I feel so comfortable in a Saree that I can spend an entire day in them without feeling uneasy.”

Uttara's experience with the 100 saree pact

100 saree pact how to wear a saree

Another notion that exists is that we should only wear Sarees with heels. “I completely disagree with that. I believe that if you intend on wearing a Saree more regularly and consistently you should wear it with footwear you deem comfortable. It can be a pair of flats too.”

As people who intend on making Sarees a large part of their wardrobe,  we ask Uttara for that one tip which, according to her is very important for future Saree wearers. “Don’t think that you have to pin your saree at dozens of places to feel comfortable and secure in it.”

The hashtags and internet activism don’t establish anything is one of the most popular slogans of Internet naysayers. “I think people have a lot of misconceptions about Sarees that need to be broken down. I feel the 100 saree pact has put forth this idea of conversing and sharing your experience about embracing sarees. However, in the end, it can only make you wear a saree. Whatever I tell you will mean something when you wear a saree yourself.”

How has Uttara’s journey with the Saree been in a nutshell? “My journey with this was not very meaningful at the start. It became meaningful only in the last year and a half or so. Since I realized that I obviously don’t wear 100 sarees in a year, I reinterpreted it my way. I decided that I will wear 100 different sarees over a lifetime rather than a year. What I try to do now is that I count those sarees that I am wearing only once. Then, I try for them to be a different weave or coming from a different region. So, that’s primarily what my experience with this pact has been all about.”

Uttara's experience with the 100 saree pact

100 saree pact how to wear a saree

 

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