For Indians like me who enjoys dressing Indian, there is not much shopping to do in the US. Maybe sometime some formal work wear, but, apart from that, I don’t have anything exciting to shop for myself in the US. So, I hold all my shopping spirit till I reach India…and then I let it free.
Every time I come to India, I wonder what the fashion trend would be..and unfailingly its new dress designs , embroidery work, sari's, and jewelry in the market. There is so much to choose from…I don’t even know where to begin. This time around, the design patterns are focusing on the Anarkali, or Masakkali patterns with the use of cubic zircon on dresses. My daughter rightly calls these dresses the “hurty dress”. A Masakkali pattern shown below.
The fabrics for dress material range from cotton’s to Chanderi’s, raw silk to Banaras Brocades, Chiffons to pure silk brocade to pure crape, semi silk to pure silks (I don't even know most of the materials being used).The cotton prints are amazing. Very affordable airy fabrics. Needs maintenance though and most of these fabrics bleed color. So, they are not washable, dry cleaning would be the best bet.
Then there is the net fabric. So dreamy, and shows off the embroidery patterns on it clearly without any interruption from the weave of the cloth. The motifs that are sewn on each kali…can also be gotten from Charminar. There’s a store in Laad bazaar (in Charminar) called Kasat. A very good stop for buying embroidered borders, and motifs that can be used for Saris and Dresses.
My most favorite stop for dresses and material is Taruni at Park lane, in Secunderabad. It caters from the lowest of prices (Rs300), that most college going kids go for to the costly party wears (anywhere between Rs5000 - Rs12000+). Their readymade section has improved so much now. They have started a website this year, but the patterns on the site are not as many as available in the store. I’ve found this store less expensive compared to the bigger names like Neeru’s, Mebaz, for the same dresses. I also love the mix and match section too.
(Pictured above, another dress from taruni. Need to make sure, we have our high heals on, when trying Anarkalis. It doesn’t flatter short as much as tall)
Then the saris, OMG, so many selections. I started of looking for saris with half net and half Banaras chiffon/silk/shimmer chiffon/tissue chiffon , then, we moved to the full net saris. The transparency of the net fabric brings out the beauty of the embroidery work on it. One can have a jacquard or brocade weave fabric (contrasting/matching) inner skirt to go with a net sari.
Then, we saw another new trend, jute brocade sari..very nice followed by Bandani (tie and die’s) pure crapes enhanced with beautifully done Kutchi embroidered borders. The Uppada silks..such light silks. followed by the traditional Kancheevaram silks, followed by silks embellished with embroidery and Swarovski's. Apparently, it costs a little more than 1000Rs to embellish a sari with approximately 3000 Swarovski's.
Loved the Banaras brocade saris. After going through all these, I had a difficult time let going of so many selections, because, I can’t afford to buy all that!!
The guys at the store who help with your selections, will drape the sari on you, for you to check it out..The worst is when they drape it on themselves…to show you how it looks. I had to tell the guy explicitly, that if he wanted me to like a sari, to stop draping on himself. The marketing has gotten aggressive with every season. From the last few times that I’ve visited India during summer, I’ve come across the Ashadham Sale…Never heard of such sales when I lived in India. A single apparel store now appears like a mall by itself, selling fabrics, to readymade, to saris to 1 gram jewelry, footwear, to handbags. Everything that one would need to be completely dressed.
This season, the 1 gram jewelry focuses more on big pendants with big ear rings. I did enjoy my time shopping but, now starts another problem. The age old problem with the Tailors. The dress material is only as good as the tailor who will make it fit you. If he makes a bad cut, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a dress one selects. So…I am going around battling with my tailor everyday. They ask you to come and then make you wait, just to tell you that its going to be another hour…or the job is not done. There is no value for anybody’s time.
All of us women go through this cycle, whenever we buy a dress or a sari. The high of buying the sari/dress at the store followed by the low at the tailors. Buying the dress/sari at the store is just a fraction of the journey one will make until they get to wear it.