The Indian Saree can boast of oldest existence in the world. There is mention of sarees in the Vedas which is a 3000 B.C. old literature. Worldwide fashion has seen many changes but the sarees’ existence has been as firm as a rock. It is the patterns which changes with times. This is because it is the main wear of rural India. About75% of the population wear versatile sari. We call this cloth versatile because it can be worn in many ways, as shorts, trousers, flowing gown or convenient skirt and all this without a single stitch.
Saree is of varied length from 5 yards to 9.5 yards. It is tied loosely, folded andpleated, it can be made into working dress or party-wear. For day to day dressing and especially for middle class women, 5-6 yard sari is comfortable to manage household chores.Working class tucks the same length above the ankles and if they have to work inwater or fields, they tuck the front pleats between the legs to the back, and tie theupper portion round the waist. This way the hands and legs movements are easier.
Wearing styles of a saree varies from region to region. Gujarat style and Bengali style are different. So are Mangalorean, Kannadiga, Kodava, Tamilian, Malayali, etc.In Maharashtra and North Karnataka, wearing a nine yard saree tucked in betweenthe legs like trousers was in vogue till the 20th century.
Many think sarees are a Greek or Roman influence over India but this is factually not true! Though the Greek or Roman ancient statues have similar kind of flowing drape, sarees were in existence much before Alexander the Great invaded thesub continent. The Indian saree was a treat to Greek eyes and they carried this fashionable drape back with them.