Saturday in the City: Global Fashion Envy

Turquoise and Brown Saree

Have you ever wished you could wear the beautiful clothing of another nation?

Have you ever wished you weren’t American so you could wear the kind of clothing non-Western women get to wear?

This week’s writing assignments include a piece about how to buy sarees. And the more I looked at the stunning variation among these dresses, with daily wear, sarees designated for certain festivals, for women’s “kitty parties,” and so on, the more I wished they were my tradition.

Who could not want to wear …

  • A wedding saree designed so it will fit and will be reworn for every family wedding all the rest of her life?
  • Touchable fabrics in complex prints that blend and flow as our more fitted clothing never can?
  • Garments designed to enhance the curves of the normal female figure … where fashion columnists have to explain how to compensate if you are slim?

There are, of course, newer styles, in particular the lehenga saree which zips at the waist and is more fitted to the individual. And under the influence of Bollywood, the sheerer georgettes and tissue silks have gone all the way to net — not something I personally would feel comfortable wearing.

But as I return from a business meeting in my black suit and crisp blue blouse, my “colorful” compensation being three tiers of vintage necklace, a small labradorite brooch, and the sparkling bead ornaments on my shoes, I think:

“I could do with some seriously embroidered and beaded and flowing bling right now.”

My neighborhood has become Little India in the last few years. You could yet find me buying my first saree.

About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at, and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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