A 1971 Wedding Story: Told Through the Wedding Wardrobe that Featured

My parents got married in 1971. The 1971 India-Pakistan war officially started a few days before their wedding but the cards had already been distributed and the caterers instructed. The baraat band played “Dum Maro Dum” from the hit movie ‘Hare Rame Hare Krishna’ which was the rage at the time – an odd choice for a wedding song if the lyrics are considered but Bollywood always reigns supreme.

My parents had an arranged marriage in Punjab and my mother received various clothes from both sides as is customary. Her wedding wardrobe contained various sarees and her mother-in-law (my dadi) who was a clothes enthusiast herself gave her a beautiful selection of sarees which included a  few vintage sarees that belonged to her mother-in-law as a token of family history.  The bride, my mother, who happened to be a naturally organized lady, took great care in storing her wedding clothes in a meticulous fashion. Very recently my friend forwarded me an article from Vogue India that started with the tag line “The secret to a sustainable wardrobe? Knowing how to store your clothes.” I read this and instantly thought of my mom. My mother has always been someone who cares for her purchases regardless of whether they are old or new, cheap or expensive. Growing up, I remember her storing her out of season sarees carefully in a few trunks lined with paper.  She made concentrated efforts to separate her outfits with white paper and keep them out of direct light and humidity. A few years ago, she asked which of her wedding outfits I would like to have and then separated them equally between my sister-in-law and me.

A few weeks ago, I surprised my parents by visiting them unannounced in the US and on my way home, decided to bring my share of her wedding wardrobe with me. It goes without saying that Indian fabrics are stunning and their weaves, colours and styles are a sight to behold.  My mother’s wedding trousseau is now almost 50 years old and I find the sarees and other Indian outfits from that era fascinating.  So much of her wardrobe is still so current and the styles have truly stood the test of time.

Revisit, reimagine and reuse – I have often promoted this line on this blog and I wholeheartedly enjoy reconfiguring clothes that already reside in our wardrobes. In this series of blogs, I want to lookbook my mothers’ wedding outfits to showcase the fashions in 1971 and highlight the timeless beauty of Indian wear. All credit goes to my mother for preserving her outfits so well (the shine of this sari has to be seen to be believed) and I look forward to sharing them with you.

In this lookbook, I am wearing her ‘doli’ saree. This means that this is the saree she wore after the Sikh wedding was over and when she was leaving her home for my father’s house as his bride.  My mother mentioned that in those days in Punjab, most women had a doli suit but my Dadi being a saree fan chose this banarsi organza saree with an all over motif as her ‘doli’ outfit of choice.  The bride wore this saree with a matching orange blouse at the time (with similar sleeves as the purple one) and matching orange sandals.  Unfortunately, those two items have not survived the passage of time.

I wanted to say a big thank you to Aadheekta by Mudra for providing this beautiful traditional jewellery set and collaborating on this post.  Please do check out her Instagram page – she has a beautiful selection of pieces that are well worth the visit. Please quote ISHA10 for a 10% discount.

I hope you enjoyed this vintage saree lookbook.  As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Jewellery:

All Jewellery – Aadheekta by Mudra – Instagram @Adheektabym 

Saree – bought in 1971 in Ludhiana Punjab, at Kiran Stores


Sari Nostalgia: In a Checked South Indian Silk Sari

There is nothing overtly distinct about this sari – many of you or your relatives will own similar silk saris.  What is unique about this sari, however, is that I vividly recall being drawn towards this particular sari, belonging to my mother, as a young girl.  I think it was the checks – I found them unusual and eye catching and  I vaguely remember finding the colour combination a bit unusual and not being able to decide if I actually liked it or not.

I believe it was last year that I spotted in a paper, a Bollywood celebrity wearing a traditional check silk sari. It turned out that it was from Manish Malhotra’s  latest collection and within a few weeks I had seen quite a few celebrities wearing them on the web. I was instantly reminded of my mom’s check sari that had always stood out from the crowd for me. Who knew that Manish Malhotra and I had a mutual appreciation for check silk saris!

Now that I had been reminded about this particular check sari – I asked my mother if I could have it the next time I visited home.  She told me that it was bought in 1971 by her Masi at a shop on Commercial Street in Bangalore and was a part of her wedding trousseau. She seemed hesitant to hand it over so I presented her with a deeply persuasive argument  that went as follows; ” Mom, if you wear it, you are just wearing one of your old saris.  However, if I, your one and only daughter, wears it – the sari takes on a vintage aura that elevates the status of the sari by adding to its traditional allure.  I think the brazenly ludicrous yet creative nature of my reasoning must have amused her as she laughed out loud and subsequently handed it over.  Unfortunately, its original blouse was nowhere to be found, so I had a new one made.

Nostalgia is a curious beast – it can arrive roaring out of the blue and knock your proverbial socks off. Wearing this sari reminded me of visiting my grandmother’s house in Punjab, India in the winter. A distinct memory I have from childhood  is that in the winter women wore silk saris and I was instantly transported to my nani’s verandah with various aunts walking around in lovely silk saris.  I find that clothes are as powerful a medium as any in resurrecting memories that instantly transport you back in time.

I hope you enjoy this ‘lookbook’ and have a lovely rest of the week!