Designer Masaba Gupta’s alternative ways to rock a saree are perfect for a girl who wants to have fun. (All Photos: House of Masaba)

If you’re feeling especially drawn to the saree lately, you’re not alone: The Indian drape is having a moment and will likely be sticking around on top of the trend charts for all of 2018 (and beyond).

But today’s woman doesn’t want a saree that mimics all the rest. It’s not that she’s purposefully eschewing tradition; it’s simply that she’s outgrown the tried-and-true beads, embellishments and conventional heavy borders and pallus of years past. Instead, she is experimenting with styles that are less uniform, more alternative.

By alternative, we mean wearing a saree with feathers or pom-poms and similarly edgy details that are all fair game for a woman who likes to re-imagine what the saree can be.

But what if your dream saree isn’t a saree at all, but rather an epic fanny pack-saree or sporty jacket-saree pairing? If that’s the case, fashion designer Masaba Gupta has rounded up nine non-traditional ways to wear the of-the-moment drape and help you do just that on her blog— whether it’s belting a saree or going for a pallu knotted thickly at the belly-button.

Whenever a popular designer — especially the likes of Masaba, who appear effortlessly styled wherever they go — dishes out fashion advice, believe us, we’re all ears. If you’re a stylish woman who likes to experiment, there’s no better option than to ditch a predictable saree for vibrant and daring silhouettes, unexpected and over-the-top (in a good way) details, as demonstrated by Masaba.

Read on to find truly effortless ways to style a saree that will instantly inspire you to wear the staple in a way that proves skipping stereotypical looks can, not only be a surprising and cool move, but also lets your true personality shine through. (Out of the nine styling tricks ahead, we bet you haven’t tried even half.)

Start experimenting with your layers; you never know what combinations you’ll love. (Photo: House of Masaba)

1. Wear the ‘elegant trench look’ to brunch with your girls

Whoever said you couldn’t wear a trench with a saree had no idea just how cool they would look together. Masaba suggests never playing by rules like that, mixing up traditional and modern, dainty and cool with ease to watch the compliments roll in.

“Wear a casual saree with a denim trench for a cool and put-together ensemble,” Masaba says.

Just start experimenting with your layers; you never know what combinations you’ll love.

How sleek does a saree look in an unconventional half-drape? (Photo: House of Masaba)

2. Wear the ‘half drape’ to the college

Making your saree not-basic has become something of an art form, and donning it as a half-drape is a really, really good way to do it. That effortlessly chic feel.

“Drape the saree normally; once pleated, pull up the pleats on one side and tighten the pallu accordingly. Wear it with a simple tank and some denim for the ultimate desi-grunge look,” Masaba says.

Mix them with no-fail favourites, like ankle-strap heels and a great belt, to give it your own spin.

What other saree style can make you feel as graceful and in control? (Photo: House of Masaba)

3. Wear the ‘cold weather saviour’ to your friend’s sangeet

It might just be the easiest, not-average trick in the book, but draping your pallu casually around your neck makes a big difference. It depends on the saree and the blouse, of course, but according to Masaba, wearing your pallu as a scarf is “hassle-free” for women who are “tired of holding the pallu everywhere.” Plus, it feels more lived-in, a little more purposefully styled and bohemian.

This look is, “ideal for a sangeet, where you can dance the night away without worrying about your outfit,” the designer says. What other saree style can make you feel as graceful and in control?

This is one style that will play all sorts of tricks on your eyes. (Photo: House of Masaba)

4. Wear the ‘gutsy knot’ for cold weather events or evening soirées

Who knew saree pallus are meant to be twisted, rolled, and knotted? Knotting them at the waist is a cool styling trick that can help you repurpose a saree as a dress or to create the illusion of a top and skirt. How’s that for layering?

“Drape the saree casually over your shoulder like a shawl and tie it at the front. Wear a pullover or a sweater as the blouse to get this look,” Masaba says about a style that will play all sorts of tricks on your eyes.

Try a wider belt to define your curves and slim the body. (Photo: House of Masaba)

5. Wear ‘corset belt’ at art exhibitions or gallery openings

For waist definition or an added outfit perk, Masaba knows the value of belting a saree. A skinny one will lend polish to finish an ensemble, but the designer suggests you try a wider belt to define your curves.

“Add an oversized belt over the pallu to define the fall. Use a plain belt over a printed saree and pair it with a tube top as a blouse,” Masaba says.

You might be surprised just how seamlessly a statement belt works with the rest of your ethnic wardrobe.

Jacket and saree: It’s easy and looks so good. (Photo: House of Masaba)

6. Wear the ‘cool jacket layer’ to casual events

Again, get creative and (really) change your look with layers. The saree becomes infinitely more chic when an outerwear is draped nonchalantly over the shoulders, rather than worn with the arms through the sleeves.

“Add a sporty jacket to your saree and wear it with the sleeves pushed up or just drape it over your shoulder loosely,” Masaba says.

It’s easy and looks so good.

For functional fashion that will help you enjoy every moment of your friend’s wedding cinch your waist by wearing a fanny pack. (Photo: House of Masaba)

7. Wear the ‘ever-ready bridesmaid look’ to your BFF’s wedding

While statement belts are cool, Masaba knows it is even cooler when you juxtapose your saree with more out-there pieces, like a vibrant fanny pack. It’s the designer’s take on functional fashion that will help you enjoy every moment of your friend’s wedding hands-free (and stress-free, if possible).

“A variation of the belted saree, tie a fanny pack around your waist to keep the saree in place and for storing all your essentials,” Masaba says about a style that will also help define your figure.

Talk about masterful accessorising!

Style your saree with a casual cap for an unexpected look. (Photo: House of Masaba)

8. Wear the ‘cool-girl cap’ to casual events

Would you dare to embrace a cute — but completely unexpected — accessory trend by amping up your saree with a cap? You should, if peppy-meets-boho is your style sensibility.

“This look’s the simplest, really! Finding a cap and saree that go together, will be the ultimate challenge,” Masaba says about the fashion-forward twist that feels both tomboyish and ladylike at the same time.

Wear your pallu as dupatta for a modest look. (Photo: House of Masaba)

9. Wear the ‘dupatta drape’ to family events or office parties

Need another trendy option? To bring your printed saree sophisticated, elegant vibes wear your pallu in the most unexpected, ever-so-graceful and totally modest way: Perfect if you need to stay comfortable and warm for a night out.

“Give your pallu a twist by pulling it across your shoulders like a dupatta for a sombre and sophisticated look,” Masaba says.


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