One of the things that might put off younger generations to wearing traditional clothing is ease and quickness in which they can easily dress in “western” clothing. To combat this disturbing trend, many companies who make Saree (Sari) fashions are embracing a new “quick to wear” style, the Lehenga style Saree. It is a combination of the traditional Saree and the Lehenga choli. While the Lehenga style saree is on the shorter range, 4 and a half to 5 and a half meters, it has the advantage of being pre-pleated which makes it much easier to put on. It is the ultimate ‘tuck and drape’ style, with the lower portion of the saree often being pleated on a belt or having a hook and eye fastening for ease of wear.
Like the traditional Saree, the Lehenga style saree needs to be worn over a petticoat (this can be called a pavadai, a shaya, or a lehenga depending on area) and a choli. The choli is a blouse which comes in many different styles from sleeveless to long sleeve and cropped to full length and can be traditional halter neck, deep neck, or backless style. They are typically very embellished in a fashion that complements the over Saree worn with them.
As the need for a faster way to dress becomes ever more important, cultures who wish to retain their hold on tradition need to embrace ways to help make their native dress easier to wear, and this is what the Lehenga style saree accomplishes. Not only does it make this exotic look appealing as evening wear to those outside the area, but it gives those within the area a change to retain native dress habits in a rapidly changing world. The lehenga style saree creates a ‘ready made’ version of the traditional garment that allows the wearer to dress in minutes.
The majority of the problem with traditional saree is the time it takes to wrap and pleat them, along with the need for someone to be there to help get it straight. The Lehenga style saree avoids this by having the bottom of the saree stitched as a skirt, often with a zippered means to slip it on and off. The best ones are custom made to measure. Thus it can be slipped on, zipped up and the pallu draped over the shoulder or pinned fairly quickly.
Properly draping a lehenga style saree is relatively easy in comparison to traditional saree. The trade off is that one is limited in draping methods as how the lehenga saree can be worn, Traditional, non pre-pleated saree can be worn over 80 different ways, while the lehenge saree is typically made based on a single pleating style and this cannot be changed. Commonly, the lehenge saree is tucked into the petticoat, wrapped around once and tucked in. the pleats are already formed for the wearer. Once tucked in the remaining end is draped over the shoulder. One can find these made with hook and eye fastenings as well as zippers.