Designer Payal Khandwala has found a solution for women who can't drape a sari Advertisement

Designer Payal Khandwala has found a solution for women who can’t drape a sari

Introducing the little sari

By Shweta Gandhi  September 11th, 2017

When was the last time you wore a sari? If your answer is “At a wedding/sangeet/Diwali party”, it’s safe to say that our generation still considers the sari impractical for daily wear. Be it the manifold drape, the pleats that just never get done right or the effort you have to put into not falling on your face once you’re wearing it, there’s some hesitation always holding you back. At the same time, who can forget all the compliments you received the last time you wore one? 

If you love the sari but detest draping it, designer Payal Khandwala has a solution for you — the little sari. For her AW ’17 collection Indessential, Payal has redesigned the conventional sari by shortening its length (half the size of a sari but still longer than a dupatta) and advocates styling it with closet staples. “The little sari gives you a lighter and fuss-free look that’s versatile — you can style it differently every time you wear it, and it encourages you to reuse and repeat your clothes without giving in to trends,” she says. 

As a student living in New York, the designer was unable to find tailors who could make blouses for her. The cold temperature didn’t make it any better, so Payal decided to innovate: “I would buy saris in India and wear them with a black turtleneck sweater from GAP or a shirt from Zara in New York,” says the designer. “In this collection, I have styled the handwoven sari the way I would wear it — with T-shirts, shirts, tank tops, fitted shirts, jackets… everything but the tight-fitted katori blouse,” she says. 

This season, give your sari a contemporary twist by introducing the little sari into your wardrobe — all you have to do is tuck it in your waist and drape it over your shoulder, and voila, you’re good to go.

Take inspiration from the designer who tells you how to how to style the little sari. 

5 ways to style the little sari 

Ripped denims and a plain top

"I chose denims because that's what I usually wear — they're super casual and comfortable. Drape the pallu from front to back for a structured look," says Payal.

Culottes and a jewel coloured top

"Cropped trousers with a long-sleeved top when styled with the little sari adds length to your look and gives the illusion of you looking taller." 

Tailored trousers and a shirt

"Tailored trousers — or work trousers — when worn with a shirt and draped with the little sari gives you the perfect formal look for office."

Boot-leg pants, a white cotton shirt and a short jacket

"Boot-leg pants which give a slim — but not fitted — look are versatile and can be paired with either a short jacket or a long jacket."


High-waisted pants and a collared shirt

"A collared shirt lets you play with minimal geometric-inspired accessories, which give the little sari an ethnic yet contemporary touch."