Sulabha Santosh, Panjavarnam Penn Oct - Nov 2018

Sulabha Santosh, Panjavarnam Penn Oct - Nov 2018

Vijayalakshmi Ganesh
6 minute read

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Panjavarnam Penn is our small way to celebrate women and their stories. Each and every female customer we meet have a lot of stories to share with us. Each story, a journey that must be shared and spoken about more.

This month's Panjavarnam Penn is another perfect example of multifaceted, multi-tasking women. Multi-tasking is an art that women of every age have so beautifully mastered. In today’s age of career-driven women, multitasking has become a necessary evil. Imagine adding a saree to this equation…We understand that for many women, saree is a task by itself and a lot of planning is needed. But the beauty of the drape and the day full of compliments just make it worth it!

While at Panjavarnam, we LOVE women who wear sarees every day, we also give a big THUMBS UP to those women who want to “Grow into wearing sarees more regularly”. And this month’s Panjavarnam Penn is a multi-faceted working woman, who wishes to grow from the occasional saree wearing into regular saree wearing woman! Here is Sulabha, Radio One’s morning voice of Chennai, sharing her story with us!

Sulabha in her favourite MS Blue with Pink combination for the Festive Season. Shop for more Kanchipuram sarees here.

How did Sarees happen to you Sulabha?

I wore my first saree at my 12th class farewell. I haven’t been a very saree sort of a person, until recently. It is definitely something that I want to grow into - wearing sarees every day. That’s the dream.  My first saree was a silk cotton saree my mother got me. It was a Mango-Yellow saree with a Green border.

My mother and grandmother had a weaver at Kanchipuram to whom they would give specific colour combinations, to weave sarees and paavadais. My favourite of the lot was this MS Blue paavadai with a Pink border.

My earliest memories of sarees is that of my mother wearing a lot of starched cotton sarees. So my very first idea of a saree was starched Bengal cotton saree that my mother would so carefully wash and starch and take care of. So sarees to me meant a lot of care and maintenance. Growing up, my favourite was silk, but zari-less sarees. I feel like it can be worn on any occasion. I am naturally drawn to brighter shades, I see a  yellow or orange or black and my shopping is done. But now, I am growing to like lighter shades.


RJ Sulabha in a multicolour Kalamkari Saree. For some unique Kalamkari Sarees, click here.

We asked Sulabha what attracts her to a saree.

Colour Combinations are et al.

I have a thing for combinations. Both my mother and I are majorly attracted to colour combinations. My fascination with silks and colour combinations started off with my Pattu Paavadais. My first paavadai was yellow with a blue combination. I remember the colour so vividly and also have a black and white photo of me wearing it. But that combination, it is stuck in my head. It always was and is about the combinations. That also was my biggest attraction to sarees. My first saree - the mango yellow with the green combination? See how graphic these colour combinations are in my memory? They are always colour combinations for me, never self-border sarees. But for my wedding, all my sarees were jacquard sarees with self-border. I now wish I had bought traditional colour combinations too.

Shop our elegant handwoven Pochampally Collection here

What she almost reaches out to when she shops for sarees...

I am more inclined to silks and silk cottons. I must recount my recent experience here about shopping for a handloom saree. I chanced upon a handloom saree a couple of years back and I bought the saree without realising it was handloom. But I realised that wearing a handloom was such a pleasure - the drape was easy, I fell in love with it. It did not crease easily, and the feel was too good to be true and the drape, so soft. This made me realise that even if handloom is more expensive, I am willing to pay a premium price only because the drape and the experience were better. So now I only buy handloom sarees.

Also, somewhere, colour combinations that my mother and grandmother wear, is sort of stick to my mind and I tend to pick combinations or sarees similar to that. When it comes to shopping sarees now, I pick them based on whether I would wear it 25 years later. I also like this trend of wearing contrast blouses. It excites me a lot.

Shop from our Linen collection

When she can’t choose her favourite saree….

My favourite saree? I have so many…. I love one of my mom’s wedding saree. But they are so old and fragile, I am scared to wear them. So, I can only use them for the golu padi. My paati was actually bored with her wedding sarees because they were plain. So to make it interesting she got someone to do block printing done on her sarees.

Shop from our traditional collection of Kanjivarams here

Classic and Repeatable, that’s Sulabha’s style

I prefer to go for sarees that are classic, traditional and repeatable. Very often now people talk about Sustainable Fashion. Come on! We are a country that repeats clothes, but fashion standards are so high that there is so much pressure to not repeat clothes. Why are we looking down upon repeating a saree? I am against it. I love the fact that a saree can be worn and reworn and passed on to your kids. It’s like a story in itself, a piece of you that you pass on.

For sarees in some unique combinations, shop from our fresh arrivals

We asked her what Panjavarnam means to her?

The minute I read the name “Panjavarnam”, it only spoke a splash of colours to me. The first thing I noticed about the website and the collection were the lovely colour combinations. I loved that these were some beautiful rare combinations and handloom, which means easy to drape. Like I said in the beginning, I may not wear sarees regularly but I want to grow into wearing sarees more frequently. What with work and being a hands-on mom, I wonder how our mothers did it - wear a saree and run around with us, for us. I see myself as a mom like that, like my mom and I want to move into dressing up like that.

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