Blog - Do The White Thing. 25.1.20

Blog - Do The White Thing. 25.1.20
Decorative white blouses
Embellished white blouses

I am finding a simple white garment is a rarity in India.  White maybe, but plain white is a no-no.  It must be white on white!  White hand embroidery, machine embroidery, applique, reverse applique, smocking, Broidery Anglaise, cream print on white, but heaven forbid just plain white!

Machine embroidered motif on tunic
Machine embroidered motif on tunic

I have started to keep my eyes peeled for just one simple white shalwar kameeze or churidar then, lo and behold, a whole village of people wearing while shawls, sarongs and Dhoti as we drive from Ooty in the hill stations to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. When I query this with the driver he looks at me like I am stupid….”it’s Sunday, the villagers are going to the temple”…by the lorry load it seems!

Men wearing white on lorry
A lorry load of Villagers in white, en route to temple

So white, it appears, is kept for special religious occasions and particularly funerals I discover.  In the UK we add embellishment on our white wedding, christenings and confirmation gowns, whereas Hindu’s strip it back to simple pure white for their Sunday visits to the temple, and I learn, from the obligatory bit of Googling that … “White represents purity, cleanliness, peace and knowledge. The goddess of knowledge, Saraswati is always shown as wearing a white dress, sitting on a white lotus. The Brahmin – the highest social caste – is associated with white. Hindu religious leaders cover themselves with white ashes to represent their spiritual rebirth”   (https://wou.edu/wp/exhibits/files/2015/07/hinduism.pdf)

Hem of white trousers
Decorative cut work and embroidery on white trousers

As I wandered down the beach on my birthday wearing my Cut Couture white linen with a long embroidered white over dress a delightful young man commented, “Miss, you look like an angel!”  Now maybe that was meant as a compliment, I’m not sure…but I felt a little uneasy as I smiled back as it did mean than on that beach I stood out like a sore thumb!  Angels may be beautiful creatures but, to my understanding, they are spirits of those passed away?  I am not yet ready to leave this Earth and be considered a spirit!  I think I will mix it up a little in future and add some colour….as they say…when in Rome…

White pleats and embroidery
White pleats and embroidery on Indian cotton