The Sari (2003)

By: Mukulika Banerjee & Daniel Miller

Drawing on experiences from villagers in Bengal to scientists in Bangalore, this book explores the beauty, adaptability and personality of India’s most iconic garment. Banerjee and Miller show why the sari has survived and indeed flourished as everyday dress when most of the world has adopted western clothing. Their book presents both an intimate portrait of the lives of women in India today and an alternative way for us all to think about our relationship to the clothes we wear.A new bride is unable to move from her husband’s motorbike as her sari comes undone. A young man wonders how he will cope with the saris complicated folds in a romantic clinch. A villager’s soft, worn sari is her main comfort during a fever. Throughout the book, these and other remarkable stories place the sari at the heart of relationships between mothers and infants, mistresses and maids, designers and soap opera stars.

Illustrated and rich in personal testimony, The Sari expertly shows how one of the world’s most simply constructed garments can reveal the intricate design of life in modern India.

More Information


Oxford ; New York : Berg, 2003
Format: vii, 277 : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
ISBN : 1859737323  9781859737323
OCLC : 52567094  ocm52567094

Table of contents

Table of contents

Mina’s story

The intimate sari


The youthful sari

The married sari

The working sari

Growing old together

The problem of what to wear

The pleasure of what to buy

Producers and designers

Arbiters of fashion

Modern clothes

About the author

About the author

Mukulika Banerjee is Reader in Social Anthropology, University College London and author of The Parthan Unarmed.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Crane, Diana. “A Living Garment: The Sari by Mukulika Banerjee and Daniel Miller. Oxford: Berg, 2003, 279 Pages.” contexts (2004): 59-60.

Kaur, Jasbir.The Sari by Mukulika Banerjee and Daniel Miller.” Fashion Theory, 7:3-4 (2003): 415-431, DOI: 10.2752/136270403778052032

Student reviews