Most of us love to wear a saree but we often give up the idea of wearing it to the office thinking that it’s not an attire professional enough or will draw undue attention.
Indra Nooyi, a middle class girl from Chennai, who went on to study in the US and became the global chief executive of PepsiCo has talked about wearing a saree to work meetings in her memoir, My Life in Full: Work, Family and our Future.
Talking in detail about preparing for her first job interview at 24, she wrote how she had no business attire and little money to make the purchase. She eventually managed to purchase a business suit, this being the biggest purchase of her life till then.
The suit did not turn out how it was supposed to be and Indra ended up being embarrassed by fellow students at the interview. Teary-eyed, she ran to the director of career development, Jane, and told her how everyone was laughing.
Jane asked her what she would have worn if it were India to which Indra replied: A saree.
Jane advised her:
Next time, wear the saree. And if they won’t hire you for who you are, it’s their loss. Just be yourself.
While she got the job, she decided to wear a saree for her next interview with Booz Allen Hamilton. Reminiscing that interview, she wrote:
I wore my favorite turquoise silk sari with cream flowers and a turquoise blouse, and I met with a Booz Allen partner from Texas who put me at ease right away. He conducted a rigorous interview using a business case, and I felt he was judging my ability, not worrying one bit about what I wore or looked like.
Once again she was hired and guess what she wore a saree every day to work. But she was never taken to client meetings.
Taking me to a client meeting in Indianapolis in a sari would have been too jarring in those days. At the time, I fully understood and accepted my colleagues’ leaving me behind. It seemed a small price to pay.
You can read more from her book here.