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Traditional Haul ~ JAINSEM

I was in my hometown, Shillong, in July, and I bought these traditional pieces last minute - meaning: the day before leaving. So, they're not even completely stitched yet - the hemlines need to be embroidered and scalloped and whatnot (see on the yellow floral one in the pics below).

Our traditional attire (what sarees are to some of you), is called 'Jainsem'. 
'Jain' means cloth, 'sem' means drape. Both words are Khasi language.

How We Wear It: There's 2 pieces of square fabric, which you drape over each other; each going from under the arms and pinned at the opposite shoulders. Gosh, I hope I explained that alright. 
Please google it, if I confused you.

Pins for securing each piece of the Jainsems.

I also got these lace stoles that are embellished with pearls + pink tartan shawl - tartan shawls are also a big part of our traditional outfits. 
*The 2nd peachy watercolour one next to the yellow lace stole was gifted by my cousin sis.

I want to wear some of these pins as brooches on my neck ties ;)

When it comes to my own traditional trends, I no longer knew/know what's in, what's out, what's "common" - Common is the most unfortunate thing that could happen to a clothing item in small towns.

That's only because I haven't lived there for so long.
Hopefully, that will change when I start wearing them more often - here in the city too. 

When I went to buy them, I had only 2 things in mind - Florals & Bright Colours.

Whenever I do wear them, will post here or on my Instagram.


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  1. Dear Cynthia, I don't know if you remember me, but I was a regular at your blog Indian Vanity Case in its early years. Life has moved on, and today, sitting at an airport, I thought of Googling you and seeing if you're still writing. I have read through your recent posts and this post made me remember that you are from Shillong. In the past several years of my work, I have visited Shillong at least once a month. I have many work friends from there. Hope you're doing well. Your son is almost 9 years old now. Wow! I used to read you before you had him! Take care. - Rima

    1. Hi Rima, are you the Rima who also had a blog? I particularly remember a very personal blog post of yours. If yes, then it's sooo good to hear from you! It's such a nice surprise to hear from someone from back then :)
      Great to know you had visited Shillong, hope you had a fun time there. I trust you're doing well yourself, and you're happy & healthy. Do feel free to write back - here or my email, would love to hear how you've been. Thanks for leaving a comment, made me feel nostalgic - in a good way! Take care x


I ♥ finding little notes in my Vanity Case, so do drop one. I read all of them & I try my best to reply to each & every one of them [check back in 2-3 days =D] but most times it's physically impossible! Either way, I love to hear from you & really appreciate you taking the time out to share your thoughts <3

Thank you for reading! :)