Inara Serra is a Companion - a high-ranking courtesan - of the solar system's Alliance. Similar to real-life Oirans, Companions are part of the social elite, spend years undergoing formalized training in a wide variety of skills, and are able to choose their own clients. She lives on a leased shuttle aboard the transport ship Serenity, traveling the Outer Rim of the solar system and lending an air of legitimacy to the otherwise ragtag vessel captained by Mal Reynolds. It is unclear why Inara choose to leave her Companion house and travel with Mal and his crew, however it is hinted that she may have been exiled. Additionally, Mal and Inara have a strong, mutual, yet resisted attraction which often devolves into petty bickering.
I'd always wanted to own an authentic Indian sari, and since Inara wears several sari variants during the series I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for me to pick one out from Utsav Sarees instead of making one of her outfits myself. I narrowed my search to one I felt she would most likely wear, ultimately picking one with complex gold glass hand beading, intricate patterns and textures, but with just enough plainness that it was believable the outfit could be worn as everyday courtesan attire rather than looking too much like a wedding or other ceremonial outfit. There are three pieces; the top shirt which is adjustable, a plain red cotton skirt slip which ties around the waist, and the beautiful outer wrap which clasps around the waist with a set of traditional front pleats and then folds around before draping over my shoulder. I read up on how to drape it properly, but it was relatively easy to do with the skirt pre-pleated. I'm impressed with the quality of the final product and I absolutely love it; I certainly feel otherworldly and it's quite comfortable. My favorite and unexpected aspect of cosplaying Inara is that every time I wear this, I am, without fail, stopped by someone of Indian descent who proceeds to tell me how happy it makes them to see a non-Indian wearing a sari. I often hear of (likely well-meaning) white people taking issue with non-Asians who wear kimono or sarees, but as long as it is worn appropriately and respectfully (and not as parody), this criticism is misdirected. It is not, by far and large, considered offensive to Indians or the Japanese to wear their traditional clothing as clothing.