Different Styles of Wearing Sari:  Being Trendy while keeping the Tradition!

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how to drape a saree in different styles

Different Styles of Wearing Sari? How likely are you to ask the question unless there’s an occasion? Since ancient times, Indian women and girls have been wearing beautiful saris.  And many still wear them today, some frequently and others more occasionally.  Also spelled "saree," this traditional ethnic Indian feminine attire consists of a long, wide piece of fabric that is artfully draped over and around the woman's body. 

Although different styles of wearing sari worn by women in several South and Southeastern Asian countries - including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, to name a few - they are most closely associated with Indian women, perhaps because of their long history in that region.  

In fact, historians believe that different styles of wearing sari was worn in India thousands of years ago.  The Silappadhikaram and other works of ancient Tamil poetry, along with Banabhatta's Kadambari, a centuries-old Sanskrit work, describe women wearing exquisitely draped saris.  Today, when many Western people think of India, they visualize a beautiful, dark-haired woman wearing a sari.

Different Styles of Wearing Sari: Classic Styles!

different styles of wearing sari

here are many different styles of wearing sari India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Here are of the different styles of wearing sari 

Nivi sari

Nivi sari styles originally worn in Deccan region; besides the modern nivi, there is also the kaccha nivi, where the pleats are passed through the legs and tucked into the waist at the back. This allows free movement while covering the legs.

Bengali and Odia style is worn without any pleats.

Traditionally the Bengali style is worn without pleats where the sari is wrapped around in an anti-clockwise direction around the waist and then a second time from the other direction. The loose end is a lot longer and that goes around the body over the left shoulder. There is enough cloth left to cover the head as well. The modern style of wearing a sari originates from the Tagore family. Jnanadanandini Devi, the wife of Rabindranath Tagore's elder brother Satyendranath came up with a different way to wear the sari after her stay in Bombay. This required a chemise or jacket (old name for blouse) and petticoat to be worn under the sari and made it possible for women to come out of the secluded women's quarters (purdah) in this attire.

Gujarati/Rajasthani

After tucking in the pleats similar to the nivi style, the loose end is taken from the back, draped across the right shoulder, and pulled across to be secured in the back

Himalayan

Kulluvi Pattu is traditional form of woolen sari worn in Himachal Pradesh, similar variation is also worn in Uttarakhand.

Nepal

Nepal has many with different styles of wearing sari, today the most common is the Nivi drape. The Bhojpuri and Awadhi speaking community wears the sari sedha pallu like the Gujrati drape. The Mithila community has its own traditional Maithili drapes like the madhubani and purniea drapes but today those are rare and most sari is worn with the pallu in the front or the nivi style. The women of the Rajbanshi communities traditionally wear their sari with no choli and tied below the neck like a towel but today only old women wear it in that style and the nivi and the Bengali drapes are more popular today. The traditional Newari sari drape is, folding the sari till it is below knee length and then wearing it like a nivi sari but the pallu is not worn across the chest and instead is tied around the waist and leaving it so it drops from waist to the knee, instead the pallu or a shawl is tied across the chest, by wrapping it from the right hip and back and is thrown over the shoulders. Saris are worn with blouse that are thicker and are tied several times across the front. The Nivi drape was popularized in Nepal by the Shah royals and the Ranas.

Nav-vari

This drape is very similar to that of the male Maharashtrian dhoti, though there are many regional and societal variations. The centre of the sari (held lengthwise) is placed at the centre back, the ends are brought forward and tied securely, then the two ends are wrapped around the legs. When worn as a sari, an extra-long cloth of nine yards is used and the ends are then passed up over the shoulders and the upper body. This style of draping is called as "Nav-vari sari" (Kashta in Konkani). Women in villages of Maharashtra still drape their saris in this manner. The style worn by Brahmin women of differs from that of the Marathas. The style also differs from community to community. This style is popular in Maharashtra and Goa. Nowadays this style has become very famous through Indian cinema and is trending in Maharashtrian weddings.

Madisar

This drape is typical of Iyengar/Iyer Brahmin ladies from Tamil Nadu. Traditional Madisar is worn using 9 yards sari.

Pin Kosuvam

This is the traditional Tamil Nadu style

Kodagu style

This drape is confined to ladies hailing from the Kodagu district of Karnataka. In this style, the pleats are created in the rear, instead of the front. The loose end of the sari is draped back-to-front over the right shoulder, and is pinned to the rest of the sari.

Gobbe Seere

This style is worn by women in the Malnad or Sahyadri and central region of Karnataka. It is worn with 18 molas sari with three-four rounds at the waist and a knot after crisscrossing over shoulders.

Karnataka

In Karnataka, apart from traditional Nivi sari, sari is also worn in "Melgacche" drape, kacche drape which shows nivi drape in front and kacche in back, there are three kacche styles known in Karnataka - "Hora kacche", "Melgacche" and "Vala kacche" or "Olagacche" which is today limited to parts of northern Karnataka, but is rarely worn as every day attire.

Kerala sari style

The two-piece sari, or Mundum Neryathum, worn in Kerala. Usually made of unbleached cotton and decorated with gold or coloured stripes and/or borders. Also the Kerala sari, a sort of mundum neryathum.

Tribal indigenous styles

Often secured by tying them firmly across the chest, covering the breasts.

Kunbi style or denthli

Goan Gauda and Kunbis, and those of them who have migrated to other states use this way of draping sari or kap.

Reference: Different styles of wearing sari

Here's a list of the new trendy different styles of wearing sari:

Belt Style. Drape your saree the normal way and just add a belt that cinches your pallu at the waist. ...

Dhoti Style

Neck Drape Style

Mumtaz Style

Mermaid Style

Pant Style

Butterfly Style

Lehenga Style

Front Pallu Style

Pre-stitched Gown Style

The common perception that a sari is solely a form of traditional, ethnic Indian women's attire is perfectly understandable, although saris are much more than that.  In fact, many Western women are now discovering the true beauty of this type of clothing, and in both the Western world and in India, the sari has become more of a fashion statement than anything else, although many Indian women still wear them as a symbol of pride and as a way to show honor and respect for longstanding traditions.

Western women are beginning to wear saris for both casual and formal occasions, and as a family of Indian descent, we're both happy and proud to see this happening.  In fact, we have dedicated ourselves to bringing the beauty of this traditional form of dress out from Asia and its traditional roots into the modern, Western world. 

But, we feel it's important that women who wear or are considering wearing saris understand the traditional significance, meanings and symbolism behind them.  So, we'll describe how to wear a sari and then explain how these garments can give you an insight into traditional Indian culture.

A sari consists of a long strip of unstitched fabric that is ultimately draped around and over a woman's body in one of several specific styles.  The length of fabric can be anywhere between four and nine yards long, depending on the style.  Although several different styles of wearing sari are possible, most women wrap the sari fabric around their waist and drape the loose end - which is called the pallu and is often gorgeously decorated - loosely over one shoulder.  The other, undecorated end of the sari fabric is concealed because it is inside the wrapped portion.

Sari fabric often features vibrant colors, beautiful patterns and stunning embellishments on the pallu and along the lengthwise edges.  But, because it is, in the end, a simple length of cloth, sari fabric can be draped and worn in several ways.  Some draping styles require longer pieces of fabric than others, and some leave all or a portion of the woman's midriff bare.  The bare midriff styles almost certainly trace their origins to ancient Hindu religious beliefs.  Ancient Indian traditions and the Natya Shastra (an ancient Indian work which describes clothing and dance forms) consider the navel to be a source of creativity and of life itself, so the midriff is to be left bare when a sari is wrapped.


We know you love sarees! This post covers not just important pointers on how to drape a saree but also talks about different styles of wearing sari that you’d love to try out! We start right from how to tie a saree to how to drape a saree for a wedding! Read this post and fall in love with the saree all over again!

How to Drape a Saree for Beginners | Easy Saree Draping Tutorial

In ancient India, the feminine ideal involved a small waist but a large bust and hips.  The sari, worn since those times, may be the perfect type of attire to evoke those ideal womanly characteristics because it exposes and emphasizes a woman's waist while the draping of the fabric also emphasizes her bust.

Saris are very versatile, and depending on how they're draped, with different styles of wearing sari they can be demure or highly evocative.  They can be worn for any occasion, casual or formal.  They are even becoming increasingly popular as wedding dresses for brides who want to be a bit different and make a fashion statement about their individual sense of style.  Although they are a traditional form of Indian attire, their fluid lines and exotic, exquisite style have enabled saris to carve out a place in modern Western society.

We can help you enjoy the incomparable different styles of wearing sari and elegance that only a gorgeous sari can provide.  When you wear a sari, you'll also be participating in the fusion of revered ancient Indian traditions with modern Western society.

To the top of this page Different styles of wearing sari.

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