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How to Drape a Saree: Fancy and Trendy Saree Wearing Styles!

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how to drape a saree

Aishwarya Rai in a sari at the London premiere of her film Raavan.

How to drape a saree? 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 saris are frequently 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 the sari was first worn in western 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.

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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 styles of draping 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.


How to Drape a Saree- Step by Step!

We know you love sarees! This post covers not just important pointers on how to drape a saree but also talks about different saree wearing styles 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!

Breaking it down, with this guide, you will learn how to drape a saree perfectly and how to drape a saree step by step -


  • Arrange all that you need to begin before you start wearing a saree- safety pins, accessories, petticoat, footwear (preferably, heels), blouse and of course, the saree. When you’re figuring out how to wear a sari neatly, these little things become important.
  • When you have all of this, start of by first wearing your blouse and petticoat. Among tips to wear saree perfectly, you must keep this in mind. Ensure that your petticoat or underskirt matches the color of your saree especially if it is lace, raw cotton or sheer. For more glam sarees, you could also go for a shimmer petticoat.
  • We come to the third saree wearing step. Once you have your petticoat on, tie it firmly because your saree is going to be tucked onto the skirt and you do not want to be in a difficult position, adjusting it if your skirt is loose. Wear your heels. Figure out the fall on the saree and from the other end; begin to twist it around the waist, slowly tucking it into the petticoat. Maintain the right length so that at any point the saree does not get stuck under your footwear.
  • Once you’ve twisted it around once and tucked it in, with the extra fabric start making pleats using your thumb and forefinger, one pleat at a time. How to drape a saree neatly with pleats? Try and gather as many pleats without disturbing the tucked in saree and tuck the pleats neatly into the petticoat on the right side of your navel.
  • Once you have your pleats in place, ensure they are in place by making it even and straight. Tip: If you are wondering how to drape a saree neatly with pleats, just pin those pleats together and they won’t budge.
  • With the rest of the length of the saree, twist it around your waist again from left to right. When the saree comes to your front, bring it over your shoulder and adjust the size of the pallu in a way that it reaches the back of your knee. Firmly secure the pallu with a safety pin on your shoulder to ensure it doesn’t fall.
  • For your pallu, you could either pleat it the way you pleated your saree or you can leave it open according to your liking.
  • Wear your makeup, accessories and do your hair.
  • That’s not a step! You look gorgeous! You’ve answered your question of ‘how to drape a saree"! We’re sure these saree wearing tips will help you immensely!

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, 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 style 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.

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