How to Wear a Sari

Knowing how to wear a sari may not be as easy as you think. This intricate and beautiful dress is comprised of many elements and takes thought and care to wear. Know each piece and how they are worn together to create a traditional yet unique look.

The Petticoat
The petticoat is the long skirt portion of the sari, worn at the waist and extended to the floor. The petticoat is generally not seen below the sari, but should match closely in color. If you are wearing a sari in the summertime, pick a petticoat that is lightweight like the sari to allow for breathability.

The Blouse
The blouse is a tight fitting sleeveless or short sleeved top that is cut off to just below the bust. The blouse will be seen below the sari, and comes in various gorgeous colors and patterns. Blouses come with varying necklines as well, so you can choose one to your liking and comfort level.

The Sari
The sari itself is almost like a large scarf and is typically a very lightweight fabric. These come in different sizes, but you should get one that has plenty of room to be wrapped and draped about you multiple times.

Wrapping the Sari
The wrapping of the sari is very specific and can be complicated, but the end result is always beautiful.

  1. Tuck the top of the sari into the waistband of the petticoat. The bottom of the sari should be grazing the floor. The end of the fabric should be positioned right of center, with the rest going to the left of your body.
  2. Wrap the sari around you once. It should go behind you on the left side and come back to the front on your right side.
  3. Make five to seven pleats of equal size. These pleats should be about five inches in length, starting with the fabric that is closest to your body, working outwards. A safety pin can be used to secure the pleats.
  4. Tuck the pleats into the petticoat. Tuck them in left of center, and so that the pleats open towards the left.
  5. Wrap remaining fabric around once more. Do this again left to right, and bring it to the front.
  6. Drape the rest of the sari over your shoulder. Bring the sari up under your right arm, so the fabric is raised on your back. Drape the sari over your left shoulder, and the remaining length of fabric should fall to about your knees. The end drape is called the Pallav or the Pallu, and can be secured with a safety pin to the shoulder of the blouse, if need be.

A sari is an exquisite traditional dress and looks beautiful when worn correctly.

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