How To Start Saree Draping Like A Pro

Aug/19/2021 / by Nancy Amon
how to wear a saree

A sari is a popular and traditional South Asian garment worn by women and girls. Sometimes misspelled as “saree” and you can also see it searched as “shari.” It is versatile enough to dress up or down and makes the perfect outfit for warm climates. Before you get the gist of saree draping, let’s first delve deeper into where it all began. 

How Did Saree Draping Change the Cause of Fashion in South Asia?

Historically, saree draping dates its origins back to Indus Valley Civilisation (2800-1800BCE). Text in ancient Sanskrit describes “women in exquisite drapery,” or as we know, a sari. The Indian goddess Lakshmi is also depicted wearing a sari in the 1st Century BCE. The Gupta Empire featured women wearing these garments in art depictions 320CE. Furthermore, many historic photographs show different types of saree draping. 

Just like modern-day, various dyes and color form part of the finished product. Artesian-like craftsmanship bears witness to the fine detail that goes into these beautiful garments and makes it truly special. 

Other South East Asian countries like the Philippines, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia wear drapery close to saris. It’s wrapped similarly and also beautifully embellished. 

Saree draping 101

No specific body type for a saree

One of the first things to remember is that you don’t need a specific body type to wear a sari. Heavy or slim, you’ll look amazing either way. 

All the pieces play a role

Incorporating all the components while draping a sari is essential. 

Down to the ankles

When you wear a petticoat under your sari, the skirt must go all the way down to your ankles. In this way, it complements your heels. 

Make it match 

Sheer materials changes the color of the petticoat. You want to ensure that the under skirt and sari drape match each other. 

Be careful of creases

It can leave a bad crease in the front area when hung in a certain way for a long time or is incorrectly ironed.

Can you walk freely? 

Before heading out, see if you can walk comfortably in your sari without the drape interfering with the under skirt. 

Don’t use pins if not needed

Where you don’t need the pins, it’s best to leave them out. Some delicate saree material can tear due to the pin placement and extended wear. 

Here’s Some Excellent Ways to Try Saree Draping

If you’ve wondered how to wrap a sari, then you’re not alone. It may seem difficult at first glance, but this post will help you understand and try it for yourself. 

Sari draping styles may differ in other regions, making them even more versatile for various ado’s. 

1 – The Lehenga-style sari

When it comes to the Lehenga sari, it differs from the others since there is no pleating needed. Many women enjoy wearing their sari this way and the drape is simply tucked in. It’s modern, fresh, and comfortable when blending the lehenga choli and the lehenga.  

2 – The Mermaid-style

Elegant and beautiful, the mermaid sari draping styles show off parts of the midsection. It accentuates the curves and is great for any body type. It also helps provide a slimming silhouette for those looking for this shape. With a heavy pallu and lighter drape colors paired with embellishments, the mermaid style works well. 

3 – Butterfly style 

If you are tying your saree in the butterfly style, also known as the “Bollywood,” way it showcases the midriff and navel section. This is feminine, chic and one of the most popular styles to wear a sari in South Asia. 

4 – Maharashtrian saree wrap 

How to wrap a sari the Maharashtrian way is easy. Another name for this style is the Nauvari. This way of wrapping a saree is popular on fashion runways and also amongst celebrities in Bollywood.  This is a comfortable way of draping a sari allowing the legs to move even if you wanted to walk quickly. It is a bit casual-looking and simply great for any day’s wear. 

5 – Open pallu style saree

The open pallu-style drape of a saree is another comfortable way of wearing the fabric. It’s perfect for a casual look and functional enough to wear throughout the day. Saree draping in this style doesn’t call for any pleats and is effortless. 

6 – Belted saree

The belted saree style is elegant. You can wrap it in your chosen style, and after that, adorn it with the belt accessory material. While not an actual belt is used, you could opt to use a scarf that goes with the elements of your saree drape. 

7 – Half saree

The half saree is another stunning method of wearing this gorgeous draping garment. The difference between the half and full saree is often the occasion. It is also draped differently. 

What’s the difference between a full saree and a half saree?

A complete saree’s length is 4.5 meters long. The half saree is only 2-2.5 meters in length. Traditionally, half sarees represent a girl transitioning to puberty and worn during this time. 

It is a combination of the “paavadai” a young girl’s or teen girl’s skirt and the voni which is similar to the adult woman saree. Together these garments represent the girl is becoming a woman. 

8 – Pant saree types

This is more of a western-style for wearing a saree, but South Indo women also wear their saris in this manner. It uses a trouser bottom and the rest of the pallu and draping is secured around the waist and the upper torso. It may also feature the midriff section of the torso and can be worn with long sleeves or short. This is an elegant look that can’t be missed. 

People also prefer to style the blouse in the same cut as the pants with a pants saree. Light fabrics such as chiffon and georgette are ideal because it is light and airy. The cut of the pants should complement your body type. Needless to say sarees, especially the pants saree is often tailor-made for the wearer. 

Shalwar kameez

The shalwar kameez which is more of a pants design for the bottoms. It is a wide waist and cuffed ankles and is worn with a tunic. Men and women can wear this, but a headscarf is usually draped around the woman’s head accompanying the outfit. 

The dhoti sari wrap

The Dhoti aka “chaardra,” “dhuti” and “panche” was commonly worn by men in earlier years. Today it forms part of women’s fashion too. This style of sari wrap is effortless and looks similar to a sarong. 

Churidar pant sari

Unlike the loosley-fit dhoti, the churidar is similar to a legging or a matching cut design pants. It’s form-fitting on the legs and the rest of the pallu is draped similarly fashion to the regular sari outfit. 

9 – Bengali style sari 

The Bengali way of saree draping emphasizes the double wrap pallu accompanied by a large key ring to help hold the pallu in place while wearing. It also features two wide pleats. The Bengali-style sari is easy to wear. 

10 –  Rijrani style 

The rijrani style is one of the other lovely ways to wear a sari. This is especially if you have already asked yourself the question “how to tie a sarie.”

The rijrani sari style uses fine materials and embellishments and is created to give a sense of luxury and royalty. This style is a favorite when going to weddings and other significant events. It is chic and beautiful. Rajasthani brides would often pick this choice of saree for their big day. 


What do you wear under a saree?

Most women wear a saree with a blouse or a petticoat; however, this isn’t necessary because of the layered fabric. 

What is the best way to wear a saree?

There are many YouTube tutorials on how to wrap a sari. It’s totally up to you for the style in which you’re looking to wear it. 

Is saree worn on left or right?  

While most prefer saree draping styles on the right, it can be worn on either left or right sides. It’s entirely up to the wearer how she wants to wear hers. 

How can I cover my belly with saree? 

Saree draping styles offer many ways to cover your belly with the material. 

Conclusion about saree draping

If you wondered how to tie a sari before reading this, it can seem intimidating, but it’s really easy.  There are many videos and tutorials online to help you master the various sari draping techniques.  Saree draping styles offer so much variety and the garment itself is functional for everyday wear. Many celebrities are also seen wearing a sari to a gala or red carpet event. It is an excellent choice of garment for traditional South Asian weddings as well. 


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