The Indian saree is a beautiful and traditional garment worn by women from India and other countries around the world. Essentially, a saree is simply a long piece of decorative fabric that can be draped across the body in different ways. Because of this, it’s an incredibly flexible piece of clothing that you can style however you want. As well as choosing to wear the sari itself in lots of different ways, you can choose varying accessories to complement it. Bangles, earrings, shoes, makeup and other embellishments can complete your outfit. A saree is the perfect choice for a special occasion or party or even just casual wear. If you want some ideas for how to style yours, keep reading.
Depending on how you want your saree to be, you can drape it in a number of ways. You can have the draping be quick and easy or unique or just about any way. You can pick any accessory you like to go with your saree. In the end, it’s all about how you can feel comfortable and attractive in your saree.
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Explore Different Ways of Draping A Saree
The first thing you can consider is how to drape your saree in different ways. A saree is usually about five to nine yards long, and two to four feet wide. That means you have plenty of material to work with, so you can position it however you want. In fact, there are over 80 ways you can choose to drape your saree. They can’t all be covered here, but you can understand a few of the most popular ways to drape saree.
1. Nivi Draping
One of the most common ways to drape a saree is the nivi fashion. This style originated in Andhra Pradesh, on the southeast coast of India. It is a simple and recognizable way of draping a saree. It merely involves the saree wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder. Start by tucking one end into the waistband, then wrapping it once around your waist. Gather pleats and tuck them into your waistband. Then wrap the saree once more around your waist and drape it over your shoulder.
2. Gujarati Style Draping
For a twist on the nivi style, this one is a great way to emphasize the beautiful work on your pallu (the loose end of the saree). Pull the pallu over the right shoulder, over your blouse. Tuck it into the left of your blouse to secure it and show off the material across your top.
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3. Bengali Style
The Bengali style of wearing a saree is perfect for a special occasion. You can choose to wear it with a beautiful saree with a rich border for maximum impact. The traditional red-and-white Bengali saree is best to try this draping. To drape a saree in this style, you can start by tucking one end of the saree into your waistband to the right of your waist. Keep tucking as you bring it once around your waist and to your left hip. You should then make a wide box pleat that goes to your right leg and tuck it in. Form another box pleat, then pleat the pallu. You can temporarily clip it in place while you hold it and drape it over your left shoulder.
Make the front of the saree touch the ground at the front and back. Unclick the pleats and pin the pallu to your left shoulder. Then pull the right border of the pallu over your chest and tuck it in at your hip. With the right corner of the pallu, you can attach a keyring or another decorative accessory. Put it over your right shoulder from the front, then straighten your front pleats.
This draping might be difficult but it’s so worth it when you attend Durga Puja in West Bengal in typical Bengali saree.
4. Maharashtrian Style
For a Marathi style saree, you can wear shorts or leggings instead of a skirt. With the saree behind you, bring one end over your waist on the right. Let some fabric loose and make a double knot over the navel. Bring the loose fabric between your legs, make small pleats and tuck them in at the back. At the front, make pleats and tuck them in at the middle. Wrap the saree around your waist to the front, pleat the pallu and pin it over your left shoulder.
5. Try Modern Draping Styles
There are many traditional and regional ways to drape a saree. However, you might also want to consider more contemporary options. They can be good choices if you want to emphasize another part of your outfit. For example, you might want to highlight a blouse or perhaps even an underskirt. These styles include the butterfly style, which leaves the midriff exposed. There’s also mermaid draping, which forms a skirt with the bottom portion of the saree. There’s also the dhoti saree, which is very popular among young and stylish women.
6. Experiment with Draping
There are many other instructions you can follow to drape your saree in different ways. However, you don’t have to stick too closely to any one method. You can play with the saree to see the different effects you can create. Don’t feel like you have to follow one style exactly. You can mix up different methods and use different saree lengths to find a style you love. You might like longer or shorter styles. Or perhaps you want to leave different body parts uncovered. You can do so many things just by draping a saree in different ways. And today, the way you drape your saree also makes a fashion statement. So, feel free to experiment with your saree.
7. Give It a Modern Twist
Sarees are incredible, traditional items of clothing. However, you might want to pay respect to tradition while being up to date with the latest fashion trends. If you want to do something more modern, there are some fantastic ways to style your saree. For example, you could wear a jacket over your saree. It could be long-sleeved, or it could be a short waistcoat/vest jacket. A smaller jacket still allows your saree to shine but adds extra embellishment too. If you look at sarees on the catwalk, you can even find sarees worn with suspenders. Use them on some flowing pants or your skirt for a unique touch to your outfit. You could also add a belt to your saree, giving it an easy and simple twist.
8. Choosing a Blouse Style
A blouse under your saree can add extra style to your outfit. There are lots of beautiful styles to select that can look good for different women. You can consider different shapes, fabrics, and colors to find a blouse that suits you. You can choose to be more traditional or contemporary in your look. If you don’t want to go with the usual blouse shape, you might select a corset blouse for extra length. A tube blouse keeps your midriff exposed under your saree. A halterneck emphasizes your neck and collarbones. Another option if you want straps is to have thinner spaghetti straps on your shoulders. You could also have a backless blouse, long sleeves or a collar on the neck.
9. Choose an Eye-catching Hairstyle
Whenever you wear a saree, your look isn’t just about the saree itself. Your hairstyle also has to match with your saree. Your choice of hairstyle may depend on where you are going. Some women choose to wear a saree at work or to corporate events. On the other hand, you could be going to a wedding or formal occasion. Whether you choose a traditional or contemporary saree style, you need a hairstyle to go with it. You can go for a classic style, such as a bun or chignon if you want to keep things simple. There are lots of embellishments you can choose, from flowers to sparkling hair clips. A plait or braid is also an excellent choice. You can choose to do it in several different styles for a more traditional or modern look. For example, you could do a French braid or fishtail plait if you want to do something different.
Of course, some women choose to leave their hair down when they wear a saree. You can still choose from plenty of styles, even when you don’t put your hair up. You could have loose curls swept to the side or waves falling down your back and shoulders. There’s also the option of having your hair half up and half down. You can do what you want with each section of hair.
10. Selecting Hair Accessories
You might choose to leave your hair plain, without any embellishments. However, a pretty hair accessory can be the perfect way to finish off your hairstyle. If you want to add a traditional element to your hair, flowers are a great choice. You could use fresh ones, but flower hair clips will last longer. You can wear them again and again. An oversized flower is an eye-catching option for an up-do. You might also like a sparkling clip or slide, especially if you decide to choose an up-do. If you plait your hair, you could put an eye–catching accessory on the end or near the top of your braid.
11. Picking the Right Footwear
You will want some shoes to go with your saree, although occasionally you might be barefoot (say, in your wedding). One of the choices you need to make is whether to wear heels or flat shoes. You need to take this into account when styling your saree because it will affect the drape. If you put on your saree while barefoot and then slip into heels, the saree will be further off the ground. Heels aren’t for everyone so don’t feel that you have to wear them. A pair of flat shoes can be just as eye-catching. You could choose something traditional such as a pair of Kolhapuri heels. These are an excellent choice if you don’t want your heels too high. They usually aren’t higher than two or three inches.
For a more contemporary choice, there are many options, including stilettos and other heels. For maximum impact to pair with your saree, choose something with plenty of sparkles. Get a pair of glittery stilettos and perhaps even go for a peep-toe shoe too. You can paint your nails for extra color. Of course, you might want to show off your feet as much as possible. Perhaps you have henna designs that you want to remain exposed. Some strappy sandals could be your best option. If you want a traditional style with lots of bling, try mojris with beads or embroidery.
12. Don’t Forget Your Jewelry
Your saree outfit wouldn’t be complete without some jewelry. However, what you choose and how much you wear depends on what you are getting dressed for. If you are wearing a saree to work, you won’t want to wear anything too flashy. If you are attending a wedding, you can choose some more decorative pieces. A necklace is a great piece to start with, and you can choose from many different styles. You might want a large statement necklace or perhaps something a bit more subtle. When you choose earrings, you might decide on a matching set that goes with your necklace. Long earrings will draw attention to your neck and look fantastic when you have your hair up or down.
If you choose to wear a bindi, it could be small or large. A smaller bindi is better if you don’t want it to overwhelm your face. However, you might choose a larger and more eye-catching one if you’re wearing a bright saree. You don’t want the saree to pull all the attention away from your face. A bindi helps to highlight your face again and make sure it doesn’t get lost. Bracelets are excellent options for jewelry too. You could go for a stream of jangling bangles or perhaps a hand decoration that goes over your wrist and finger.
13. Getting Your Saree Makeup Right
You also have a diverse range of choices when it comes to choosing makeup to go with your saree. Again, it will depend on the type of look you are aiming for. Applying kohl/kajal or eyeliner is a traditional choice for saree makeup. If you want to make it more colorful, you could choose to use colored eyeliner instead of black or brown. You could also give more emphasis to your eyes with a smoky look by applying more eyeliner and eyeshadow. Blush can add a rosy look to your cheeks for a traditional effect too. However, if you want to keep things simple, nude makeup can give you a more natural look.
There are many ways to style your saree, both with the saree itself and your accessories. Think about the occasion when you plan your outfit. Something like a wedding calls for more bling while a workplace party calls for class and elegance. It also depends on how you pull off the saree but how you drape it is critical. You don’t need to be a fashion designer today to come up with innovative ways to drape a saree. So, be creative and experiment with your saree. The way you drape your saree will speak a lot about you.