Different Styles of Wearing Indian Saris

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The Indian sari can be creatively draped in different styles.

The sari, a traditional Indian garment, is an unstitched, rectangular 6-yard cloth that is wrapped around the body. Available in diverse fabrics, the sari can be creatively draped in an array of styles, to achieve the desired effect: from graceful to stylish and sensuous. While there is a standard method of wearing the sari, women from various Indian states have their own unique style of draping the sari.

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  1. Traditional

    • The traditional method of wearing the sari is the standard and most popular style. The sari is wrapped over two inner garments, a short, well-fitting blouse that ends below the bust, and a waist-to-floor length petticoat, which is tied at the waist with a drawstring. One end of the sari is wrapped twice over around the waist, starting from the left hip and tucked into the band on the petticoat. It is then folded into six to eight pleats of 5-inch lengths, which are also tucked into the waistband. The final length of sari known as the “pallu” is draped over the left shoulder.


    • The Bengali sari is worn by women from the eastern states of India, notably West Bengal. The sari is draped from the right hip instead of the left, and is gathered in front with two large pleats. The pallu is wrapped twice around the top of the torso, and falls over the shoulder to the front. It is first thrown over the left shoulder, then brought up under the right arm and again pulled over the front of the left shoulder. Traditionally, a house key was tied at the end of the pallu.


    • The Gujarati sari is commonly worn in desert states of India such as Gujarat and Rajasthan, as well as in certain parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It differs from the traditional sari in the manner in which the pallu is draped over the right shoulder and not the left. The pallu is drawn from the back over the right shoulder, and spread neatly across the chest, while the left edge is tucked in the petticoat at the back.


    • Women living in the coastal areas of Maharashtra, on the west coast of India wear this sari. The Maharashtrian sari accentuates the derriere and is draped in a fashion similar to the Maharashtrian dhoti, a traditional loose-fitting trouser worn by men in this region. Worn without an inner waist petticoat, the Maharashtrian sari, is divided like a trouser at the legs, and provides greater freedom of movement. One portion of the sari is pulled up between the legs and tucked in behind the waist, while the decorative end or pallu is draped over the shoulder and bosom.

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  • Photo Credit Portrait of a woman in sari image by netzz from Fotolia.com

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