How to Wear a Sari

Written by Leanna Serras

A sari is a piece of women's clothing that originated in the country of India. The sari has been in existence since as far back as 2800 BC. Priests used to wear the sari for ceremonial purposes, but it soon became a popular article of women's clothing in India. It is also worn in the countries of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan as well.

A sari can come in a variety of colors, patterns, and can have a variety of accessories such as beads and mirrors. Most saris are hand made, and decorated by hand. They can be stamped with various patterns, embroidered, or beads can be sewn into them. Repeated embelishments or floral ornamentation are seen on many saris and threading in gold and silver can be used to give the sari an elegant touch. Saris can be accessorized with beautiful jewelry, perfumes, scents, and fragrances.

Block printing or stamping of the fabric used in saris is very common and many different designs can be found printed on them. Silk traditionally was most commonly used as a material, as well as cotton, but more modern saris are made of nylon or polyester so they do not need to be ironed as often.

Sari colors are typically bright and can range from blue and purple to rich deep reds and yellow. No matter what the color or style, this unique article of clothing is elegant and beautiful.

Saris can be worn several different ways. The most commonly worn way is to drape one side of the sari over the shoulder, and across the middle, exposing the navel. The Indian belief is that the Supreme Being was created from the female navel, so this is why the original saris made it a point to expose the midriff. Over time saris have become a very interchangeable and diverse piece of clothing and adornment. The Nivi style of wearing a sari is popular. In this style the sari has pleats at the bottom, then it is tucked in at the sides and into the back so that the sari almost appears as if it were a pair of pants. The Gond way of wearing a sari drapes it over the left shoulder and then the rest covers the entire body. The Dravidian style has a rose or other embellishment at the waist, while the Kodagu style features pleats crossed at the rear of the sari instead of at the front. Some other examples of how to wear a sari are the Bengali, Oriya, and Gujarati.

An Indian sari is a very traditional garment. Wedding saris are worn by the bride on her wedding day and are usually much more ornate than the saris worn day to day. They will often have floral embroidery all over them and be made of the finest silk. Many saris are mass-produced and made by machines, but the most valuable and most appreciated are those made by hand.