How to Wear a Designer Saree

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A saree is a traditional Indian garment worn by women for most occasions, including everyday wear, as well as special occasions. It may seem as though a woman simply drapes the saree over her shoulder and lets it hang, but she must actually drape it using a specific process. It is obvious to observers when a saree is poorly draped.

Base Attire

The clothes worn under the saree are typically the same style, but can be different colors and patterns to complement the color and pattern of the saree. On the bottom, the woman wears a slim skirt long enough to touch the ground. The waist is secured tightly with a drawstring so she can tuck the saree inside without it falling out. On top, the woman wears a tight-fitting blouse that ends just below her chest. The blouse can have long or short sleeves depending on the desired look.

Wrapping Instructions

Hold the saree so it just barely touches the ground. Begin at one end near your belly button and tuck the top end of the saree into the waistband of the skirt, all the way around from your right to your left. Starting where the saree leaves the waistband after making the complete circle, fold the saree into 5-inch pleats. Create seven to 10 pleats, holding them together at your waist. Tuck the top of the pleats into the skirt's waistband, keeping them straight and opening to the left. Wrap the loose end of the saree around your waist from your left to your right without tucking it in. When you bring it to the front, drape it over your left shoulder so the end of the saree hangs freely down your back. The saree should drape down your upper arm.


Different occasions and areas of India require that a woman drape the saree in variations of the basic method. For instance, a woman may need to pin the draped end of the saree up so that it doesn't flow down her arm and get in the way while she performs daily activities. Some variations don't use the pleats and instead wrap the saree around the waist and over the left shoulder a second time. Others require the woman to position the pleats so they open to the right and the saree end is tucked into the waistband in the back.

Use of Designer Sarees

Sarees carry a long tradition among Indian women and are worn on a daily basis in many households; however, designer sarees are often reserved for special events, such as weddings and religious events. A designer saree is made using higher quality fabrics and features more complex designs than the more traditional sarees worn every day. Many designer sarees are created to drape using the alternative wrapping methods because they are meant for special occasions.