A saree, an unstitched 15-30 foot drape, is one of the most traditional Indian garments that women wear. At almost every Indian wedding, regardless of which event you attend, you will see at least one guest wearing this embroidered attire. Sarees not only vary by material and color, but also by detail and embellishment. What do they all have in common? It can be a pain to put on, but don't worry! We’ve broken down the process for you step by step.
Essentials You Will Need:
- Choli (Blouse)
- Heels/Sandals that you will be wearing
- Safety Pins
Tips to Remember Before You Get Started
- Always wear your choli, petticoat, and desired footwear (typically heels or sandals) before you begin draping the saree
- Keep safety pins handy
- Have your accessories ready to go
Step 1: A saree consists of three pieces: the choli (blouse), petticoat, and saree itself. The good thing about cholis and petticoats is that you can mix and match them with multiple sarees (dependent on the color)! You will begin by putting on your choli and tying the petticoat right above your waist. Make sure the petticoat is tight enough so that it does not slip when draping the saree.
Step 2: Grab the plain end of the saree and tie a knot in the top corner. Make sure the embroidery on the saree is facing the front. Tuck the knot into the left side of the petticoat.
Step 3: Make a single turn from right to left wrapping your saree around you, until you come back to your starting point. The lower end of the saree should be slightly above the floor.
Step 4: The extra fabric hanging from the tucked area will be used to make the pleats. Stretch the fabric with your thumb and middle fingers and pleat the fabric by winding your thumb and index finger. Depending on the fabric material, you will make around 5-7 pleats. Tuck the pleats into the petticoat and adjust the saree evenly. Use a safety pin at the left side of your waist to secure the fabric together.
Step 5: The difficult part is done! Now you’re left with styling the pallu, which is the loose embroidered end of the saree. Place the pallu over your shoulder (it doesn’t matter which shoulder you choose). Let the end of the saree fall below your knees. If you want the pallu to fall on your arm, simply unfold one or two pleats. If you would like to pleat the pallu, you will make 5-7 pleats and secure it to your blouse with a safety pin. Whether you let the pallu fall on your arm or pleat the pallu, both styles will look graceful and elegant.
Learning how to drape a saree may take a few tries, but now that you’ve read the steps, you’ll become a pro in no time! Tia Bhuva, a South Asian female entrepreneur, is the founder of tiabhuva.com, an online clothing store that sells comfortable saree silhouettes, blouses, and sarees. Check out her video on how to drape a saree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6rX0cWf-_M. To add a stylish touch to your saree, you can accessorize your outfit with matching jewelry, a brooch, and/or even some colorful bangles.
Although LUKH does not offer sarees, you can book a virtual styling consultation with the team that will assist you with any of your fashion needs!
Photos by: Manjari Subramaniam
About the Author
Kruti Malkan is an MBA candidate at the Kellogg School of Management. Her background lies in supply chain and operations, but she has a passion for marketing. In her free time, she loves to Bollywood dance, practice yoga, and explore new fashion trends!