These days, not only are sarees vast in variety, there are increasingly more ways to drape and style six yards of elegant fabric. With so many options, it's helps to know what they are.
Three things can make or break your saree look: Fit, Style and Draping.
The fit is most important for any garment. A bad fit just looks…bad. The good thing about saree's is that you only really need the blouse and petticoat to fit you perfectly. This is your foundation!
The style of the saree depends on the actual saree: Does it have a border? Is the print all over? Is the fabric heavy or lightweight? Is it a traditional or modern design? Is there a defined pallu?
Finally, a well draped saree is key to emphasizing the features you want to draw attention to and minimizes the ones you want to conceal. Plus, if its not draped, pinned and tucked properly, chances are you'll end up feeling and looking like you're swimming in yards of fabric. Not cute or comfortable.
This post breaks down 6 different saree draping styles in hopes of making it easier to choose a style that suits you best the next time you need to drape a saree.
1. Gujarati - this style originates from the Gujarat state and is (in my opinion) one of the comfiest styles of draping saris. If your pallu has a beautiful detailed design, this is the style you want to show it off. It's also flattering on pretty much all body types.
2. Nivi - the most popular and common style, seen around the world. This style is extremely versatile allowing you to highlight many elements of the saree such as the pallu, the border or even the blouse. Depending on the style and your preference, it can be worn with pallu open or pleated. For all of you ladies blessed with length like Shilpa Shetty, a thin butterfly pleat drape will look best!
3. Bengali - a royal and ethnic look of the Bengali culture. Traditionally, Bengali saris are white with a red border and woven motifs. Also, there are no lower pleats in this style. Madhuri and Ashwariya are well-known to wear these sarees in bollywood films, like Devadas!
4. Dhoti - I love this mix of modern and authentic feels. The dhoti, traditionally a men's garment, offers an edgy, fresh twist to a simple silk saree. This style of draping works best with lightweight sarees without heavy beading. Stick to a solid color with an contrast and intricately detailed blouse.
5. Mermaid - this saree styles offers one of the most sought after combinations an woman looks for in her outfits. Comfy + Stylish. Also know as fish style, this wrap is effortless, easy to wear and covers all the right areas while giving you an hour glass figure! (Finding a professional picture of this draping is nearly IMPOSSIBLE, pictures below are place holders until we get some shots from our clients)
6. Lehenga - say goodbye to front pleats! While you can buy this pre-stitched, its super simple to do yourself on any saree. All you have to do is make multiple pleats, tucking them all around your petticoat. I recommend this style on heavy sarees so that the weight is distributed evenly instead of just in the front. Also, this draping is extremely flattering on curvy women.
Of course, there are many variations and unique touches that can add to the styling of a saree such as a belted sari, a pant variation or a super thin pallu. On top of that, there are so many talented indo-western saree designers both in India and USA! Stay tuned for a blog post on these designer sarees soon!
Hemisha from House of Hems has experience draping saree's in all of the above styles and more. Thanks to her, I know all about saree fit, style and draping and now you do too! She offers saree styling services for all occasions. Please don't hesitate to leave us with any comments or questions you may have.