Ways to Wear Your Saree

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Ways to Wear Your Saree

The national dress for the women of India, the saree is a piece of fabric that is draped around the shoulders in an elegant manner. Deeply intertwined with the culture and history of the country, the saree comes in a wide array of lengths, colours and designs. Though it is most common in India, the garment can also be found in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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History of the Saree

The word “saree” derives from the Sanskrit word “sati” which means strip of cloth. As befits such an important cloth, the history of the saree is long and fascinating, albeit a bit obscure. What historians know for sure is that Hindus believed stitched cloths to be impure and that Indian women as far back as 5000 years ago loved to drape unstitched pieces of cloth around their body. Archaeologically speaking, the saree can be traced to the Indus Civilization (2800-1800 BC)! In fact, the first depiction of a person wearing a sari is of an Indus Valley Priest. Many sculptures and even cave paintings from the 1st to the 6th century AD also depict women wearing what appears to be sarees. There are various ways to wear a saree off course, the saree is not limited to be worn in only one way. The most common and traditional way involves draping the saree around the waist with the pleats tucked in the middle. What is left of the cloth is usually slung over the left shoulder and pinned in a neat fashion. This part of the garment is known as the pattu and can also be left open.

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 Bengali way of wearing the saree

The Bengali way of wearing the saree, on the other hand, is worn draped around the waist and drawn to the right side with the pattu slung over the left shoulder. It is then brought up under the right arm before it is once again cast over the left shoulder. Unlike the traditional way, the Bengali way of wearing it is worn without pleats.

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Other Ways to Wear a Saree

The Gujarati way of wearing the saree is also known as the seedhapallu way. It differs from the traditional way by having the pleats face the right side instead of the left. In this version, the pattu is brought to the back before it is cast over the right shoulder. It is then spread across the chest with the left edge neatly tucked at the back. Another popular variation of the traditional way to wear the saree comes in the form of the Tamilian version. This involves draping the garment around the waist with the pleats positioned along the left side of the leg. What remains of the saree is then slung over the left shoulder before being draped around the waist once more and being tucked on the left side.

The saree continues to play an important part in the culture of India. Its timeless beauty and grace constantly dazzle people from all over the world, hence its recent rise in popularity in Western culture. And with dozens of different ways to wear the cloth, wearing the saree has never felt more elegant and empowering.


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