Who can blame the versatility of the magnificent saree? The 5-9 yards long piece of clothing is the most resourceful raiment and fashion industry not just in India but all over the world love to experiment and evolve its style and its overall look. The one-size fit all attire has enhanced the zenith of fashion scenario. The global media has taken this ethnic wear to be of cosmic fashion and India itself experimenting and expanding its versatility to its native wearers through the ever-so-loved TV serials which of course is not missed by a single household. It is intriguing but not surprising to know that in India itself there are more than fifty styles of wearing a saree. Each state has its own style of draping.
But before I proceed, you ought to know the two extra essential parts required for this attire.
- A petticoat or inner skirt – which is worn inside of the saree in an unnoticeable way and measures from the waist to the floor. It is tight in the waist because its sole purpose is to hold and uphold the saree. The petticoat color should match the basic color of the saree so as to make it inconspicuous as possible.
- Blouse– like an inner wear it must be tight and fitting. But since it is sometimes the main highlight of the saree, it must match the color and style of the saree. The blouse can be with sleeves, short sleeves or sleeveless with a variety of necklines. The blouse ends just below the bust.
Summing it all up let us explore the five different styles of draping a saree:-
1. Wearing it Traditionally
The traditionally draping of the saree is also called the Nivi style of saree draping. It is the most popular style for it has been practiced since inception. The origin of it is associated in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The most popular way of wearing it is to take the cloth once round the waist from right to left making pleats of the cloth and to eventually tuck it at the waist. Wrap the pallu round the hips and throw it over the left shoulder.
Any kind of saree looks great when draped in this simple normal style. This style is adopted by women all over the country for casual wear as well as for special occasions. It should be practiced wearing ideally with the footwear to drape the saree to the right length.
2. Drapes According to Different Regions in India
As mentioned earlier, each state has its own draping style so with this fact we come to the distinct draping form.
- Gujarati Way– The beautiful incisive style is commonly known as the ‘seedha pallu’ way. The peculiarity of this drape is that instead of opening to the left, the pleats are tucked so that they open to the right. The pallu is taken to the back and brought over the right shoulder. It is then spread across the chest, and the left edge is tucked in the petticoat at the back. Any saree which has a flowy texture looks great when worn in Gujarati style. It will excel beauty if the pallu is rich and heavy. Women of the Northern Indian states including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand wear this style.
- Bengali Style – The diva like style looks more gorgeous than it ever has in sarees with intricate borders and bright hues. It is the most unique style because it does not have the typical pleats which are characteristic of saree. This style became very popular after Aishwarya Rai Bachan and Madhuri Dixit wore them in the movie ‘Devdas’. Bengali beauty Bipasha Basu wears her regional drape excelling perfection.
To drape this, start wrapping the saree from the left side of the waist. Wrap one full round and another half so that round ends near the right side of the waist. The long edge of the pallu is taken up till the left shoulders and it is allowed to fall until the back of the knees or even lower. It is then folded and brought up to the right shoulder such that a long ‘V’ is formed at the back. The remaining part of the parallel falls forward from the right shoulder.
The style of saree, as obvious as the name suggest is native to West Bengal and not worn in any other part of the country. The blouse with puff sleeves is usually suited to compliment this style and red/white bangles complete the look.
- Maharashtra Method– Instead of the usual five and a half meters, the sari in this version measures eight meters. One portion of the sari is drawn up between the legs and tucked in behind at the waist, while another portion is draped as a pallu over the bosom. Since it allows a greater freedom of movement this style will be noticed in the dancing stage almost every time. It gives a rustic upcountry charm.
- Tamilian Way– it is similar to the Maharashtrian version since it measures eight meters. After wrapping around the waist, the pleats are positioned along the left leg. The rest of the sari is taken over the left shoulder, wrapped once again round the waist and tucked on the left side.
There are more to the regional saree styles but the ones mentioned above are the prominent ones which work well for anyone. Besides these regional drapings are hundreds of other styles, three of which will find its mention here:-
3. Rajrani Style
As the title suggest, the Rajrani style of saree draping is a take on the royal style of wearing a saree. India is a no stranger to royalty and therefore it is likely to infuse the sense of royalty in Indian ethnic saree. This style states the grandeur that India is known for. It is most suitable for festive occasions and weddings where regal glamour is necessitated.
For this look you need to take one end of the saree and tuck it neatly in the petticoat/inskirt at the center and take the saree around to bring it to the front and tuck it again neatly. Hold the pallu from the back, bring it to the front and make the pleats. Drop it on your right shoulder, the loose end being a little above the knee. It should be pinned on the right shoulder. The middle section should be pleated around 6-7 pleats. This drape is unique because the pleats are tucked in the inskirt facing the right side.
To conclude this style take the pallu end and pin it up on the left shoulder to make a ‘’V’’. The saree must be heavily embellished and should be complimented by jewelry to give a regal look.
4. Lehenga Style
Lehenga style saree is one such product of evolution and versatility of the saree. A recent hit and the only difference between a lehenga style and a regular saree is that it requires no folding to form the front. It is a form of a readymade saree that arose out of the artistic need to make a statement in an easy to wear part attire. It is stitched as a long flared skirt with a zip at the side. The ensemble needs to be slipped in and drape pallu over the shoulder. The draping of it is relatively simple and hassle-free. This one surely makes it easy.
5. Mumtaz Style
‘Mumtaz’ style saree draping has gone viral ever since the song ‘’aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche…’’ became a hit. Mumtaz signature this style and it became a defining attire of elegance and beauty. This innovative style of the bygone era gives twice a slim rounded effect. It is a difficult style no doubt, but it’s all worth it. It goes resplendent with embroidered borders. The steps are simple though.
At first you should follow all the steps of the simple style draped saree and you just need one additional step and that is the pallu should be kept longer, so you can wrap it before throwing the drape over your shoulder. It is an easy drape which has the power to transform the entire attire.
The five unique styles mentioned are prioritized by Indian women and celebrities. However, this versatile and timeless garment can never be absolute. Next time you switch on the TV and watch your favorite serial or a new movie, you might see a whole new way of draping the saree. The secret to wearing it perfectly requires cautious basics like-fitting blouse, matching petticoat/innerskirt and judicious use of safety pins.
Author Bio – Manoj Gupta writes on behalf of www.craftsvilla.com –a marketplace to “Discover Unique Indian Products” including designer sarees, bags, accessories, handicrafts, jewellery and more. If you are planning to buy Sarees Online, make sure to check out their beautiful collection.