How to wear a sari by Nidhi Sunil

Call me biased but what with the Indian economy in overdrive and an undercurrent of Indian influences in fashion (Hermes’ spring-summer collection is a case in point, plus an Hermes store opening in Delhi is imminent), I predict the sari to be next on the fashion-revival-ometer. When I was shooting in Goa last Thursday, the subject of saris came up so I asked my model Nidhi from Elite Models India to give me a quick verbal tutorial on how to wear one. Here’s her step-by-step how-to:

1. First you start with the shoes. This is so you know how long to wear your sari. I like to wear mine with high heels.

2. When you buy your sari it comes with some extra fabric to make the blouse. You give this to your tailor so he can make the blouse to your specifications.

3. Put on your blouse and your petticoat. The petticoat is a long underskirt with a drawstring. It’s important to tie the drawstring really tight as it has to take the weight of the entire sari.

4. The sari is about six yards long and at one end is the ‘pallu’ which is the ornate section that goes over the shoulder. Starting with the other end, tuck the top edge securely into the petticoat adjusting the length to cover your shoes. I start on the left.

5. You can ask your tailor to stitch a ‘fall’ at the bottom edge of the sari. This is about six inches of fabric that reinforces the sari so it doesn’t tear if you step on it, and it also adds weight to the sari so it drapes nicely.

6. Take the sari around the body once anti clockwise and tuck in, then take it around a second time. Whether it sits above or below the navel depends on how tall you are as the width of the sari remains the same. The sari should completely cover the petticoat.

7. The draped front of the sari is achieved by pleating it. You can pleat as much or as little as you like. Make six or seven pleats of about a palm’s width and tuck them firmly into the top of your petticoat. Use a sari pin or a nappy pin from inside to secure the pleats.

8. Bring the remaining fabric diagonally across to your left shoulder and let it hang behind.

9. To secure it on your shoulder you can use a safety pin or even a brooch.

10. How do you go to the loo in a sari? Lift it up!

Hermes catwalk pics from

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7 Responses to How to wear a sari by Nidhi Sunil

  1. Libertygirl says:

    God I adore saris. I have a drawer full back in London. When I worked in Malaysia & in Singapore I was invited to so many weddings that I invested in my own instead of always borrowing. So elegant. And I can tie one! LLG xx

  2. susie_bubble says:

    Fab tutorial… it’s not something that I would dare to wear for fear of being corrected by people as to the PROPER way of wearing one…

  3. stopme... says:

    Thanks for the instructions. It took my cousin and I an hour and a half to put hers on with the both of us trying to figure it out.

  4. Indian Rose says:

    Ready-made sari’s are actually becoming more popular as well. The sari, pettiecoat and its pleats are all stitched into place, so its kind of like a skirt with the pallu hanging off.

    Much more easier to wear!

  5. Blue Floppy Hat says:

    Great tutorial! Am bookmarking it, now..saris are lovely, but a little hard to move around in sometimes (I’m not that good with long/heavy skirts). My roommate is really good at wearing hers, though- she gets the entire lot on within five minutes, pleats and all.
    And as for PROPER ways of wearing them, there are a million different ways to drape it, from different parts of the country. No need to stick to standard form, really..

  6. Top bird says:

    I was just admiring all the jewel tones in a sari shop window today on Bethnal Green Road. Lovely tutorial and cute pic of the model. xx

  7. Anonymous says:

    hey m Nidhi too. well its really nice to get a tutorial to drape a saree. i relly love sarees but really dopnot know how to drape it N carry it but this blog will help..thankyou:)

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