You know what I love most about the fashion blogging world? Meeting fascinating fashion lovers in faroff places. Somehow (I can’t quite recall), I discovered the exquisitely gorgeous (and equally brilliant) Leia, of Leia’s Delights, or she discovered me. Once I began reading her blog regularly, I was hooked. I have so enjoyed learning about the food and customs of her culture, and her recent post about the salwar kameez captivated me. I think there is nothing more gorgeous than an amazing silk sari—but being a Greek-American, I know nothing about them, and have long wondered: How on earth are they wrapped? What if I wanted to wear one—is it offensive for westerners to wear the traditional garb of another’s culture?
I asked Leia the same questions and she agreed to share her answers—and the secrets of sari-wrapping!—in a guest post here on G&G. Thank you so much, Leia!
The Sari Unwrapped
By Leia, of Leia’s Delights
The sari is worn in many South Asian countries. It is comprised of a very long piece of cloth that is draped around the body and it comes in a multitude of colors, fabrics, prints, and styles. I feel that the sari is an outfit that can flatter all figures; it can emphasize your assets and disguise your problem areas!
I find saris a bit tricky to wear and walk in, so I normally save them for special occasions. Following are saris that I wore a couple of years ago to some weddings. As you can see, I wrapped the sari around my neck like a scarf. This is not the traditional way of wrapping the sari, but it’s such a versatile garment that you can play with many different styles!
How do you wear one?
Ladies of different regions and cultures wear the sari in different ways. In the following video, my mother demonstrates the most common way of wearing the sari. (Excuse the poor video editing; I have never edited a video before!)
How to wrap a sari:
- Start with wearing a blouse, a petticoat, and the shoes you plan to wear.
- Tuck the sari all the way around the petticoat. Make sure the length is right—only the tips of your toes should be visible.
- Once it is tucked all the way around, put the other end of the sari over your shoulder and adjust it for length—it should be around hip length.
- Create pleats with the remaining fabric in the middle. This is the most difficult part for me!
- Fold the pleats into the petticoat, making sure it’s tucked in the middle rather than to either side.
- Make the final adjustments. You may want to use safety pins to make sure that parts of you don’t come undone!
Can I wear a sari even if I’m not South Asian?
You don’t have to be ethnically South Asian to look spectacular in a sari. This is our friend Tiziana—an Italian lady—looking beautiful in a blue sari.
A few tips on wearing the sari:
- If you are going to a special event, do not attempt to wrap the sari yourself, unless you are an expert. Most people end up with the sari 5 inches above the ground! Seek a South Asian friend or an Indian beauty parlor and ask someone there to wrap the sari for you. Even though I have worn saris multiple times, I always ask someone else to do it for me (you shouldn’t be ashamed of this; it is very difficult to wear!)
- Make sure you are wearing your shoes BEFORE you wear the sari. If you put on the sari and then put on your shoes, the hemline will be too high above the ground.
- Simple is best. Your sari does not have to be ornate, consist of eight different colors and five different patterns in order to look good! Choose colors that you know will look good on you, and try not to buy man-made fabrics. Silk, chiffon, and cotton are best.
I looked for a few online sari shops, but it’s much better to visit a store and buy one in person. Besides, sari shopping is an incredible experience!
Hope this post allowed you to learn a bit more about this gorgeous garment.