The Stunning, Sensual Sari

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!

In a sari recently worn to a luncheon; wearing the sari scarf-style.

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!)

My mother in her traditionally-wrapped sari.

How to wrap a sari:

  1. Start with wearing a blouse, a petticoat, and the shoes you plan to wear.
  2. Tuck the sari all the way around the petticoat. Make sure the length is right—only the tips of your toes should be visible.
  3. 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.
  4. Create pleats with the remaining fabric in the middle. This is the most difficult part for me!
  5. Fold the pleats into the petticoat, making sure it’s tucked in the middle rather than to either side.
  6. Make the final adjustments. You may want to use safety pins to make sure that parts of you don’t come undone!
If this makes absolutely no sense, I found an illustrated series of pictures online that might be helpful.

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.

Tiziana looking fabulous in an ornate silk sari.
A more traditional, stiff cotton 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.

You can follow Leia’s Delights on Bloglovin’ or catch her on Twitter @leia12.

41 comments

  1. I have always been fascinated by saris. I think they are so gorgeous. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you V and Leia. Also, Leia, I think your blog is beautiful.

  2. Oh what a great post! Ive been to an Indian wedding a few years back and I had wanted to wear one so bad but I had no idea where to get one, how to wear it, what colors to choose or if it would be offensive because I am not of Indian heritage. Boy this post would ave helped a lot if i had had it then! Oh well now i have the tips for next time!!
    Thanks!
    xo M

  3. Phew, I’ve finally got to the comments page. This is my third attempt today. Each time the page hung on me, I don’t why!!
    Anywhoo, I wanted to say Leia looks gorgeous in the sari. It can be tricky to wear but she looks so comfortable. Great post , V.

  4. Thank you ladies! So glad you liked this post. And of course, I always appreciate the time you take to leave your feedback here.

  5. Oh my, this is such an amazing post!!! I love leia’s style and her mum is gorgeous!!!!

    Lot’s girlies/women in the UK, wear their Sari’s too, i always admire the amazing bold colours, never mind the delicious fragrances of the spice shops in East London!

    x.o.x.o

    1. Aren’t they stunning? I totally agree. I am so behind on everything this week…my Brit fix, etc. Will be over soon, doll!

  6. This is a great post. I love saris. I think they are so beautiful. I really enjoyed this post then. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog’s Monday post. I agree with you about real women. It’s a shame there aren’t many of them in Hollywood these days. I just posted part 2 today.

    1. So glad you discovered Leia’s blog, Lynzy. It’s so cool to learn about other cultures from real people, isn’t it?

  7. when I went to India, I knew I had to get myself a sari. I was lucky to travel with an Indian friend(despite him being a guy) and he took me to a tailor. I took my time in selecting the colours and material I want for my sari and then they custom-made my sari (I got 2 different kinds of top to wear with my sari, luckily for me my friend called up his female friends to help me choose). I got a basic black sari with a gold and a black top. still waiting for the right occassion to wear them though.

    PS: oh, my sari was already fitted like a skirt, and there were a long drape of material that you just wrap around your body to complete the look. and honestly, people can’t tell that it’s a ready-made sari skirt, it looks like i draped the whole thing myself 🙂

  8. I have long been curious about the questions you asked Leia to answer. While I’ve always been captivated by the colors, beauty and femininity of saris, they were a complete mystery to me. Thanks to Leia for shedding some light and these wondrous and versatile pieces!!

  9. I love your blog because it is always so informative! I love saris, i think they look glamorous and chic and prove that you dont need to flash any bits to look elegant.

    Your mother looks amazing! Wow you guys have the fashionista gene 😉

    x

  10. Luxurious, Brooke, Valerie, Lady, Kristin, SO, thank you all for your comments. I am so glad you all found this post to be interesting and that it answered questions so many of us have.

    Will be over to your blogs for a visit very soon, rest assured.

  11. such a great post! I love saris, always have, and have wanted to wear one but never dared. Instead I buy sarifabric and sew stuff from it 🙂 I have a rasberry pink fabric with gold spots that is one of my fave scarves 🙂 love your blog sweetheart! xx Anika <3

  12. My husband’s sister is married to a man from Pakistan, and I like to have sari discussions with my niece and my sister-in-law. Personally, I would love to wear a sari. My sister-in-law hates it but her MIL gives her sari after sari to guilt her into wearing them. My niece feels weird in them too. I really think it’s too bad. They’re gorgeous!

    1. Heather…I agree…it IS too bad!

      I have an idea. Tell your SIL to pack up her unwanted saris and send them to me. I would totally rock one in a minute!

  13. I loved your post i love Leia’s blog. she’s really so nice. I’m glad you featured her. And as far Sari’s go I’ve been wanting one for years and years and years. I hope I get one, one day. You could most definitely rock a Sari. =)

  14. Hi, I liked Leia’s post about the sari a lot. Since I am South Asian and live in India, I thought I’d add a couple of things to her post.

    A traditional sari is usually 6 yards long. In South India, for many weddings a nine-yard long sari is worn and it is wrapped differently, with some of it going between the legs to form long flowing pants.

    There are dozens of traditional ways of wearing a sari, including as a sarong, as pants, with a piece covering the head, with a piece wrapped across the bust, etc.

    I wear a sari to work often and once you get the hang of draping one, it’s easy enough…but you have to walk gracefully :-).

    And I love the traditional Indian saris….each type is from a particular region and the names resonate with history and pride in our handicraft traditions…..the pure silk and gold Benarasi, the heavy and ornate silk Kanjeevarams, the feather light Chanderis, the crisp Kotas, the glowing rich Venkatagiris, the elegant cream Kerala saris, the ethnic block printed cottons, the tie and dye saris, the Orissa ikats……

    1. Natasha, thank you so very much for sharing more about the sari here. Fantastic info! I am so intrigued and am delighted to have learned more.

  15. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today..

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