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Indian Fashion Blog / Stylish Thoughts / Unusual Saree Draping Styles

Unusual Saree Draping Styles
16 th Nov 2015

Being the owner of a pretty saree is equivalent to owning multiple attires. The saying, ‘You can never go wrong with a saree’ makes it clear that a saree is suitable for any event you can think of.

It all depends on how you drape it.

Here are some trendy saree draping styles that can transform the elongated piece of fabric into uber elegance. Most of the unique saree draping styles start with the basic style.

The usual / Nivi style saree

The most common of the saree draping styles is the Nivi style that involves wrapping the fabric around the waist with pleats in the front and the other end of the saree is pulled across the chest over the shoulder as the pallu (the end fabric which is usually decorated). The pallu cascades behind beautifully, and it can be neatly folded or left with a loose fall.

Usual saree drape

The picture below demonstrates the usual saree draping style.

How to wear a saree

The usual way of wearing a saree is the base for all other saree draping styles. Tweak a few steps and voila, you have some interesting saree draping styles

Butterfly style saree

If you have a flat midriff to flaunt, this style can be the dearest of all the saree draping styles for you. In this style the pallu that rests on the shoulder is folded with very narrow pleats, showing off the midriff. It looks very sensual and hence it is a favourite with the Bollywood divas, who flaunt their svelte bodies with this draping style.

Since the pallu has to be made very narrow, soft material sarees made of chiffon, net and georgette are used in this saree draping style.

Butterfly saree

Retro Bollywood style saree

This style was a feather in the cap for Indian saree draping styles and it was introduced by the actress Mumtaz in the song ‘Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har zaban par’ from the 1968 movie, Brahmachari. Mumtaz was not the lead actress in the movie but she became memorable through this unique fashion statement in the popular song. So this sari draping style is also called the Mumtaz style.

The saree is draped in layers one above the other starting from the knees, then covering the hips and finally tucked at the waist. The pallu is narrow like in the butterfly style and this style of draping a saree emphasises the body shape, so is more suitable for a well toned body.

Retro Bollywood saree

Bengali style saree

Among the saree draping styles, the Bengali style of draping saree has very unique front pleats and a different pallu. Instead of the neatly pinned narrow pleats tucked near the navel, the Bengali saree calls for wide pleats called box pleats spanning the front. The pallu is taken over the left shoulder and one corner of this long pallu is highlighted using decorative key holding jewellery. This bejewelled corner of the pallu is pulled under the right arm and rests over the right shoulder.

Bengali sarees are generally draped in light and stiff varieties of handloom cotton and silk-cotton.

Bengali saree

Gujarati style saree

In the Gujarati style the pallu rests in the front instead of behind. It can be called the opposite of the usual style of wearing the saree. The pallu is pulled in front over the right shoulder and it can be left with a fall in the front or it can be tucked to one side covering the bust and the midriff.

It is one of the most popular saree draping styles, which is traditional for the women of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Gujarati saree style

Rajrani style saree

The Gujarati style can be used as a base for various saree draping styles and one such variation is the Rajrani style. The corner of pallu that is tucked behind in the Gujarati style is pinned on the other shoulder to create a V-shaped fall over the bust and the midriff in the Rajrani style.

Rajrani means the royal Queen and this style of draping saree exudes regal elegance.

Rajrani style saree

Mermaid style saree

In the mermaid draping style just like the Gujarati style the pallu is taken to the front from behind. The lower portion of the saree is tucked near the waist without any pleats and the front pallu is wrapped around the hip to give the mermaid silhouette below. 

This look accentuates the hips and is suitable for a curvaceous body.

Mermaid style saree

Lehenga style saree

The lehenga style saree draping recreates the lehenga look. The pleats are spread out across the waist to make the bottom look like a pleated lehenga. The pallu can be worn in the usual style or Gujarati style to get a perfect lehenga look with a saree.

So if you want to do something different with a beautiful saree you own, covert it into a lehenga!

Lehenga style saree

Maharastrian style saree

It forms an integral part of the traditional saree draping styles in India. To drape a saree the Maharashtrian way a special saree which is made out of nine yards of fabric is needed. This saree is longer than the usual six yard saree. In this style the pleats are pulled between the legs and tucked behind to create a dhoti look at the bottom with the usual pallu on the top.

Maharastrian style saree

Coorg style saree

This is an exclusive way of draping the saree, of which not many are aware, as it comes from a small picturesque district in Karnataka. In an episode of Band Baaja Bride, even the fashion guru Sabyasachi admitted that this style of draping saree is baffling. It involves draping the saree across the bust and the pallu comes from behind, over the right shoulder and is pinned over the bust covering fabric in the front. Also surprisingly, the front pleats at the bottom are displayed behind, in this saree.

Coorgi style saree

Some different saree draping styles on the ramp:

Sarees from fashion shows

One saree can be draped in so many unusual saree draping styles that the saree's identity can be entirely transformed. It can be draped in a bold or modest way and in a traditional or contemporary. The saree draping styles amplify the possibilities of a saree. A saree is definitely multiple attires wrapped into one and this garment with immense potential can create an interesting look every time you wear it. I hope you check out the collection of sarees we have on offer as when it comes to Indian fashion you cannot, not have a saree in the wardrobe.

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