weddings of india

A brief guide to stylishly drape your sari

The quintessential sari is a timeless classic that always makes a great impression. Whether you are looking to re-invent your sartorial style or go traditional at a wedding, this fail-safe ensemble is a phenomenal outfit. The sari is an evergreen wardrobe essential that has seen resurgence in mainstream fashion, with many women wearing the sari, in individually unique ways. By getting creative with the draping styles you can stylishly incorporate the sari into a wedding wardrobe. Take a leaf out of the fashion handbook of draping styles and opt for an unconventional drape to make heads turn. Read on to discover the regional and fashionable draping styles for a sari.

The Cinched Waist Drape

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A wedding date is set usually six month to a year in advance. In that time the bride takes care of her health and fitness, so she looks her best on the wedding day. The drape of a sari can be used cleverly to reveal the results of that disciplined lifestyle. Cinching the waist of a sari by adding a belt is a stylish way to show off a beautiful waistline. Shilpa Shetty has been known to favour this style when she wears a sari. Frieda Pinto has also been spotted wearing a cinched waist sari, with a belt. This style works best with saris that are light weight and have a good fall. Georgette, chiffon and georgette saris work best for this drape. You can play around with different belts such as metallic, leather, jewelled, embroidered, beaded, broad or sleek. The belt not only adds that fashion quotient, it also keeps the pleats in place.  Be it a cocktail party after the wedding or sangeet, this style of drape is bound to get attention at any wedding festivity.

Maharastra- Nauvari drape

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The Nauvari draping style is done with nine yards of sari (as opposed to the traditional 6 yards) and is a symbol of strength and bravery of Maharashtrian women. Also known as Kacha or Lugada, this style is draped from in-between the legs, similar to a dhoti, and tucked at the back. According to history, this unique style of draping was created for the womenfolk who fought as soldiers during the war. These female warriors required a functional way to drape a sari hence the Nauvari drape came into being. This utility-inspired style is worn by brides from Maharashtra and is also known as a dhoti style sari drape. This Nauvari drape was worn by Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone in the movie Bajirao Mastani for the picturization of the song Pinga. Both ladies looked regal and stylish, as they danced with ease in saris draped in this style.

The Mumtaz Drape

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Retro fashion has a charm of its own and that’s also true for the Mumtaz style sari drape. This retro style was made famous by yester year’s actor Mumtaz, who was known for her a sense of innocent liveliness, while exhibiting a distinct sensuality. The draping style involves draping the sari in a spiral manner, using only 2 pleats in the front. This style works best with a chiffon sari that has an embroidered blingy border and can be worn with ornaments like a golden bajuband (or arm band), choker, chandelier earring and bangles.  Priyanka Chopra styled herself in the Mumtaz sari drape in one of her song sequences from the movie ‘Teri Meri Kahani’ 

Gujarat- Seedha-Pallu

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The sari draping style from Gujarat is popularly worn all across the country and is known as the seedha-pallu sari. The final look resembles a lehenga-choli as the drape of the sari is not the classic style that goes across the chest and over the back of the shoulder. Instead, the end or pallu of the sari is draped from behind the shoulder and ends just below the waist, in the front. This style allows for the elaborate beauty of the pallu’s embellishment to be seen clearly. Nita Ambani has been seen often wearing this style of sari drape, including at her daughter Isha Ambani’s wedding reception.

The Low-Hanging or Butterfly Drape

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If you want your sari drape to have a sensual glamorous vibe, the Butterfly drape is for you. This draping style is a cult favourite at red carpet events with Bollywood actresses. This sexy sari style is modern take on sari draping and was spotted in a royal blue avatar on Deepika Padukone in the movie ‘Yeh Jawani hai Deewani’. This drape is achieved by pleating the top part of your pallu into a thin column on the shoulder and then creating a fan-like, butterfly shape at the lower part of the pallu. This allows for a woman’s curves to be truly highlighted making sure you stand out from the crowd at a mehndi night or reception.

Kerala-Three-Piece Style

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The Kasavu sari is perhaps one of the most understatedly beautiful in the world. It has a pure gold zari border which contrasts and complements the ivory sari perfectly. This sari is traditionally worn as three separate pieces, which are cleverly draped to create a seamless sari ensemble. The draping style is referred to as Mundum Nerayuthum, where the former refers to the lower garment worn as a skirt, the latter denoting the upper part that is draped across the bodice. Subtle, yet enchanting, this draping style is apt for a day wedding and can be paired with heavy ornamental gold jewellery.  Bollywood fashion icon, Sonam Kapoor, wore the traditional Kerala Kasavu sari in the movie Aisha, while dancing to the wedding song ‘gal mitthi mitthi bol’. She completed the look with large jhumkas and fresh white flowers in a side hair-bun.

The Lehenga Style Drape

You can also drape your sari like a lehenga. This look is created by arranging the pleats around your waist in a voluminous way to give it the appearance of a lehenga.  The sari is draped in way that after one round, many small pleats are made and tucked around the waist, thus creating a flared look.  This style is easy to wear and inclines towards the traditional draping style. This can be worn to a wedding as well as a mehndi or sangeet night, especially if you need to wear a lehenga, but don’t wish to invest in one.

Bengal- Athpourey Shari

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Unlike the classic sari drape, this has a box pleat at the front. The pallu comes from back to the front on both sides. The pallu pleats are placed on the left shoulder such that it makes a deep U in the front. This traditional style of drape was seen on Janhvi Kapoor’s bridal look from her debut film ‘Dhadak’. She caught everyone’s attention styled as a Bengali bride wearing a red Banarasi sari with traditional gold jhumkas, a stack of red bangles with kadas, an intricate gold choker and a maang tikka. A sari blouse with puffed sleeves completed this look, giving it a girly feminine feel.

The sari is draped in a signature way in different parts of the country, but it has some fashion inspired variations as well. With a little imagination and our help, you could drape your sari in a stylish way to surely turn heads!

The Scarf or Neck Drape

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Instead of draping the pallu of your sari the classic way, try draping it like a scarf around your neck. You could style the pallu in different ways as you would a scarf. This is a very modern and chic way to drape a sari and is ideal for a cold winter wedding as it allows the wearer to also incorporate a jacket in the ensemble, while keeping the neck warm. Alternately this can be styled for summer with a light chiffon sari, to show off beautifully toned arms and shoulders. This uber stylish drape is very popular on ramp models at fashion weeks around the country.

All you need is some inspiration, imagination and a whole bunch of safety-pins!  

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