SIX YARDS of sheer grace and elegance is what the sari is all about. A Sari is one of the most elegant attires a woman can adorn. It is essentially an un-stitched long piece of fabric which needs to be draped in a particular way to achieve the fully dressed effect. Draping a sari is an art. The saree is worn in in different ways in different states of India. However, the most common method is wrapping the cloth around the waist, making pleats in the front and draping the final length around the shoulder. The remaining fabric that is draped over her blouse and shoulder, falling behind her is called the pallu.
Before you Start
Two essential parts of attire, that go along with the Saree, need to be chosen carefully to compliment the Saree. These are:
A petticoat which is a waist-to-floor garment, tied tightly at the waist by a drawstring. The petticoat color should match the base sari color as closely as possible. No part of the petticoat, of course, is visible outside the Saree, after having worn it.
A blousewhich needs to be tight-fitting and whose color needs to be chosen keeping the look of the saree in mind, can be short sleeved or sleeveless, with a variety of necklines. The blouse ends just below the bust.
Wearing a Sari the Traditional Way
* Step 1. Around your body. Starting at the navel, tuck the plain end of the saree into the petticoat and continue tucking till you take a complete turn from right to left. Adjust the lower end of the saree to the height required. Ideally wear your footwear so that you drape the saree to the right length.
* Step 2. Measuring the pallu. Hold the top edge of the saree where the pallu is and bring it around your hips to the front and over your left shoulder, thus measuring the length of the pallav or pallu. The pallav should hang down the back to the knee. You may pin your pallu to your sari blouse provisionally.
* Step 3. Making pleats. Create pleats with the saree. Make about 7 to 10 pleats and hold them up together so that they fall straight and even. Tuck the pleats into the waist petticoat slightly to the left of the navel, taking care to see that the pleats are turned towards the left.
* Step 4. The pallu. The remaining portion of the saree must be turned once around the body and then draped over the left shoulder. Arrange the pleats on this part of the saree and then pin them up on the left shoulder to prevent the pallu from falling off.
This is the most common method to wear a saree. With matching bindi and jewellery you feel like a complete Indian woman.
Different Ways of Wearing a Sari
Different regions of India have their own distinct forms of draping a Saree. Some of these are outlined below:
Gujarati way: This version of draping, ccommonly known as the seedha pallu way, is also found in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. Instead of opening to the left, the pleats are tucked so that they open to the right. Then, the pallu is taken to the back and brought over the right shoulder. It is then spread across the chest, and the left edge is tucked in the petticoat at the back.
Maharashtra method: Instead of the usual five-and-a-half meters, the sari in this version measures eight meters. One portion of the sari is drawn up between the legs and tucked in behind at the waist, while another portion is draped as a pallu over the bosom. Thus it forms a kind of divided sari, allowing greater freedom of movement.
Tamilian version: Like the Maharashtra version, the sare in this version, too, measures eight meters. After wrapping around the waist, the pleats are positioned along the left leg. The rest of the sari is taken over the left shoulder, wrapped once again round the waist and tucked on the left side.
Bengali style: The saree is worn pleatless; it is wrapped around the waist, brought back to the right side and the pallu is thrown over the left shoulder. The pallu is then brought up under the right arm and once again cast over the left shoulder.