Here's an illustrated step-by-step guide that teaches you how to wear a Sari - India's national dress for females - one of the most elegant attires a woman can adorn...
Two essential parts of attire, that go along with the Sari, need to be chosen carefully to compliment the Sari. 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.
Start wearing the sari by tucking its plain/upper end into the petticoat, at a position which is a little bit to the right of the navel. Make sure that the lower end of the sari should be touching the floor, and that the whole length of the sari comes on the left-hand side. Now wrap the sari around yourself once, with the sari now coming back in the front, on your right side.
Make about 5 to 7 pleats of equal width of 5 inches, starting at the tucked-in end. Gather the pleats together, neatly, ensuring that the lower edge of the pleats are even and just off the ground and that the pleats fall straight and evenly. A safety pin may be used to stop the pleats from scattering.
Neatly tuck the pleats into the petticoat, at the waist, slightly to the left of the navel, in such a manner that they open to your left.
Drape the remaining fabric around yourself once more left to right, and bring it round your hips to the front, holding the top edge of the sari.
Slightly raise the remaining portion of the Sari on your back, bringing it up under the right arm and over the left shoulder so that the end of the Sari falls to about the level of your knees.
The end portion thus draped, from the left shoulder onwards, is called the Pallav or the Pallu, and can be prevented from slipping off teh shoulder, by fastening it at the shoulder to the blouse with a small safety pin.
Different regions of India have their own distinct forms of draping a Sari. Some of these are outlined below:
Gujarati way: This version of draping, commonly 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 sari 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.