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How to drape a saree gracefully

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Draping a sareeThe beauty of the saree is enhanced by the way it is draped. There are professional drapers now who can make a bride wear three sarees and still look so slim and beautiful. But some of the traditional styles still look good.

The saree may be an ancient Indian clothing style, but new draping styles ensure that it always seems new. The rediscovery of the saree by the fashion world has ensured many new styles of draping. Some fashion schools claim to have 200 different styles of draping the saree. Mumbai-based designer Shaina NC is one of those who have brought saree draping into focus as a skill.

Under her guidance you can handle the pallu in different ways - over the left shoulder, over the right, twisted on the hand, left long on the left shoulder and pinned, twisted around the neck like a scarf, designed to show off the embellished pallu. You can have pleats at the sides and even at the back.

The most innovative is the double sari (two contrast saris - one worn like a regular sari but with the pallu on the left side in front and the other pleated at the side with the pallu in front and another style where it is draped on one side in the conventional way and the other pleated on the left and the pallu pleated on the right shoulder) which is the choice of many brides today.

If you do not want to splurge on a ghaghra choli which you are not likely to wear again, try the ghaghra sari with pleats spaced out towards the end of one hip and the pallu worn like a dupatta.

But if you do not like experimentation, here are five styles from India that will hold you in good stead.

The Nivi Style: The most conventional draping style. It uses 5.5 meter of cloth draped to create a skirt with pleats in the front, while the rest is drawn from the right hip across the breasts and left shoulder to hang down the back. This way you have skirt pleats in the front and the free end draped around the back and over the front.

The Seedha Palla: The pleats for this are opposite compared to that of the Nivi drape. They fall on the right side instead of the left, and then the palla is taken over the back and brought from the right shoulder to cover the breast. This style is ideally suited for heavy pallued sarees. A tip is to leave the pallu loose on the hips so you can easily cover your head for demureness. However when you do not cover the head, the style shows off a well-shaped bottom and a waistline to perfection.

The Maharashtrian style: This is similar to the Nivi drape except that the free end of the front pleats is drawn between the legs and tucked into the back. This style has the distinction of being the oldest sari style depicted on a Shurga terracotta piece.

The Bengali saree: Thanks to Sanjay Leela Bhansali the saree has become the buzzword in elegance. This saree has one large pleat and shows off a rich border to perfection. After one wrap around the body, you need to tuck the saree anticlockwise on the front. Then the edge is folded and taken on the shoulder, which gives a flowing effect, highlighted by a bunch of keys on the end.

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