The saree originates from India and India is a vast country with a large number or regions, all with cultural variations and history. Therefore the saree which comes from different parts of the country also comes in many different styles.
Traditional Saree (Nivi Saree)
One of the most common types of saree style is known as the traditional saree or the nivi saree. This is where the saree is wrapped around the waist, pleated at the navel of the saree, wrapped around once again and then finished by draping the palu of the saree over the left shoulder. The saree can be gathered at the shoulder or allowed to drape across the arm. When a saree has a great deal of embroidery and for more formal occasions the saree is often allowed to drape across the arm for maximum show.
The pleats formed are often called kick pleats – literally as the pleats are kicked out when you walk and it makes walking easier. This popularity of this type of sari is commonly attributed to Bollywood, where this type of sari style is prevalent. Specific Bollywood sarees have also been developed which specifically mimic Bollywood sari designs and trends.
The length of the palu draped over the shoulder varies according to the wearer. Fashion trends also dictate the length of the drape – from shorter to longer almost floor length.
The palu of the sari after being draped over the left shoulder can also be spread across the back to be pulled over the right shoulder and bought forward. The sari then provides a wrap and this is often done in colder weather or climates.
Gujrati or North Indian Style Saree
Another popular style of saree is the Gujrati style saree. This style of saree differs from the traditional saree in the way the loose end of the saree is draped. Instead of the saree being draped over the left shoulder, the loose end of the saree is taken around the wearer and draped from the back to the front, over the right shoulder.
The palu of the saree can then be pleated neatly and pinned straight down or fanned across the midriff (from right to left).
Double Wrap Saree
A more modern style of saree where after wrapping the saree around and completing the pleats, the saree is once again wrapped quite tightly around the body but this time around the midriff. The remainder of the saree is then draped over the right shoulder as with the traditional style of saree. This style of saree often suits sarees made from thinner fabrics and embroidery can be showed off across the front/midriff area.
The Modern Sari
As the name would suggest this is a more contemporary style of sari that has evolved. Again the sari is wrapped around and pleated like a traditional sari. The remainder and palu of the sari is taken over the right shoulder, scrunched together and bought around the back of the neck and wrapped around the neck to leave a small palu over the shoulder. The style of sari is again more suited to more sheer/thinner fabrics and often worn as a part of high Indian fashion.
Maharashtrian Style Sari
This style of sari is more commonly worn in the Southern states of India and is not often worn in the Western world unless for specific regional or religious occasions. This is a very regional and traditional way of wearing a sari.
The centre of the sari (from a length way perspective) is placed at the centre back. The ends of the sari and then bought forward and tied securely. The two ends are then wrapped around each leg respectively. The remainder of the sari is then wrapped around the rest of the body. There are many variations of this complicated wrap and this sari style is more designed for practicality as opposed to elegance.
Another traditional style of sari from the Karnataka region of India is the Kodagu sari. In this style, the pleats are created at the back of the sari and the loose end of the sari is draped from back to front over the right shoulder. The end of the sari is pinned as required.
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