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Which banarasi drapes suit which occasion?


Start from the left, tuck in, turn around, pleat, pleat, pleat and then throw over the left shoulder. A classic and simple way to wear any banarasi saree. But what if you wanted to jazz it up some more? Try new styles? Well, you always can but it does help to know a few ways to drape and to know when to drape it.

Here are 6 ways to drape banarasi sarees according to the occasion.

  • Blending Indian and Western

    Pairing crop tops and wearing pants under the saree has become commonplace. Seen almost anywhere, from special events to normal day outings, you can pair your saree with a crop top. You can pair it with trousers and leave one side open to have a leg peek out. This creates quite a unique combination and piques the visual interest of your look. You can keep the colour similar to your saree or choose a contrasting colour. Brocade pants are usually a big hit with a banarasi saree.

  • Keeping Things Traditional #1—Bengali Style

    If you have Bengali friends and you are invited to a Bengali wedding, it might become the time to look up a video on how to drape a banarasi saree in the traditional Bengali style. Sarees with white and red borders are commonly worn during religious rituals but for weddings any colour is okay. Heavy silk sarees with woven motifs and border look are highlighted by this draping style. There are no lower drape folds in this saree.

    Instructions: The fundamental step of draping is by wrapping the saree from right to left to centre before taking the pleats, tucking it in the petticoat. Then secure the open edge by tucking it in the left waist, then turn it and carry it to the front right waist by tucking it. Repeat the phase of turning it again, carrying it over the left waist from the front tuck at the waist and again turn and tuck it on the right waist. Now pick up the wide section and make folds of the complete breadth in 5-6 inches where border appears on the front and first fold. Fasten it in place from slipping off. Gripping the folds vertically, throw the pleated drape on your left shoulder from the front to back hanging at the back. Now grab the initial pleat edge, increasing it over your back to the right side, carrying the corner in the front below the right armhole to the head of the right shoulder dropping it back on the right shoulder.

  • Keeping Things Traditional #2—Gujarati Style

    Also famous as the siddha palla saree drape, the Gujarati saree pallu comes in the front to emphasise the look by extending the pallu covering the whole front body. Invited to a Gujarati friend’s wedding? Why not try this drape?

    Instructions: The basic steps begin like the usual drape but it instead of throwing the pallu over the left shoulder, you bring it to the front. You take the wide section of the pallu and make pleats 5 to 6 inches apart. Gather them firmly at the top border at the first pleat. Vertically hold the pleats and bring them around the back waist to the left side to the right shoulder on the top. Put the pleats on the right shoulder in a way that fans out the pleats on the left side, on the right front body. Tuck the folds at the shoulder with a pin. Pick up the first edge of the border and pull it over your left side, tucking it under the left armhole and to the left back waist.

  • Keeping Things Traditional #3—Maharashtrian Style

    Maharashtra is popular for this particular saree draping style that you can see at festivals and cultural activities. Sarees for this style need to be 9 yards long, which is draped in a specific fashion for women to be active and comfortable. While you may not see much of this drape outside cultural festivities and weddings, you can still learn how to drape this style.

    Instructions: The first step is a basic drape until you reach the lower section of the pleats. Tuck the pleats in the waist on the left side of the centre. Then pick up the exposed edge of the sari and make the pleats of the pallu in 5 to 6 inches. Throw the pleated drape by tilting it from the left back to the right front, under the right armhole to the left shoulder on the front. Then take the lower drape and push it through between the legs and pull it from the middle of the back neatly. Keep the border in front, tuck it in the centre back of the waist. This creates a freer movement and a dhoti look. 

  • It’s Time To Party

    Take your saree and pair it with a kurti, a top, a pair of paints—whatever you want. For a party, choose a lighter weave and don’t forget the stilettos. You can choose the first style of keeping the pleats open so you can show off your trousers. You can put the sheer kurti over the saree for a truly interesting look as well. The choices are endless, you can play however you want with it!

  • The Deepika Padukone Style—for all the film addicts!


    The saree worn by Deepika Padukone had the curves out at the hip by the highest border and a close drape at the front bodice. To pull off this look, choose a lighter weave of banarasi sarees like a chiffon or georgette banarasi saree.

    Instructions: Follow the basic steps of draping until you reach the pleats of the lower drape and tuck them in. Next, you have to grab the saree’s edge which comes precisely after you tuck the pleats and twist the top edge of the border inside facing down so the border can fall on your lower body. Hold the wider portion of the saree and just haphazardly gather it and tack it over your back. Bring it from the right underarm to the front and throw it back on the left shoulder. Pull the portion you have turned down after the pleats. Hang it until your hip level, pulling and expanding it evenly on your left hip. Carry it to the back and keep it pleated until the right underarm. Arrange the folds to fall on your shoulder, which had been temporarily thrown back. Fix the border on the front body to look like two parallel lines until they meet on the left shoulder and pin it to fix the saree in place.

    For all the occasions, look for a style and the perfect saree for every occasion only at Shoonya.