The Saree is a truly versatile garment, and has nearly as many ways to wear it as there are individuals who do so. Official documentation records 80 broad ways to wear a saree, classified in 11 different families. While the Nivi drape is the most commonly seen and the most popular, it is not the only option open to those who wish to wear the saree for either daily wear or party wear.
The Nivi drape comes from the Andhra Pradesh area. There are two versions of this drape, the common skirt style and the kaccha nivi that allow the pleats to be passed through the legs and tucked in at the waist in the back, allowing for free movement but keeping the legs covered. To drape in the Nivi style, start with the plain end of the saree tucked into the waistband of the petticoat. Wrap the cloth around the body once to cover the skirt, then hand gather a section into pleats below the navel area. The pleats are tucked into the waistband. The saree is then wrapped once more and the remaining loose end is draped from right to left over the shoulder. Variations include tucking the end in at the waist, using the end as a shawl or head covering, or draping the end from back to front.
Other styles are classified in the following families:
Ways to drape a Saree
- The Bengali and related Oriya drapes. These are primarily see in the eastern part of India.
- The Gujarati drape. Similar to the Nivi but with a more complex top. The lose end is placed behind the neck, pulled over the right shoulder, crossed back over the front and then tucked into the waist.
- The Maharashtrian/Konkani/Kashta drape. Begin with the center of the sari held lengthwise. Place to the center back, bring the the ends forward and tie securely. Wrap the two ends around the legs. This drape takes an extra-long cloth, 9 yards, if one wishes to pass the ends back up over the upper body and over the shoulders. This drape can be seen on Brahmin women of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.
- The Dravidian drape. From Tamil Nadu area, this drape has a pleated rosette formed at the waist.
- The Madisar Drape. Also from the Tamil Nadu area and worn by the people of Iyengar and Brahmin.
- The Kodagu Drape. From the Kodagu district of Karnataka. This drape had pleated in the back not the front and the loose end is moved over the right shoulder back-to-front before being pinned in place.
- The Gobbe Seere drape from Malnad and Sahyadri. This drape takes a very long saree.
- The Gond Drape. This drape starts on the shoulder and then wraps over the body.
- The Malayali Drape. One of the few two piece sari styles
- The Kunbi Drape. One ties a knot in the fabric below the should er and uses a strip of cloth to secure it
- The Tribal Drape. Uses a tie method to secure the saree instead of a tuck one.