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Saree draping tips

Here are some useful tips that will come handy when you drape your saree:

  1. How to drape a saree in Bengali style
  2. How to prevent safety pin tear
  3. Choose the right petticoat with your saree
  4. How to look slim in a saree
  5. Choose the right blouse for your body-type

How to drape a saree in Bengali style

Like most regions in India, Bengal too has its traditional way of draping sarees. Though not an everyday style among Bengali women any more, they still adopt this style of draping on special occasions such as Durga Puja or at family weddings. Interestingly, in earlier generations, this was considered the casual way to drape sarees, suitable for women when doing household activities such as cooking, washing, etc.

The “Atpourey Style”

Atpur, a small village in Hooghly, West Bengal was known for weaving coarser sarees for everyday wear. The casual style of draping sarees got its name “atpourey” meaning informal from here. It is rather simple, doesn’t require careful pleating, and used to be a convenient way for women to carry their keys by tying the keyring at the end of the pallav.

Here’s a short video illustrating the Bengali atpourey style of draping sarees.

How to prevent safety pin tear

Anybody who uses safety pins to drape a saree knows of the risks involved - a sudden tug or innocuous jerk can cause the pin to tear the delicate fabric it is supposed to hold together. This usually happens if some threads from the saree fabric get entangled in the spring or clasp of the safety pin. Here's a simple tip to ensure that this doesn't happen.



Use a pair of small beads where the safety pin enters and leaves the fabric, as shown in this picture. This will prevent the pin from accidentally tearing the saree during a sudden pull or jerk.

Choose the right petticoat with your saree

Traditionally, all sarees used to be worn with ready-made, standard sized, cotton petticoats that came with a drawstring. One would choose a petticoat that matched the base colour of the saree it was to be worn with and there wasn’t much more to it. Today, petticoats are available in a variety of fabrics, patterns and styles and can even be made to order to fit your body type.

Here’s a quick guide to help you pair the right petticoat with your sarees:

  1. Cotton petticoats: These are most comfortable, especially when the weather is warm and humid. Use them with your cotton and handloom silk sarees. If the saree is sheer, get a petticoat of the exact same colour as the base of the saree or a shade lighter. If the saree is starched, you can get a petticoat stitched with a fishtail cut, so that the saree doesn’t look too fluffy.
  2. Silk petticoats: These are more comfortable in winter and pair well with heavy silk sarees.
  3. Satin petticoats: Chiffon and georgette sarees are usually transparent, and the smooth finish of a satin petticoat looks good with them. Replace the drawstring of the petticoat with a hook and zipper for a neat look.
  4. Shimmer satin petticoats: The Bollywood-styled designer sarees made of net or laces are best paired with petticoats made of a shimmering satin fabric. These sarees are usually clingy, so a fishtail cut petticoat with flare at the bottom enhances the party look.
  5. Embroidered & Embellished petticoats: For a bold, unconventional look, you can consider a plain net or lace saree over a heavily embellished satin petticoat. Needless to say, the main attraction of the ensemble will now shift from the saree to the petticoat. Be sure that the petticoat is well fitted at the hips, but flared at the bottom to allow you to move around without difficulty.


How to look slim in a saree

Do you love to wear your handloom cottons and silks, but are not sure how to 'appear' slim while draping these gorgeous sarees? Here are a few tips to follow to give you that flattering look in your favourite sarees.

look slim in saree
  1. Pin up the pallav neatly making narrow pleats on the shoulder. If you don't have flat abs, or don't want to show them, make sure that lower down, the pleats cover your abs fully.
  2. Make fewer, broader pleats in front, before tucking them in at the waist. This will give a flattening look to the tummy.
  3. A long-sleeved blouse has a slimming effect, compared to a short-sleeved or sleeveless blouse.
  4. If you are of short stature, choose a saree with narrow borders and small motifs.
  5. Wear a fish-tail cut petticoat. You can get it stitched in a soft, stretchable fabric that fits your body closely and flares out at the bottom. 

Choose the right blouse for your body-type

Every time we add a saree to our wardrobe, the first thought that comes to mind is: what blouse should I wear with it? While there are dozens of blouse designs that one can choose from, it is important that we choose blouses that complement our body-type. Here's a chart to help you decide what kind of blouse will be best suited for you.


  1. If you are apple-shaped or have a large bust: Go for blouses with deep back necklines and avoid embellishments in front. 
  2. If you have a small bust: Choose blouses with Chinese collar, halter necks or in-cut sleeves for a bustier look.
  3. If you have broad shoulders: Go for broad necklines like boat necks, and short sleeves in your blouses.
  4. If you have a petite frame: Get blouses with square or rectangular necks.
  5. If you have flabby arms: Get blouses with deep back necklines and with three-quarter sleeves.
  6. If you are a tall women with long neck: Wear Chinese collar blouses or high-neck blouses.
  7. If you have heavy hips: Wear blouses with halter necks or in-cut sleeves to shift focus away from hips.
  8. If you have skinny arms: Get blouses with puffed sleeves. If you have a skinny frame, then go with high-neck blouses with puffed sleeves.