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The sari is the national dress of women in India, and has been worn for centuries by both married women and young girls. Measuring 5.5 metres (6 yds) in length, saris are made of cotton, silk, synthetics or blends. Saris may or may not have embroidered or printed borders and motifs, although most saris will have heavier decoration along the bottom edge.


This long piece of cloth is worn over a full-length skirt called a "petticoat". The petticoat is held up by a drawstring instead of an elastic waist. This is because the sari is tucked into the petticoat's waistband - which means it has to be tight enough to hold all that fabric in place! Petticoats are slightly flared at the bottom, but are more form-fitting at the waist to give a smooth line under the sari. Normally, petticoats are made of cotton, and match the colour of the sari as closely as possible.

To complete the outfit, a sari blouse is worn. These come in many styles, from long sleeves to no sleeves, and from bare to covered midriff. Because sari blouses are so form-fitting, they are never bought off the rack, and must be carefully made to fit each individual wearer. Sari blouses are almost always made in a fabric which matches the sari, and many sari lengths are sold with an extra piece attached for the sari blouse. Sari blouses are also often worn in colours which either contrast with the sari or which pick up one of the colours in the sari border.

How to put on a sari


1. Stand in front of a full-length mirror, and hold the sari fabric with the right side of the design facing out. Make sure the heaviest decoration runs along the bottom. Now, take the least decorated end of the sari and tuck a few inches of its top edge into your petticoat or waistband, directly below your right shoulder. You should now have a raw edge running from your waist to the floor. The bulk of the sari should be on the left-hand side of this raw edge.