Whether you want to go Bollywood exotic or just need a splash of color with your outfit, a sarong is an ideal accessory. Like a pashmina shawl, a sarong provides warmth while adding style. In a matter of minutes, you can cop the look of Paris Hilton in her black minibikini cover-up or Sandra Bullock in her sexy fringed floral wrap.
Sarongs are available in an endless number of styles, though most begin and end as a single piece of lightweight fabric. Some sarongs might have ornamentation such as fringe, beads or small mirrors (particularly common in India). You can use a sarong that is short, which offers fewer choices in wrapping but fits snugly, or long, which can be doubled, twisted and tied various ways.
Begin with the basic, most popular style. In Western fashion, sarongs are often worn as a beach cover-up, worn slung low around the hips. To accomplish the look, begin with the long edge of the cloth behind your waist. Wrap the sarong around your hips to the front and tie it in a basic square knot at the front or side. Secure the knot well or it will slip after you take a few steps. You can reinforce the knot by knotting the sarong twice. If the sarong flaps open too far, you can secure the edge with a safety pin. Go for a miniskirt by folding a fringed sarong in half lengthwise, with the fringe at the bottom hem.
Try a more tailored look. While knotting a sarong looks sexy and bohemian, some people want a more fitted style so they can wear their sarong as a skirt rather than as a cover-up. Wrap a long sarong around your waist. Tuck the sarong in on itself. Reinforce it with a safety pin. This style looks great with a black ballet-neck T-shirt tucked into the sarong or even with a tank top and a lightweight blazer.
Go for the full-body looks. The halter dress is a classic around the world. In this style, you wrap the sarong around your body, with the ends meeting in front. Then you take the two top corners, cross them over your chest and tie them together behind your neck. The tube dress style begins the same way but ends with tying the corners in a knot over your chest, rather than behind the neck.
Get creative. Choose some wild patterns, such as Hawaiian prints or Balinese batik. Use these as shawls or layers over a long skirt. Try using two complementary sarongs in tandem, one as a skirt and the other as a blouse. Around the world, people also use sarongs as baby slings, head coverings, tablecloths, throws and more.
- Some sarongs may bleed dye the first few times you wash them. Hand wash them in cold water with a gentle soap at first.