A sarong is a draped garment made from a large piece of fabric. It is traditionally worn by men and women in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and some African peninsulas. Also called a sarung, the term originates from Malay and means “sheath”.
Traditional sarongs are woven fabrics with plaid, checkered or patterned designs, often created with ikat or batik dyeing techniques. Modern sarongs often feature printed designs such as plant or animal prints. Men wear sarongs as a lower garment, while women wear them like dresses.
In addition to their traditional use, sarongs are fashionable garments for Western women. Often described as “cool and chic”, they are stylish, comfortable and very versatile. There are many ways to wear a sarong, including these four suggestions from “Harper’s Bazaar”.
1. One shoulder dress – A one shoulder dress is an elegant way to wear a sarong. To create the dress, women tie two top corners of the fabric over one shoulder. They finish the look by knotting two edges of fabric at the waist.
2. Halter dress – A halter dress is another elegant choice. It starts with two top corners tied around the back of the neck. Women then twist the fabric to create a keyhole in front. The edges are gathered at the waist, wrapped around the back and secured with a knot.
3. Side slit dress – A side slit dress is another innovative way to wear a sarong. Women start by wrapping the fabric under the arms and knotting two corners above the bust. The fabric edges are gathered at the waist and knotted around the front. To create a side slit, they simply twist the waist knot to the side.
4. Harem jumpsuit – For something a little different, women can create harem pants from a sarong. They start by wrapping the fabric under the arms and making a double knot in back. They then pull the bottom of the fabric back through the legs. To finish the look, they knot the two free corners at the waist front.
Where can women buy a sarong? Many clothing stores – both online retailers and brick-and-mortar shops – sell these popular garments. Fair Winds Sarongs is a good example of an online store that sells them in vibrant colors and prints. As well as their versatility, sarongs make a very affordable fashion statement.