If you don’t have a sarong or two you are seriously missing out! Men and women throughout the tropics wear little else and once you get the hang of them you’ll understand the attraction. The fabric is cool and flowing, which is perfect for warm weather and provides flexibility to style them as dresses, short or long skirts, shorts, swimwear cover ups, scarfs, headbands and even turbans. Plus, packing a sarong or two into a suitcase can save travelers big bucks on excess luggage.
To add to the attraction, size isn’t a factor. The humble sarong suits any body shape. They are perfect if you’re pregnant or dieting because they adapt to whatever shape you are and breastfeeding mums can use them as a light throw over during feeding in public.
The main reason why people shy away from them is tying them. Unless you’ve been shown some sort of technique they can be a bit tricky. Additionally, there’s the fear that they will suddenly drop off in public leaving you exposed and stranded in your underwear! In reality, sarongs are actually a lot easier to tie and wear than many people anticipate. It won’t take you long to master and get creative, taking full advantage of their versatility.
There are heaps of video on-line which will show you how to tie sarongs for various uses. So, instead of providing a step by step guide for each style, I’d like to provide the basics so you can tie them anyway you like and get inspired.
The easiest way to tie a traditional flat sarong is by using the material itself. The fabric is usually fine, so it twists and manipulates nicely. There’s no right way up either and the way you use it will depend on the size of the sarong and your body. If it’s too long just fold it. With a little more experience you can make shorts, mini skirts or dresses.
For basic use, imagine the sarong is a bath towel and position it as you would when you jump out of the shower and begin drying yourself. You should have hold of two ends, just like a towel. Position it at shoulder or waist height behind you, depending on what you want to cover.
Bring together the two ends you have held and tie them in front of you or to the side. There will be excess fabric and the amount will depend on the sarong and your body size. Position this to suit your situation. For example, if it’s for a swimwear cover up you can let it be more revealing than you would for everyday use.
The image below will help you get a little more inspiration and show you the versatility of a single sarong.
Ways to style a sarong
A. The wrap skirt. B. Mini skirt. C. Wrap dress. D. Swim wear wrap. E. Mini dress. F. Halter dress. G. Shorts. H. Shirt
There’s also the option of tying your sarong with purpose made buckles (pictured). There’s a huge variety on offer or you can use your imagination, get creative and discover what works for you. Bangles are an option for some styles as well as adding beads or long hanging accessories.
These purpose made buckles are perfect for use with tube sarongs. They are just as the name implies. Instead of being a traditional flat piece of fabric, the tube sarong is sewn so it resembles a tube (pictured). If you have a tube sarong, using a buckle can be a little easier than gathering the fabric to make a stead fast tie which tend to slip due to lack of fabric. You can also fold them in half to produce a shorter skirt or dress.
Although tube sarongs are less versatile, they are still a very popular option for use away from the water. The attraction being that they tend to be less reveling. If you want to wear a traditional sarong away from the water and are deterred by the possibility of it blowing open, add a couple of large well placed safety pins to the inner side after tying it. This will hide the pins and keep your sarong in position.
Sarongs have also become a popular option for weddings in warmer climates. Prices start from around $25 and go up to around $200-$300. Regardless of the price, their versatility makes them worth every cent. They are addictive, so after purchasing your first one, don’t be surprised if you find yourself hunting for more!
Images via images0.zurnal24.si, curiousdesigns.com, swimweargalore.com.au, ecx.images-amazon.com
Kim is a writer and SHESAID's resident psychologist. A self-proclaimed tomboy who understands more about relationships and men than she ever will about glitz and glamour. Follow Kim on Google+.