The sari, sometimes spelled saree, is a draped dress, created from a single piece of fabric five to nine yards long, which is wrapped around a woman's body in a variety of ways. The resulting garment can be practical working attire or an elegant ceremonial gown, depending on the type of fabric used and the style of draping. While women wear the sari, men wear a version of the wrapped garment called a dhoti. A daily garment worn by approximately 75 percent of the female population of India during the twenty-first century, the sari is one of the oldest known items of clothing that is still in use. Saris were mentioned in the Vedas, the ancient sacred literature of the Hindu religion, which has been dated back to 3000 b.c.e., and many people believe that saris may have been worn even earlier.



Like the Greeks and Romans who followed them, the ancient people of India mainly wore garments that were wrapped and draped, rather than sewn. This was not because they did not know the art of sewing—early Indian people were experts in fine weaving and embroidery—but because they preferred the flexibility and creativity that draped clothing allowed. Loose, flowing garments were practical in the hot climate of southern Asia, and the sari, woven of cotton or silk, was both cool and graceful. Though rich and poor alike wore the sari, the wealthy could afford to have fine silk fabric with costly decorations, while the poor might wear rough plain cotton.



The basic wrap of a sari usually involves winding it around the waist first then wrapping it around the upper body. Women frequently wear underclothes of a half-slip tied around the waist and a tight blouse or breast-wrap that ends just below the bust, which provide the basis for wrapping the fabric of the sari. There are many different styles of wrapping and draping the sari, and these vary according to gender, region, social class, ethnic background, and personal style. Instead of wrapping the fabric around the chest, the ends of the sari can be simply thrown over one or both shoulders. Sometimes an end is pulled between the legs and tucked into the back of the skirt, making it into loose pants, which are practical for working. Many men wear saris that only cover the lower half of their bodies. Though saris are usually wrapped to the left, people from some regions of India favor wrapping to the right. When the abundant material of the sari is wrapped around the waist, it is usually pleated to create graceful folds and drapes. The number of pleats and the direction they fold can vary and is sometimes dictated by religious belief. Though many modern saris are mass-produced, saris made of handwoven cloth are important to many people as a political symbol of Indian pride.



Though many Indian people, both those living in India and those who live in other countries, have adopted Western dress, it is very common for Indian women to wear the sari for important ceremonies, such as weddings.




Saree is one of the most well planned and graceful costume of unstitched length of fabric draped round the body of Indian women. For this graceful decoration of female form, Indian Women, very often, consider a good looking saree more precious than even a piece of jewellery. A good looking and appropriate dress means a right kind of fabric with proper outfit where saree of various colours and quantity drapes round the body as per style and shape of the body. Length of a saree varies from 5 to 8 m, while width varies from 1 to 1.5 m.



Tradition of wearing saree goes back thousands of years in our country. The word “Saree” is anglicized from “Sadi”, which existed in Prakrit language as “Sadia” and originated from Sanskrit “Sati”, meaning a strip of cloth. Quality of fabric and style of wearing Saree vary with our social position, occasion and thereby changes from time to time, place to place and region to region. In an usual wearing style. One end is passed twice round the waist, the upper border tied in a strong knot and allowed to fall in graceful folds to ankle, thus, forming a sort of petticoat or skirt. “Pallav” the hanging part of the saree after draping the lower limbs and torso, as a customery, draw over the head as required. In some regions in Northern India, covering torso and the head is done with a second piece of cloth, commonly known as “Odhani”. Overall, an Indian woman's marital status, area of origin and specific circumstances, if any, could be easily understood by the traditional community in which she lives from the saree she wore. 



In major parts of the country, Saree is only an alternative as a decorative Bridal wear even for the poor. With a great cultural diversity corresponding to the region, even many of the Indian Christian brides dress modestly in a white saree with a long sleeve white blouse instead of their traditional Christian Wedding Gown. The covering of the head is done either by the end of the saree or a scarf, generally of the same saree material. South Indian Christian bride generally wears coloured, usually red or green or yellow. Popular silk wedding sarees are from Benaras, and Bangalore (Mysore Silk). Similarly, popular cotton Handloom Sarees are from Calcutta (Valkalam) and South (crepe). Swiss cotton/ spun sarees are another area well accepted in the market. Notable Art Silk Sarees, from Surat in particular, as wedding Sarees are called Poonam, Micro Madhushree, Chiffon and Georgette.



Sarees reflect our various regional cultures influenced by Aryans, Dravidians , Moghuls and Britishers and saree is therefore the most popular dress in different manner, different festivals too. Because of various Cultural festivals, the peak seasons for saree are during Diwali, Pongal, Onam, Ugadi (in Karnataka), Durga Puja and marriage season from January to May.

Style, design and colours of saree again are greatly influenced by various customs and dress habits. For a region like Tamil Nadu, even a half saree i.e. Odhanis are worn. As per their custom, maidens wear Odhanis and only after marriage, full sarees are worn. A tribal woman of Tripura wears a cloth around her waist called “Pachra” and another narrow width piece of cloth wrapped around her bust called “Risa” or even “Riha”. Similarly, weaving design in the hills is almost of an angular geometrical type with a zigzag pattern. 



Saree covers-up many flaws of the body and can very well match with traditional or modern jewellery for an ethnic or a modern look. As a result one can easily feel more confident and good whilst wearing a saree. In other words, the concept of changing into something more comfortable and beautiful in a simple way has made Indian women more and more aligned to wearing a saree. Another interesting point of recent times is that a traditional design chosen from popular Indian “Paithani Saree” is painted on the tails of British Airways Aircraft which fly to over 175 destinations of 85 countries in the world.