How To Tie a Sarong for 3 Different Moods

There are dozens––maybe hundreds––of ways to tie a sarong for different occasions. There’s a reason people like to call sarongs the traveler’s best friend––they have a variety of uses, whether it be as a swimsuit coverup, a dress, or even a makeshift sling bag. If you’ve ever wondered how to tie a sarong to wear, look no further––we’re here to help.

Whether you’re completely new to sarongs or an experienced connoisseur, this list has got you covered. By the end, you will have found the perfect sarong style to fit any mood and occasion.

First of All, What Is a Sarong? 

The sarong is typically a large piece of rectangular cloth that can be wrapped and tied for different effects. Modern sarongs are popularly worn at the beach as a cover-up, skirt, or dress, but can also be used as a shawl or other type of wrap. Versatile and commonly worn across the globe, a sarong can come in a variety of shapes, colors, and materials. Silk sarongs, for example, are considered elegant and can be used as wedding dresses.

What Are the Origins of the Sarong? 

What many of us know today is actually an unsewn sarong. Traditionally, the sarong is a large piece of cloth that has been sewn together into a tube-like garment. Early sarongs are thought to have originated with the seafaring people of the Malay Peninsula. Over time, the patterns, shapes, and sizes of the traditional sarong began to vary between different regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Some Tips on Wearing a Sarong 

Before we get into all the different ways to tie a sarong, let’s establish a few basic pointers to keep in mind.

  • Accessorize. Many sarongs come in bold, beautiful prints; others are classic and simple. You can easily transform the style by adding some accessories.
  • Experiment with extra pieces. Brooches, hair ties, scarves, and necklaces are all great and useful pieces when wearing a sarong. You can use them to hold the sarong in place or create a shape.
  • Try a sarong swimsuit. If you like your swimsuits with some extra built-in coverage, try a sarong swimsuit. These can be worn in and outside of the pool.

Ways To Tie a Sarong for Different Moods 

Casual and Practical 

These are a couple of classic beach looks. They serve as great cover-ups when paired with a bathing suit, whether you’re lounging in the sand or at the tiki bar. They also serve a distinct purpose––when paired with the right pieces and accessories, a lot of these looks can also be worn outside of the beach––at a picnic, for example.

Style: The Long Skirt 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Hold the sarong horizontally, with one end in each hand. If it’s extra-large, fold it once first.

Step 2) Bring the ends of the sarong together at the side of your hip (or waist) and tie them in a knot. Tying at the hip creates a curvier figure, while a knot at the hip smoothes the stomach.

Step 3) Pair with bangle bracelets and flip-flops for the ultimate carefree look.

Style: The Billowing Vest 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Take one corner of your sarong in one hand, and pinch some excess fabric about a third of the way down the edge with the other.

Step 2) Tie these two together to create a loop. Repeat on the opposite side of the edge to create a second loop.

Step 2) Pull your arms through the loops like you would with a regular vest.

Step 3) You can leave the vest open, or bring the bottom corners up to tie at your bustline.

Style: The Flowing Vest 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Hold the sarong horizontally over your shoulders like a cape.

Step 2) Tie each end around your shoulder to the excess fabric down your side.

Step 3) Make sure the knots sit right below your bustline, with the rest of the sarong draping across your shoulders and upper arms.

Style: The Halter Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Hold the sarong horizontally behind you, one hand on each end.

Step 2) Bring the ends to your front and twist them a few times––more or less, depending on what works for you.

Step 3) Cross the twisted ends over each other three times, then bring them to the back of your neck and tie them securely.

Sultry and Chic 

A lot of these styles are on the shorter side, but they should still be plenty appropriate for a summery night or day. Wear them on top of your swimwear or, if your sarong is on the thicker side, on their own. With some sandals and sunglasses, you will achieve a look that is both flirty and carefree.

Style: The One Strap Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) As with the halter dress, begin by spreading out the sarong behind you, holding each top corner in one hand.

Step 2) Bring the corners together below your shoulder, tying them so the sarong sits snug against your chest.

Step 3) Twist the ends so they become like ropes.

Step 4) Tie the twisted ends over your shoulder in a loop to form a single shoulder strap.

Style: The Mini Toga Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Hold your sarong along your back in the vertical position.

Step 2) Bring the top corners of your sarong to your front and tie them in a small knot at the center of your chest.

Step 3) Using each hand to lift the bottom ends of the sarong, bring them together over your left shoulder.

Step 4) Tie these ends in a small double knot on top of your shoulder.

Step 5) Gather up a bit of loose fabric at the left side of your waist and tie another small knot there, defining the waistline.

Style: The Wrap Top 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Fold the sarong diagonally to create a triangle.

Step 2) Drape the ends over your shoulders, crossing them at the front of your waist.

Step 3) Finally, tie the ends around your back, tucking in the knot to conceal it.

Style: The Cowl Neck Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Hold your sarong vertically in front of you, pinching each of the top ends.

Step 2) Tie the ends around the back of your neck, allowing for a loose neckline.

Step 3) Next, take the bottom ends of the sarong and lift them to your waist.

Step 4) Tie them around the middle of your back to create a flattering waistline.

Elegant and Formal 

Some of these styles might seem slightly more advanced, but they are easy to recreate once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Most of them are long and flowy, allowing for a slightly more dramatic, refined look. Wear these as a swimsuit cover-up or as their own thing.

Style: The Necklace Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Drape the sarong across your front, holding one of the top corners in each hand.

Step 2) Bring the corners behind to the middle of your back, switching hands so that the ends form an X.

Step 3) Now, pull the ends of the sarong up over your shoulders, lifting the X to your upper back.

Step 4) Bring the ends together at the base of your neck and twist them several times.

Step 5) Tie the twisted ends together in a single, loose knot, creating a sort of donut around the base of your neck. Twist the remaining ends around the donut, tucking them in.

Style: The Bow Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Holding the sarong vertically, secure it with a small knot under your left shoulder; it should look like a strapless dress with a long slit down your left side. 

Step 2) Using small bunches of excess fabric, close up the slit by tying little knots down your left side. You can do as many as you like.

Style: The Cape Dress 

How to Do It:

Step 1) Hold the sarong horizontally behind you.

Step 2) Bring the right end over your left shoulder, while wrapping the left end across your torso (under the bustline) and around to your back.

Step 3) Tie both ends together over your shoulder.

Style: The V-Neck Dress

How to Do It:

Step 1) Start by holding the sarong vertically behind you.

Step 2) Bring the top two ends forward under your armpits, then up around your shoulders, finally tying them at the back of your neck.

Step 3) Tie excess fabric around the front of your waist.

What To Keep in Mind 

Many people look at a sarong as merely being used as a beach cover-up, but it can actually come in handy in plenty of ways. It is an incredibly versatile garment that can be used in almost infinite combinations. Communities worldwide use the sarong in both traditional and modern contexts, in fashionable and practical ways.

Tying a sarong might seem difficult at first, but practice makes perfect. Once you’ve got a hang of all the styles above, feel free to experiment, switch them up, and create new variations. You will find endless uses for your sarong. Don it at the beach, pool, on the town, or when you’re just lounging at home. This is one clothing item everyone should have in their closet.



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