What is the Difference between Sari and Saree? Explained!

Sarees and saris are both stunning garments that have been worn for centuries in India. Both of them have the ability to completely transform the appearance of anyone who wears them. However, there are subtle differences between the two that sets them apart. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a sari and a saree is, then you’re in the right place.

Both sari and saree are garments that are worn by women in India. A saree is often thought of as a more modern version of a sari. A sari is a traditional garment that is worn by women in India. It consists of a long piece of fabric, which is wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder. A saree, on the other hand, is a more contemporary garment that is often worn by women in urban areas. It consists of a long piece of fabric that is draped over the shoulder, but it is typically associated with a specific style of wrapping that is more modern than that of a sari.

When it comes to the difference between sari and saree, one of the main differences lies in the style in which they are draped. A saree is typically draped across the shoulder and wrapped around the waist, while a sari is draped around the waist and then thrown over the shoulder. The difference in draping style gives each garment a unique look and feel. Additionally, a sari is typically made of cotton, silk, or other natural fibers, while a saree is often made of synthetic materials. Despite these differences, both of these garments are stunning and continue to be worn by women all across India.

Origin of the Sari

The sari, also spelled as saree, is a traditional garment originating from the Indian subcontinent. The exact origin of the sari is unclear, as it has been worn in different ways and styles across various regions of South Asia for centuries. However, it is believed that the sari has been worn in India since at least 2800-1800 BCE, during the Indus Valley Civilization. Archaeological evidence suggests that women in the Indus Valley wore long pieces of cloth draped over their bodies in a similar fashion to the modern-day sari.

  • The word ‘sari’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘sati’, which means a strip of cloth.
  • During the Mughal era, the sari gained popularity and became a symbol of Indian culture and tradition.
  • Today, the sari remains a staple garment in India and is worn for various occasions such as weddings, festivals, and formal events.

The sari is a versatile garment that can be worn in different styles depending on the region, occasion, and personal preference. The most common style of wearing a sari involves draping it around the waist and over the shoulder, with the loose end draped over the head. However, there are many other styles and variations, each with its own unique name and significance.

In addition to its cultural significance, the sari has also been a source of inspiration for designers and fashion enthusiasts around the world. It has been featured in numerous fashion shows and magazines, and has been adapted into various modern styles and designs.

Region Style
North India Nivi
West India Gujarati
South India Mundum Neryathum
East India Bengali

Despite the various styles and adaptations, the sari remains a symbol of Indian tradition and heritage, and continues to be worn with pride by women across the subcontinent and around the world.

Origin of the Saree

The saree has a rich and fascinating history that dates back at least 5000 years. It has evolved from a simple garment worn by ancient Indian women into a cultural icon that is recognized all around the world. The word “saree” or “sari” (as it is commonly spelled) comes from the Sanskrit word “sati”, which means “strip of cloth”.

  • The earliest known depiction of sarees can be seen in the statues of the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished between 2800 BCE and 1800 BCE. The statues depict women wearing a draped garment that is similar to the modern-day saree.
  • During the Mughal Empire (1526-1857), the saree became more ornate and sophisticated. Mughal-era sarees were made of fine silk and featured intricate embroidery and embellishments.
  • In the 1800s, the British colonization of India had a significant impact on saree styles. The British introduced European textiles and styles, which influenced the design and construction of sarees. Western fashion trends were also incorporated into saree designs, resulting in the creation of fusion sarees.

Today, sarees are an integral part of Indian culture and are worn for a variety of occasions, including weddings, religious ceremonies, and festivals. They come in an array of styles, fabrics, and colors, and are draped in different ways depending on the region and occasion.

The following table shows some of the most common types of sarees and their characteristics:

Type of Saree Region of Origin Characteristics
Banarasi Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh Made of fine silk with intricate gold or silver brocade work
Kanjivaram Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu Woven from high-quality silk and embellished with intricate designs and patterns
Chanderi Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh Lightweight with a sheer texture and adorned with gold or silver patterns

Overall, the saree is a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of Indian artisans throughout history. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless beauty and versatility as a garment.

Traditional Drape of the Sari

The Sari or Saree is a traditional garment worn by women in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. It is a long piece of cloth, usually measuring between four to nine meters, draped over the body in various styles. The traditional drape of the sari is complex and requires skill to perfect. Here are the steps to draping a sari:

  • Start with tucking one end of the sari into the waistband of your petticoat and wrap it around your waist once.
  • Make pleats of the remaining length of the sari and tuck them into your petticoat, making sure they face left.
  • Take the loose end of the sari and drape it over the left shoulder, from the back to the front, and pin it to the blouse.
  • Take the front of the sari and drape it over your legs and tuck it into your waistband at the back.
  • Arrange the pleats neatly and adjust the length of the sari to your height.

The traditional drape of the sari varies between regions, with different methods used in different parts of India. For example, the Bengali style involves creating a fan of pleats in the front, whereas the Gujarati style involves draping the pallu over the right shoulder instead of the left. These variations are influenced by the local culture and traditions.

In addition to the traditional drape, there are also modern variations of the sari, such as the pre-stitched sari, which is easier to wear as it eliminates the need for draping. Pre-stitched saris come with a zipper or hook and loop fasteners and can be worn like a skirt. Furthermore, there is also the ready-to-wear sari, which is a fusion garment combining the sari and the lehenga. It comes with a pre-stitched palazzo pant and a draped dupatta.

Region Drape Style
Gujarat Pallu draped on the right shoulder
Bengal Pleats in the front like a fan
Maharashtra Pallu draped in a diamond shape
Tamil Nadu Pallu draped over the left shoulder

While the traditional drape of the sari holds cultural significance, the modern variations of the garment have made it more accessible to women who may not have the skill or time to perfect the traditional draping style. Regardless of the variation, the sari remains an iconic piece of clothing that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Indian subcontinent.

Contemporary Drape of the Saree

The saree has long been a traditional garment in India, but in contemporary times, the draping styles have evolved to suit the changing lifestyles and fashion tastes of modern women. Today, the saree can be draped in a variety of ways, offering a myriad of options for the wearer.

One contemporary drape style that has gained popularity in recent times is the pre-stitched saree, which is convenient for women who are on the go and cannot spare time to drape a saree. The pre-stitched saree comes with pleats that are pre-sewn, making it easier to wear like a dress.

Another popular contemporary drape style is the fusion saree, which combines traditional and modern elements. The fusion saree may have a modern silhouette, with unconventional draping styles, or may use fabrics that are not traditionally used in sarees, such as denim or leather.

Contemporary draping styles also include draping the saree over pants, or pairing it with crop tops or shirts instead of the traditional blouse. These styles are popular with young, fashion-conscious women who want to put their own spin on traditional attire.

Contemporary Drape of the Saree – Examples

  • The Pant Style: In this style, the saree is draped over slim-fit pants or leggings, creating a contemporary look that is comfortable and easy to move in.
  • The Dhoti Style: Inspired by the traditional Indian dhoti, this style involves creating pleats and tucks around the waist, and draping the remaining fabric over one shoulder.
  • The Cape Style: The saree is draped over a cape or jacket, giving the outfit a chic, modern twist.

Contemporary Drape of the Saree – Materials and Accessories

Contemporary saree draping styles are not just limited to the way the saree is draped, but also the materials and accessories used. Modern saree drapes can be found in a range of fabrics, from traditional silk and chiffon to contemporary satin and cotton.

Accessories such as belts, scarves, jackets, and shrugs are also used to add a fashionable element to the saree. The key to a contemporary saree look is experimenting with traditional elements and creating a fusion that is uniquely your own.

Contemporary Saree Draping Materials Contemporary Saree Draping Accessories
Satin Belts
Cotton Scarves
Leather Jackets
Denim Shrugs

Contemporary saree draping styles have brought a new dimension to traditional Indian attire, allowing women to explore their sense of fashion and create a look that is uniquely their own.

Fabrics Used for Sari

The sari, also spelled as saree, is a traditional Indian outfit that has been worn by women for centuries. It is a long piece of cloth, typically 5 to 9 yards, that drapes around the body in different styles. The beauty of the sari lies in its versatility and the various fabrics that it can be made from. Here are some of the fabrics commonly used for sari:

  • Cotton – Cotton sari is lightweight and breathable, making it ideal for summer wear. It is comfortable to wear and easy to drape. Cotton sari comes in a range of designs and colors and is perfect for casual and everyday wear.
  • Silk – Silk sari is one of the most popular and luxurious fabrics used for sari. It has a rich texture and a natural shine that makes it perfect for special occasions and weddings. Silk sari comes in different varieties like Banarasi silk, Kanchipuram silk, and Tussar silk.
  • Chiffon – Chiffon sari is lightweight and sheer, with a soft and silky texture. It is perfect for draping and creates a flowy effect when worn. Chiffon sari is perfect for evening wear, parties, and other special occasions.
  • Georgette – Georgette sari is lightweight and has a slightly bouncy texture. It is perfect for draping and creating a flowy effect. Georgette sari is often used for party wear and evening wear.
  • Linen – Linen sari is perfect for summer wear as it is lightweight and highly breathable. It has a natural texture that adds an earthy charm to the outfit. Linen sari is perfect for casual and everyday wear.


The choice of fabric for sari depends on the occasion, climate, and personal preferences. Each fabric has its own unique features and adds a different dimension to the sari. When it comes to choosing a sari, it’s important to consider the fabric and the occasion so that you can make the right choice that will help you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful.



Fabric Features
Cotton Lightweight, breathable, easy to drape
Silk Rich texture, natural shine, perfect for special occasions
Chiffon Lightweight, sheer, soft and silky texture
Georgette Lightweight, slightly bouncy texture, perfect for party wear
Linen Lightweight, highly breathable, natural texture


Fabrics Used for Saree

Sarees are one of the most elegant and traditional attire for women in India. They are typically available in a wide range of fabrics, each having its unique color, texture, and design that adds to its exceptional beauty. The fabrics used for saree vary depending on the region, climate, and occasion. Here are some of the most commonly used fabrics for saree:

  • Cotton: Cotton is versatile, comfortable, and breathable fabric that is suitable for everyday wear. Cotton sarees are lightweight, easy to drape, and come in a variety of colors and prints. They are ideal for hot and humid climates as they provide ventilation to the body.
  • Silk: Silk is recognized for its luxurious texture, sheen, and durability. Silk sarees are often heavy, adding to their traditional appeal. They are perfect for formal occasions and weddings, and they come in various types like Banarasi, Kanchipuram, Mysore, and many more.
  • Chiffon: Chiffon is a lightweight, sheer, and delicate fabric that drapes well. Chiffon sarees have a flowy texture, and they are available in numerous prints and shades. They are an excellent choice for parties and get-togethers as they look elegant and stylish.


Net fabric is a sheer, delicate material with an embroidered design woven into its surface. Net sarees are lightweight, easy to drape, and work well for formal occasions. They come in various patterns and colors and are often embellished with stones, sequins, and embroidery to enhance their beauty.


Linen is a natural fabric that is lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Linen sarees have a crisp texture and give a sophisticated look. They are perfect for corporate events and office wear. They come in subtle shades and often have minimal prints and embroidery.


Banarasi fabric originates from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and is known for its intricate and elaborate designs. Banarasi sarees are made from silk, and they have beautiful zari work, which gives them a royal appearance. They are ideal for weddings and other festive occasions.

Fabric Description
Cotton Versatile, comfortable, and breathable fabric. Ideal for everyday wear.
Silk Luxurious fabric with a sheen and durability. Perfect for formal occasions and weddings.
Chiffon Lightweight, sheer, and delicate fabric. Suitable for parties and get-togethers.
Net Sheer, delicate material with embroidered designs. Ideal for formal occasions.
Linen Natural fabric that is lightweight, breathable, and perfect for corporate events and office wear.
Banarasi Intricate and elaborate designs with zari work. Ideal for weddings and festive occasions.

Sarees have a unique charm, and the fabric plays a vital role in enhancing the beauty of the attire. Each fabric has its specialty, and it is essential to choose the right fabric for the occasion to look elegant and stylish. Let your attire speak for itself and make a statement wherever you go.

Regional Variations in Sari/Saree Styles

India is a diverse country with various regions that have their own unique cultural traditions, including dress. The sari, or saree, is no exception. Here are some of the regional variations in sari/saree styles:

  • Banarasi: The Banarasi sari is from the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and is known for its intricate designs and heavy gold or silver embroidery.
  • Kanjeevaram: The Kanjeevaram sari is from the state of Tamil Nadu and is made from pure silk with gold thread work.
  • Bandhani: The Bandhani sari is from Gujarat and Rajasthan and is known for its tie-dye patterns and vibrant colors.
  • Chanderi: The Chanderi sari is from the town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh and is made from silk or cotton with intricate weaving and embroidery.
  • Paithani: The Paithani sari is from Maharashtra and is known for its vibrant colors and peacock design borders.
  • Muga: The Muga silk sari is from Assam and is made from a unique silk called Muga, which is only found in Assam. It is known for its glossy texture and durability.
  • Bandhni: The Bandhni sari is from Gujarat and Rajasthan and is known for its tie-dye patterns and vibrant colors.

These are just a few examples of the many regional variations in sari/saree styles. Each region has its own unique style, weaving technique, and embroidery, which have been passed down from generation to generation.

FAQs about the Difference between Sari and Saree

1. Is “sari” and “saree” the same?

Yes, “sari” and “saree” refer to the same traditional garment worn by women in India. The difference lies in the spelling, with “sari” being the preferred spelling in Indian English, while “saree” is more commonly used in other English-speaking countries.

2. Are there any differences in the way they are worn?

There is no difference in the way sari and saree are worn. Both are draped around the waist, pleated and then tucked into the petticoat, with the remaining fabric draped over the shoulder to cover the torso.

3. Are there any differences in the design or style?

No, the design and style of sari and saree are the same. They are available in various fabrics, colors, and designs, and can be adorned with embellishments like embroidery, sequins, and beads.

4. Which term is more commonly used in India?

While both terms are used interchangeably, “sari” is more commonly used in India, especially in the southern part of the country.

5. Is it possible to wear a sari or saree in a western country?

Yes, sari and saree are popular not just in India but also in Western countries. Many Indian women living abroad wear them for special occasions or to stay connected to their cultural roots.

Closing Thoughts

Now you know that “sari” and “saree” are the same garment, with the spelling being the only difference. Both are draped around the waist and over the shoulder, and can be worn in a variety of fabrics and designs. Whether you are in India or abroad, sari/saree is a beautiful way to showcase your cultural heritage. Thanks for reading, visit again for more interesting fashion insights!