What Is a Sarong?

If you're looking to add a versatile and stylish item to your wardrobe, look no further than a sarong. Originating from Southeast Asia, sarongs are large pieces of fabric that can be wrapped around the waist and worn as skirts or dresses. Not only are they comfortable and easy to wear, but they also add a touch of elegance to any outfit. In this article, we'll delve into the history of sarongs, explore different tying techniques, and discover how to style them for various occasions.

Definition of a Sarong

A sarong is a versatile piece of clothing that originated in Southeast Asia. It is a large piece of fabric that is often wrapped around the waist and worn as a skirt or dress. Sarongs can be made from various materials such as cotton, silk, rayon, or chiffon. They are known for their vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and lightweight feel.

History of Sarongs

Sarongs have a long history and cultural significance in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. They were traditionally worn by both men and women for various occasions and ceremonies. In Indonesian culture, for example, sarongs are a symbol of modesty and are often worn to prayer or formal events. They also have a practical purpose, providing protection from the sun and heat.

How to Tie a Sarong

Traditional Sarong Tying Techniques

There are several traditional ways to tie a sarong:

  • The Basic Wrap: Simply wrap the sarong around your waist and tie it at the side.
  • The Side Tie: Wrap the sarong around your waist and tie it at the hip or side.
  • The Halter Dress: Fold the sarong in half diagonally and tie the top corners behind your neck, creating a halter-style dress.

Modern Sarong Tying Techniques

In addition to traditional styles, there are also modern ways to tie a sarong:

  • The Sarong Skirt: Wrap the sarong around your waist and tuck one end into the waistband to create a skirt.
  • The One-Shoulder Dress: Wrap the sarong horizontally around your chest and tie it at one shoulder, creating a unique one-shoulder dress look.
  • The Strapless Dress: Fold the sarong in half diagonally and tie it around your chest, creating a strapless dress.

How to Style a Sarong


A sarong is a perfect beach accessory. Use it as a cover-up over your bathing suit to add a touch of style and modesty. You can tie it as a halter dress or simply wrap it around your waist as a skirt. The lightweight fabric and vibrant patterns make it a practical and fashionable choice for a day by the water.

Casual Wear

A sarong is not limited to the beach. It can be incorporated into your casual summer outfits as well. Pair it with a tank top or t-shirt for a comfortable and stylish look. Wrap it around your waist as a skirt and combine it with a crop top for a trendy and effortless outfit that's perfect for a day out with friends.

Evening Wear

Don't be afraid to dress up your sarong for evening occasions. Pair it with a stylish blouse or top to create a chic and sophisticated look. Add heels and accessories to elevate the outfit even further. Whether you're attending a dinner party, a wedding, or a night out on the town, a sarong can be the perfect statement piece.

Materials and Patterns

Traditional materials

Traditional sarongs are often made of lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton and silk. These materials allow for easy movement and help keep you cool in warmer climates. Traditional sarongs may feature batik or ikat patterns, which are hand-drawn or tie-dyed designs. These patterns add a unique and artistic touch to the garment.

Modern materials and patterns

Nowadays, sarongs are available in a variety of materials to suit different preferences and occasions. Materials such as rayon and chiffon offer a lightweight and flowy feel, perfect for summer or evening wear. Sarongs can feature vibrant prints, floral motifs, or geometric patterns, allowing you to express your personal style and add a pop of color to any outfit.

Where to Buy Sarongs

Local Markets and Souvenir Shops

If you're looking for an authentic sarong, exploring local markets and souvenir shops in Southeast Asian countries is a great option. There, you can find a wide variety of sarongs, ranging from traditional designs to modern interpretations. Plus, shopping locally supports local artisans and helps preserve traditional craftsmanship.

Online Retailers

If you're unable to travel or want a convenient shopping experience, there are numerous online retailers that offer a wide selection of sarongs. These online platforms provide a variety of styles, patterns, and materials for you to choose from. Additionally, online shopping allows you to compare prices and read customer reviews to ensure you're getting a quality product.


Sarongs are versatile and stylish pieces of clothing that can be worn in multiple ways. Whether you're heading to the beach, going for a casual outing, or attending an evening event, a sarong can elevate your look and add a touch of elegance. With a variety of tying techniques, materials, and patterns to choose from, there's a sarong for every occasion and personal style. So, why not try wearing a sarong and embrace its versatility and beauty?

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