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How To Tie & Wear Sarongs

Updated on September 7, 2014

Stay cool and fashionable with a sarong!

Sarongs are woven from cotton, rayon or silk, and can be tied into a wide variety of clothing very easily. One bright rectangle of cloth can be a short skirt, a long skirt, a dress, a top or a jacket! Worn by both women and men throughout the South Pacific and Indonesia, they make great summer wear and are fun for relaxing at home.

For summertime wear, a sarong is one of the most versatile options. It can be a beach cover-up, or it can be the whole outfit itself. If you go to the beach, or take a vacation to a warm locale, this is one of easiest clothing items you can pack, in fact, it's often a good idea to bring two or three along so you can mix and match.

sarong photo by Relache
sarong photo by Relache

A Sarong By Any Other Name...

finding sarongs around the world just takes knowing the right word

The word "sarong" comes from the Malay word meaning "sheath." It's a large piece of fabric that can be formed into many clothing variations just by tying, although sometimes you will find it sewn into a tube. Most often it's cotton and is decorated with a batik (wax-resist) design, but really modern sarongs can be painted or dyed using any method of textile decoration. Very similar forms of clothing exist in many cultures around the world.

- Kain sarung (Indonesia)

- Dhoti (India)

- Kanga (Africa)

- Lava-lava (Samoa)

- Malong (Philippines)

- Pareo (Hawaii, Mauritius)

- Suhrong (Cambodia)

Basic Sarongs

Sarongs - Rayon, Full Size - Black - "Slightly Less Than Perfect"
Sarongs - Rayon, Full Size - Black - "Slightly Less Than Perfect"

Rayon is a lightweight natural fiber that can be painted or dyed almost any color and it's great for sarongs. If you'd like to have a whole outfit that coordinates, order a pair of sarongs in matching colors. This will let you make a top and skirt, or dress and jacket that match!


Different Ways To Tie A Sarong

In some cultures, a sarong is tied or worn specific ways if you are a man versus if you are a woman, so if you wear sarongs while traveling, you might wish to check with local custom. The other major concern when wearing a sarong is whether or not to wear something under it. Use your own sense of modesty and best judgement. Accidentally "flashing" your in-laws on vacation is probably something both you and they would prefer to avoid.

1 World Sarongs Engraved Coconut Sarong Ties - Rectangle
1 World Sarongs Engraved Coconut Sarong Ties - Rectangle

Take your pick of decorative shapes, they all work the same way.


Sarong Ties/Buckles

One of the coolest things I ever found for helping tie a sarong is a small, carved bit of coconut shell called a "sarong buckle" or "sarong tie." It allows you gather and fasten without knotting, or adds stability and security when you do knot.

If you're going to be really active when wearing a sarong, one of these little babies can really help you tie a garment that then stays right where you want it, without any slipping loose or coming untied!

Two Sarong Outfits

A pair of matching sarongs can be tied to be a top or skirt. Or tie one as a skirt and tie the second one to be a jacket, and wear with a tank top or your bathing suit top. Also try knotting the two corners of the shorter edges at your shoulders and make a full-length dress or robe.

How-To Sarong Videos

Get some sarong tying help by following along with these videos. With just a bit of practice, wearing sarongs becomes very easy!

Beautiful Sarongs - Florals, prints and tie-dyes

Do You Like To Wear Sarongs?

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    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      5 years ago from Texas USA

      Sarongs are awesome. I used to make the cute little shirt that is worn beneath the sari, but I bet it would be great as a top with a sarong too. Great lens.

    • yoursfoolie profile image


      5 years ago

      Love 'em!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great information - I love the sarong buckles made from coconut shells. Cool lens, cool idea with summer coming up!

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 

      6 years ago from Redcar

      A fascinating lense - thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      verry nice

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Sarong is cool and fashionable. It makes sexy & good looking too.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens!! well done :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens..

    • Ashly Rain profile image

      Ashly Rain 

      7 years ago

      Only when I'm on a caribbean island.

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 

      7 years ago

      I love sarongs! They are so comfortable and practical, I must have 4 or 5 of them around the house. Great to bring on holidays to the beach, they pack really small and are nice and light.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens! I think Sarong's are awesome especially at a beach or by the pool. Great job!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very nice

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes love them-they are so versatile.

    • RawBill1 profile image


      8 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Interesting to see men wearing sarongs here in these videos. I have never seen men wearing them before, but I guess they would be really good to wear in summer around the house. I could do that!


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