is hard to imagine how a simple rectangle of material can
turn into an elegant and comfortable garment just with a few
wraps, a twist and a tie.
If you run into such a treasure in your travels, you
have probably just encountered the fascinating and exotic
sarong! This is
probably the most basic way to cover one's body and all you
need is the single piece of cloth.
"Sarong" is the name used in Indonesia to describe this
rectangular garment. However,
this piece of clothing is well known in many parts of the
world and has been used since ancient times.
We find these types of garments ranging from Africa
where it is called a 'Kango' to the South Pacific, where the
name for this type of garment is 'pareo'.
The garment also shows up in India, and all the way
back to ancient Greece and Rome.
In fact, the word “toga” is one associated with
the infamous sarong!
Traditional clothing can tell us a lot about the
history of the place as well as the culture.
There is a very old sarong, found in Gujarat and
dating back to the 14th or 15th
century, which had a very significant batik design.
The design was of Jain ladies; Jainism is a sect of
Hinduism, the predominant religion of India. The significance of finding this special sarong was the
knowledge that Indonesia was trading with India long before
the European spice trade began.
Sarongs are worn by both men and women, and are
about 45 by 75 inches in dimension.
Sarongs can be worn like skirts, dresses, and shawls.
You could even make simple pants out of them by
pulling the material up from between your legs and fastening
it as part of knot. A
sarong can be turned into a dress by fastening the ends
around your neck, halter style.
No wonder the sarong is so popular and worn daily by
millions of people since there are so many different fashion
looks that can be achieved with this simple cloth rectangle.
Another clear advantage of this simple garment is how
easy it is to tailor to the individual person wearing it -
simply change the size of the rectangle to fit.
In Indonesia, sarongs are frequently made from batik fabric of which
Indonesia is so well known.
The process of 'batik' is actually a textile art form
that uses wax to protect areas of the fabric that the artist
does not want colored.
Batik patterns are intricate and colorful and so are
the sarongs made of these fabulous materials.
A sarong is not difficult to wear once you get the hand of it.
The first step is to wrap the material of the sarong
around your body. Depending
on the occasion, you might want to wear it around your chest
like a dress or around your hips or waist like a skirt or
bathing suit cover-up.
That is a popular use for today's sarongs, by the
Next, you will grab the two corners of the sarong and tie it loosely in
a square knot. There
are very fancy ways to finish off the ends once tied.
The simplest thing to do is to make sure that the
right side of the fabric shows on the ends hanging out of
You can twist the sarong around on your body so that the tie is on the
side or the back. Just
remember that there are no rules about always having to tie
the sarong in the front.
In truth, when it comes to the way in which you can
wear a sarong, the possibilities are endless.