Tuesday Tutorial: Sarong tying 101

Sarongs are one of my all-time favorite summer accessories.   While most people relegate them strictly to the swimwear cover up category, they are actually quite versatile and can be used as clothing during the summer months.  I have been in love with them for well over a decade and have been known to use them for everything from clothing to picnics to  home decorations.

My obsession actually first started when I saw my friend Tracy Herz wearing one as a skirt to a cocktail party along with a fitted  blazer, strappy pumps, and lots of bling-y jewelry.   I remember how unexpectedly chic and exotic the outfit looked, especially among all the little black dresses and pearls that seemed to overwhelm the sartorial scene.

Sarongs are a bit difficult to find here in Charleston, West Virginia, but Cornucopia and Macy’s occasionally sell them.   My favorite online source is 1worldsarong.com.  They have the best selection I have found thus far and very reasonable prices.  

The following are my favorite ways to wear a sarong (and they also happen to be quite easy to do– yay!)


Simple Waist Tie

This is the most common way to wear your sarong as a cover up.  Simply tie the sarong at the waist.


 If you can find one, a sarong tie can be used to give the sarong a lovely and graceful draped effect.  Simply slide the ends of the sarong through the two holes and tighten the sarong to fit your hips.



Maxi Wrap Skirt 

This is my favorite way to wear a sarong.  I think I rocked this look all last summer! Wrap the sarong around the front of your waist and grab hold of the end corner.  



Then take the other side of the sarong, bring around the front waist/hip and tie the end corner to the other corner at your side hip.


Instant maxi skirt!  


Note:  if, like me,  your waist is a little too big to do this, use a safety pin to secure at the hip and fold the extra sarong fabric over to hide.


Criss-Cross “Island” Dress

This is a fun way to wear a sarong as a dress. This look can be a cover up or a fun night-time look.  If you are wearing this style as a dress, make sure your jewelry makes a statement, too, and choose a neutral strappy sandal.

 Start off with your sarong behind your back and pull the sides forward as if you were going to wrap yourself up in a big fluffy bath towel!

Take one corner of the sarong and cross it over your chest.
Do the same with the opposite side.
Tie the sarong in the back at your neck and you are ready for a Mai Tai!.
The Tie Vest
This is another look that can be worn both as a cover-up and clothing.  Wear with skinny jeans or leggings and some tribal jewelry.
Fold the sarong in half length-wise and tie the short ends together.
Place tied end around your neck.
Toga, Toga, Toga!
This is a great way of wearing your sarong particularly since the asymmetrical trend is going strong.  It is also a very flattering look to many body types and shapes.
Fold the sarong in half length wise and hold it up to your body diagonally.  Where it hits your shoulder, pinch the fabric.
Make a small knot in this area.  If you have a brooch or decorative pin, you could also use that to pin the area.
Slip it over your body and channel your inner goddess!

These are just a few ideas of how to wear and tie your sarong.  Do you have any other sarong tying tips to share?

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  1. Tracy Herz - September 8, 2013

    Dennise, I wore that black silk sarong to Harper’s Magazine’s 150th gala and I still wear it around the house. (Joking!) I bought the most expensive black silk fabric I could find and paid someone to sew the black tassels on the tie and the hem. It was a pretty “Miami” look for a New York party but I didn’t know the difference. Can’t believe you remember that! Thrilled that you liked it! Gonna have to pull that out again apparently!! Tracy Herz

  2. Rachel - November 20, 2013

    I personally prefer to style up without a sarong tie. Thanks for the tips!

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