Modern Traditional


About dhoti and how to wrap and wear one.
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A dhoti is basically draped shorts.  They're worn throughout Asia and here and there in Africa.  It can be made from a length of fabric between 4 and 8 yards, depending on the size of the wearer.  The material is usually cotton or some other comfortable natural fiber such as linen, because they are usually worn as hot weather garments or underwear.  They are sometimes made of nicer materials because they are sometimes required for religious ceremonies and weddings in some ethnicities.

How To Wear a Dhoti

Dhoti are good shorts for hot weather, but a word of caution: you will need to adjust the tightness according to your activity.  If you will be doing a lot of walking or running, your legs will rub together, so you will need to either pull the middle pleats tightly, or release them so that they don't bunch up.  Otherwise, you will chafe.

Also, be aware that experts who have been wearing them often can often get away with just wrapping, but others need to tie and pin them to keep them in place.

Click here for MTC's info page on Indian clothing.  Click here for our page on Sri Lankan clothing.

How To Wrap and Tie a Dhoti

Bring the fabric behind yourself with most of the length to your right, and just enough on your left to tuck in.

Tuck that end into your shorts or tie it using a square not, to a handfull of the edge of the long side.

Bring the longer end in front of you to your left hand, and pleat it until the pleats meet your body.

Tuck the pleats into your shorts or the loop of fabric you made around yourself already.

Reach under, and grab the bottom of the pleats.  Then bring them up behind yourself.

Tuck the pleats into the back.

This is a simple way to wrap a dhoti.  There are many more ways to do it.  Click here for a nice video on YouTube with another way of wrapping a dhoti that is like long pants.  Click here for a step by step guide with photos, on how to wrap and wear a pancha-kacham, a formal style of dhoti.

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© 2006 Nicole Lasher