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A Hijabi's Guide to Wearing a Sari with Hijab by Nadwah Khan


Posted on Aug 02, 2012
Guest Contributor


Our newest how-to is inspired by our fans who asked for advice on how to work a sari with hijab! To answer your queries, guest blogger Nadwah Khan from Toledo, Ohio will elucidate this sometimes difficult task!

Colorful clothing, the scent of henna in the air and a constant supply of sweets to feed the bride and groom are familiar to most of us and can only mean one thing. Regardless of your ethnic roots, what you wear to your countless wedding events is important, and can sometimes pose quite a challenge for those of us in hijab. Your wardrobe choice can mean the difference between an uncomfortable ensemble that you are constantly tugging at, or arriving stylishly and modestly outfitted. Naturally, we’d prefer the latter, so here is a list of tips to help you style the Southeast Asian staple, the sari. 

Tip #1: The Color - Elevate your look by playing your hijab down when wearing a sari. How? Let the pallu (part over your shoulder) be the focal point by choosing colors that blend in, rather than stand out.

Nadia Pardesi, previous Hijabi of the Month in a beautiful cobalt blue sari.

Gold or silver may be the obvious choice when wearing a multi-colored sari with work (kaam), but let us also appreciate how these lovely ladies have created a cohesive monochromatic line that the eye can easily follow. Their beautiful sari’s, accessories (and lovely faces) are now the focal point, representing culture while still maintaining their modesty and individuality.
(P.S. For those of you looking for a teal hijab to go with your ferozi sari, the “
Under the Sea” scarf and wrap are available on Haute Hijab!)

Tip #2: The Fabric - Choose a hijab in a material that is both light and easy to manage. 


Nothing says messy like a poofy, stiff scarf that doesn’t lay the way it should and sticks out where it shouldn’t. Crepe and georgette polyester or silk are stellar choices that provide sleek coverage and do not compete with the fabric of the sari, be it banarsi or chiffon. Since the drape and flow of your scarf are important, you want to avoid anything too thick, rough or puffy, as it will most likely bunch up around your neck, creating unsightly folds.

Tip #3: The Blouse - If it doesn’t cover…fake it! How? long, stretchy tanks underneath can breathe new life into those tiny 70’s-style sari blouses.

Measurements 1-8 ensure you have the right fit. 

The key to making a sari hijab-friendly is the blouse. A problem many of us have with our heirloom sari’s from our mothers or even those we buy off-the-rack, is that the blouse is entirely too short, and it’s impossible for us to wear it without exposing our entire midsection. If making an entirely new blouse is out of the question, try buying an extra-long camisole or tank from stores such as Charlotte Russe or Forever21. The extra-long lengths ensure you can tuck them into your sari under-slip and they won’t ride up. Additionally, the rainbow of colors available will ensure you find an acceptable match for your needs. 

If you are making a blouse out of scratch (or contracting out to your local auntie, as I do), 1.5-2 yards of fabric should be more than sufficient to provide adequate coverage for the majority of body types. You will also want to measure yourself beforehand to be sure your stomach and back are covered, and the neckline is high enough for comfort, but large enough for your head to fit through! (You laugh, but more than one hijabi I know has had this issue!)

Tip #4: The Style - How best to wear it?  

It’s hard to work a hijab with a one-shoulder neckline! Many girls are concerned that the hijab-with-sari combination ends up looking messy or matronly, which is why they sometimes avoid it. This need not be the case, my friends.  It is perfectly possible to look chic and age-appropriate, while still maintaining the coverage you want. The style that you choose to wear your hijab when donning a sari is a matter that is entirely up to personal choice. I have seen many different girls rock many different styles while wearing a sari. The common thread between all of them is that they generally involve some level of tucking, and the pallu is uncovered or placed on top of the hijab.

One of the real beauties in the sari is that, if all else is covered, it really is a garment that can be modestly worn by women of all ages and sizes. With a few well-placed pleats, some inventive tucking, and a proper fit, a sari can be a beautiful and modest go-to garment for formal occasions!

Do you have a how-to query you're dying to ask? Would you like to guest blog on Haute Hijab? Reach out to us at!