Can You Wear a Saree Without a Petticoat?


Women have been wearing sarees for centuries. In that time, they have figured out many ways to drape the ancient garment. Sarees made of various materials and different patterns, but is it possible to wear a saree without a petticoat?

You can wear a saree without a petticoat. While this skirt-like bottom half of the three-piece outfit is traditional, you can swap it out with other pieces of clothing. Leggings and shapewear are acceptable alternatives to petticoats.

You can drape a saree in a hundred ways, so there is no one true way to wear one. If you are curious and want to know what other alternative ways to wear your saree, read on to find out.

Do You Need To Wear a Petticoat Under Your Saree?

You do not need to use a petticoat (or langa) as an undergarment for your saree. To be clear, the petticoat is the long skirt garment worn under the saree itself. The “saree” is the long sash-like piece of the outfit that drapes over the shoulder. “Saree” refers to all three parts of the outfit.

Some styles of sarees are already worn without petticoats. Two of these variations include the Dhoti and the Maharashtrian Nauvari style. Men wear the Dhoti, which is trousers, and women wear the Maharashtrian Nauvari. Women tuck the saree in at the back with this style.

Three Different Types of Petticoats

Women can choose from three distinct kinds of petticoats. They can buy them at stores as separate pieces from the main garment and come as one-size-fits-all.

A-Line Petticoat

The first variation of the petticoat is the A-line which is the most typical skirt you will see worn and is the best petticoat to wear with sarees. A-lines are tight at the waist and flare out as it reaches the feet.

An A-line’s narrow waist can provide a slimming effect and prevents even heavier silks from appearing bulky. You will also have a wider range of leg movement with A-line petticoats.

Layered Petticoat

A layered petticoat is an A-line but with layers and each layer contains stiff netting that is attached near the waist. The net layers become flared and loose. It keeps the saree in place without becoming cumbersome and offers lots of legroom despite the skirt’s relative heftiness.

People use layered petticoats such as the Kanchipuram silk sarees as bridal gowns and for special occasions in Tamil Nadu.

Mermaid Petticoat

Designers cut the mermaid (or fish-cut) petticoat to cling to the hips and legs. The general shape and clinginess of the garment provide a slimming look and are well-suited for georgette fabric sarees. This fabric is a thin, semi-transparent material and consists of solid colors and designs.

Georgette is a bit flimsy as far as fabrics go, so the streamlined cut of mermaid petticoats helps keep the sarees neat and in place.

Can You Wear a Saree Without Any Undergarments?

Some women would say that you should not wear a saree without undergarments. Undergarments, in this case, are either a petticoat or a blouse. It is possible to wear a saree without either garment, though.

People wear sarees without undergarments in more rural areas because it is often hot and humid. Women of varying ages accept plain sarees as clothing in less urban areas. They are not something seen as often in the city.

How To Tie a Saree Without a Petticoat

If you are not interested in wearing a petticoat with your saree, the first thing to do is wrap it around your waist and tie it into a knot. After that, you can begin making your pleats, starting with the fabric a few inches away from the knot.

You won’t need to pleat the entire length of the saree, so you need to fold only a foot or so of fabric. Once you have made your folds, take the saree and tuck it in at your back, making sure you keep the pleats in hand while tucking the fabric behind you.

Next, take the creases you have made and tuck them into the front of the saree. You can use a safety pin to ensure the folds stay in place. Drape the remaining bit of saree around your shoulder and pin to your shirt.

How To Tie a Saree Without a Blouse

You can tie your saree around your chest if you want to cool off without being in the buff. It is widespread in places like Bengala for women to tie sarees around their breasts so that they can stay cool while keeping clothed. To bind your chest with your saree, wrap it around your shoulder and wear it as loose or tight as you please.

If you decide to tighten your saree about your shoulders, it will completely cover your breasts, and if you loosen it, you can show a bit of cleavage.

What Else Can You Wear Under Sarees?

You have alternatives if you do not want to wear a petticoat, but you want something under your saree. Since fashion changes over time, some people might find petticoats old-fashioned or uncomfortable. Regardless of the reason, we’ve got a list of other things you can wear instead.


Leggings are tight enough that they do not look bulky underneath sarees. They can help you look slimmer when you choose thin fabrics like georgette. If you do not want people to see your leggings, choose a pair that comes to the knee. You can wear a transparent saree if you are OK with revealing your leggings.


Shapewear is another option you can wear under sarees if petticoats are not your thing. Shapewear conforms to your figure and accentuates the waist, thighs, and hips. The tightness of the undergarment aids you in achieving a “mermaid figure.”

There are two types of shapewear that you can choose from. Traditional shapewear comes in different varieties. This includes bodysuits, shorts, tanks, leggings, and briefs are a few types.

You can opt for saree shapewear, though, and it is what it sounds like – shapewear made to complement your figure while you are wearing a saree. Saree Shapewear resembles mermaid petticoats which you can wear underneath a regular petticoat.

It is crucial to pick shapewear that’s the proper size for you. If your undergarment is not sized right, it can result in bulging and may slide off your body. One other thing to remember is that you need to pick shapewear that’s close in color to your saree so that they do not clash.


You need good underwear to wear under your saree. We are not trying to say you have to wear only underwear under your saree, but you may want to choose the right color. Underwear also needs to match the saree color, so they do not clash and are not visible when you wear light fabrics.


It is fine if you do not want to wear a petticoat (or blouse) under your saree. There are variations of saree drapes that can go without the traditional undergarment. There are also alternatives if you want to swap out the petticoat instead of not wearing undergarments at all.

You can hide leggings under the saree, or show them off. People do not wear shapewear to show off, so consider the color you choose. Whichever way you decide to wear your saree is up to you. We hope you learned something about the different ways you can wear sarees, though.

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