Fashion & Beauty

How To Tie And Wear A Sarong [A Step-by-Step Styling Guide]

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The sarong has been around forever. As a beach cover-up or as a chic little wrap when you leave the pool to go have lunch, the sarong is synonymous with summer style! And there are endless ways to wear it.

But for a garment that’s been around for so long, there are still a lot of women who don’t know how to wear a sarong or how to tie a sarong.

When it comes to a sarong, there really are no rules. You can twist it, fold it, drape it and knot it in so many different ways that you can literally get dozens of different looks out of one simple piece of fabric.

Ready to up your summer style game? Here are some of the easiest (and most stylish) ways to tie and wear a sarong, step by step.

What is a Sarong?

A sarong is about the simplest garment in the world. It’s pretty much an oversized scarf, a simple piece of rectangular fabric. They come in all sorts of lightweight fabrics, colors and patterns, making it easy to find one to coordinate with any swimsuit.

Standard sarongs measure approximately 66 inches x 44 inches, but some come in narrower shapes that measure about 66 inches x 24 inches. The bigger the sarong, the more ways you’ll be able to wrap it, tie it and wear it!

Short Wrap Skirt


By far, the easiest way to wear a sarong is to turn it into a short wrap skirt. It’s the perfect beach cover-up, whether you’re wearing a skimpy two-piece bikini or a sleek one-piece swimsuit.

To create this silhouette, start by folding the sarong in half. Wrap it around your waist, then pull the top ends together and tie it into a knot if you want it to be extra-secure, double knot it!

You can tie it on the side or tie it in the front to create two different looks.

When you tie the ends together you will create an asymmetrical hem that’s slightly open on one side. If you prefer more coverage, wrap it flat around your waist and overlap the fabric rather than leaving it open on one side. Then, tuck the edge into the waistband of your bikini bottom rather than tying it on the side!

Long Wrap Skirt


The other super-easy way to wear a sarong is to turn it into a long skirt.

Open it all the way up around hold the fabric around one side of your body, from the waist down. Then tie the two top edges into a knot to secure it in place.

Use a side knot to create a side slit or a front knot to create a front slit. Depending on your mood, you might want to do an off-center slit to create an offset slit that shows off one leg.

The long wrap skirt can be worn as a low-slung skirt around the hips or as a high-waisted silhouette if you prefer a bit more coverage. Just position the top edge wherever it feels most comfortable for you.

Classic Halter Dress

The halter dress is pretty much the epitome of island-inspired style. So knowing how to tie and wear a sarong as a halter is a must-have for laid-back summer days and nights.

To turn your sarong into a mini halter dress, start by holding it open and vertical in front of your body. Level the top edge at your collar bone and tie the ends together so they secure at the back of your neck. You’ll basically have a curtain tied around your neck and hanging long and loose down the front of your body.

Now for the tricky part:

Decide where you want the hem to hit (at the knee or above the knee) and fold the fabric up to your waist to hit your desired length. Pull those folded ends around your back and tie them at the back of the waist.

The end result is a fun, playful halter dress with an open back – perfect for wearing over a bikini or wearing to lunch or dinner in your favorite island town!


Flyaway Halter Dress

Looking for a bit of coverage but still want to rock a super sexy look? The flyaway halter dress is effortless to create and oh-so-comfortable to wear.

To create this dress, hold your sarong across the back of your body, just like you would hold a bath towel.

Bring the left side to the front of your body and up to your right shoulder. Bring the right side to the front of the body and cross it over to the left shoulder.

With the ends of the sarong crisscrossed, tie the ends at the back of the neck. This creates a cooling effect with a high neckline and an open front – perfect for showing off your brand new swimsuit or sexiest bikini!

You can also turn this into a strappier look if you want to show more skin. Before you crisscross the ends of the fabric across your body, twist the fabric to create rolled straps. Then crisscross them around the neck and tie them in the back, same as you would if you were leaving the fabric flat.

Strapless Dress

Ready to create a chic cover-up that you can wear to and from the beach or to a casual outdoor lunch? Turn your favorite sarong into a strapless dress!

To create a strapless dress, start by holding the sarong open across the back of your body. Wrap it around to the front, pulling it up under your armpits. Tie it in the center, above the bust. You can leave the ends hanging, tie them into a bow or tuck them in to create different looks.

Depending on the size of the sarong, it may be open wide down the center, so you can enjoy a bit of coverage and still show off your swimsuit underneath!

Prefer the slit to be on the side? If so, start by wrapping it around the side of your body and tie the ends on the side beneath your armpit. Tuck the ends in or pull the knot slightly towards the front of your body so you can put your arms down comfortably.

Wrapping it on the side gives it a super cute, offset look that will cover your midsection yet reveal a bit of skin down the side.

This is the perfect way to wear a sarong if you want a carefree island-inspired look!

If the slit is too high and you want a more modest look, you can always grab a couple of safety pins and pin the open edges together to create more coverage. If you do decide to pin the fabric together, do so on the inside so they don’t show!

Sleeveless Cardigan

Want to show off that bikini body? Wear your sarong like a sleeveless, open front cardigan! Tied this way, it will create a flowy, loose silhouette that’s perfect for wearing over a swimsuit. And you can even team it with a tank top and shorts or skinny pants.

To turn your sarong into a sleeveless cardigan, start by holding it horizontally behind you. Bring it up under your arms and tie the ends into a knot in the center, right above the bust. Then pull the knot over your head so that the tied part rests at the back of your neck.

This is a great look when it’s worn long and loose, but if you want to show off your shape a bit more, belt it!

With a belt to gather the waist you can also create different necklines. You can crisscross it to create a high V-neckline or pull it open to create a plunging V-neck. As long as the belt is snug at your waist, it will hold the top in place.

One Shoulder Dress

There’s nothing easier and more effortless than a breezy, flowing one shoulder dress. Perfect for walking on the sand, lounging poolside or grabbing a cocktail at a beach bar, the one shoulder dress is one of the easiest ways to wear a sarong.

Start by holding the sarong vertically under one arm. Bring the two corners up to the opposite side of your body and tie them into a knot on top of your shoulder. It should feel loose and comfortable with an open side slit so you can still show off a little bit of skin.

If you want a bit more coverage or don’t want your sarong blowing in the wind, you can cinch it at the waist.

To do so, just gather some of the excess fabric at the waist and tie another little knot on the same side as the shoulder knot. The bodice will have an open slit down the side as will the skirt, but it won’t be as flowy (which can be a good thing if you’re on the beach on a windy day!)

Side Slit Dress

Stroll down the beach or head straight to the poolside bar with your sarong tied into a sexy side slit dress.

To create this silhouette, hold the sarong vertically at your back, under your arms. Bring the two top ends to the front of your body and tie them into a center knot above the bust. This will create a cool strapless neckline.

Next, gather a handful of fabric at each hip and create a second center knot in the front at your waist. Then, take that waist knot and slide it over to one hip. This will create a draped bodice with a side cut out and a loose skirt with a slit on one side.

This dress silhouette looks breezy and effortless, and you can wear it just about anywhere. If you don’t want to wear a swimsuit underneath, you can even layer it with a pair of boy shorts and a bandeau top or a strapless bralette.

Sarongs Aren’t Just for the Beach

The sarong may have roots in tropical island style, but that doesn’t mean you can only wear them on the beach. Depending on the pattern, the fabric and how you tie it, you can turn a simple sarong into a halter top or a sexy dress that you can wear for day or night.

So go ahead and get creative!

Play around with your favorite sarong and you’ll see that there are even ways to transform it. You can even turn one into a sexy little halter top or a draped jumpsuit.

Regardless of how you decide to wear it, you can keep it beachy chic by going barefoot or wearing your favorite flat sandals. Or you can add some strappy heels, some wedge sandals and a clutch bag and turn it into a look that you can wear out at night.

Just remember this one tip:

If you do decide to wear your sarong as streetwear rather than swimwear, be extra careful with your knots. Make double knots and tie them extra tight so you don’t have any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions!

What Are the Best Ways to Tie a Sarong?

There are endless ways to tie, wrap and drape a sarong. The versions we detailed above are just the tip of the iceberg.

Sarongs are a must-have for summer – and if you’re taking a trip to any beach or spending time at any pool, you’ll need at least one. They’re lightweight, they’re super easy to pack and they take up almost no space in your travel bag.

If you’re looking to travel light this summer, throw two or three sarongs in your bag. You’ll be able to create dozens of different looks that you can wear on any beach or in any resort!

Jessica Heston

Jessica Heston

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